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Here's How To...
Felt


Felting wool is an ancient skill, practiced by such legendary figures as Attila the Hun and Genhis Kahn, both known as "maker of felted tents."

Felt is simply matted wool. Wool becomes felt when it is subjected to moisture, heat, and agitation. Hot soapy water makes the wool slippery, and causes tiny scales on the fiber to "open up". With agitation, these fibers get intertwined and, when cooled and dried, the scales close and lock the wool into the tough, durable material we call felt.

In her book Sweater Renewal, fiber artist Sharon Franco Rothschild outlines two methods of felting at home:

Felt With a Washing Machine
  • Place your wool item in a pillowcase. This will protect your piece an provide more friction
  • Select a very short cycle to begin.
  • Set the water temperature to warm.
  • Add about 1/4 cup (60ml) of Ivory liquid soap, or any dishwashing liquid with a low pH balance.
  • Select the shortest spin sycle and the gentlest wash cycle. Spinning the item for too long can distort the shape of the piece, but it needs to spin a little so all the water comes out.
  • Place the pillowcase with your item inside in the washing machine. Start your washing machine. Do not felt more than one piece at a time. After each cycle, take your piece out of the pillowcase and check to see if you need to wash it again.
  • When you have achieved the desired results, put your item in the dryer (still in the pillowcase). Run the dryer on very low or a now heat setting until the item is dry. Get out your scissors and start cutting!

Felt By Hand
  • Fill a sink or tub with warm water. Add a few tablespoons of Ivory liquid soap, or any dishwashing liquid with a low pH balance.
  • Using your hands, agitate and rub the soapy piece together with moderate force. You will begin to notice the fiber becoming softer and fuzzier. Continue until your are unable to see the stitches clearly, which means that the fiber is felting. 
  • When you are satisfied with the results, squeeze out the water from you woolen item, roll it up in a towl, and squeeze out all excess water.
  • Place your felted piece in a pillowcase and put it in the dryer. Run the dryer on very low or a now heat setting until the item is dry. If you don't have access to a dryer, hand your felted piece on a clothesline to dry.


Felting Resources
Felt Wreath Ornament
Home Made Felt Wreath Ornament

Fun with Felt
Fun with Felt
Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations
Fa la la la Felt: 45 Handmade Holiday Decorations
Complete Feltmaking
Complete Feltmaking
The Big Felt Burger and Other Crafts Projects to Relish
The Big Felt Burger and Other Crafts Projects to Relish 

Nicky Epstein's Beginner's Guide to Felting
Nicky Epstein's Beginner's Guide to Felting
The Encyclopedia of Country Living
The Encyclopedia of Country Living

Quick And Clever Felting
Quick And Clever Felting




Felt With a Washing Machine

Felt By Hand

Felting Resources



Sweater Renewal
Sweater Renewal

Felting Knits into New Sweaters and Accessories
by Sharon Franco Rothschild
Potter Craft, 2008

Sweaters that are old, damaged or simply out of style can be recycled into new fashions using the felting, appliqué, sewing, knitting and embroidery techniques described in this book.

"You can recapture old memories and help save the planet by using old blankers, men's sweaters, women's sweaters, children's sweaters, and even hand-knitted sweater pieces," says author Sharon Franco Rothschild. "The only requirement is that they be made out of wool.

The two dozen sample projects offered by Rothschild inlude simple ornaments, camera cases and book covers as well as useful hats, purses, scarves, pillows and stuffed animals. More advanced projects includes sweaters, cardigans, jackets and pullovers. Three projects are included for dedicated knitters - purse, phone holder, scarves - to knit first, then wash and felt later.

The book includes projects for all levels of crafters, each accompanied by step-by-step directions.








How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew
How to Sew a Button

And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew

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