Thursday, November 09, 2006

Time to Felt

Okay, ye goddesses of felting, here it is: my First Felting Project.

This is the box with one side crocheted together.

Here it is with all four sides crocheted.

Now, I know I'm supposed to throw it in the top-loading washer with an old pair of jeans (one wonders why but one just follows directions) and use very hot water. Does anyone have any other good advice I should follow to avoid whatever pitfalls there are in felting?

BTW, my Dearest Husband wants the finished box to hold his wedding ring and cell phone in his golf locker. How could I refuse him?


Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Nancy - The jeans are to provide friction, one of the ingredients in felting. I usually throw my to-be-felted items in a zipper top pillow cover before flinging them in the wash. It helps keep them from picking up any potential lint and it also helps keep the 'felt debris' from escaping into your washer's filter system. Every expert offers a different bit of advise so you kind of have to feel your way to what works for you.

I generally check the felted items every few minutes, especially if it's a new-to-me yarn. At some point, the stitches will pretty much vanish and the fabric will feel denser and smoother and then you've got felt.

I don't spin felted objects though I know there are experienced felters who do. I also don't throw it in the dryer but, again, there are people who do so with great success. I pull the soaking wet, disgusting felted item out of the very hot water, gingerly press out as much water as I can and then roll it in a thick towel and press out more water. (There's a huge amount of water in a thick, felted object.) Then I shape the item over some sort of mold. If it's a tote bag, I generally use a plastic trash bag and stuff it full of towels.

I spend a fair amount of time on the shaping so the finished item dries just the way I want it to look.

I love the box, by the way and how neat that your husband asked for something one.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Wow, Dallas, thanks for all the great pointers. The pillow cover sounds like a fabulous idea.

BTW, my daughter thinks the jeans requirement is a gift from heaven since it means that I'll wash her jeans for her.

Do you put detergent in for the felting or not?

11:42 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Nancy, I've not felted a box - yours is beautiful, BTW - but I usually put about a teaspoon of detergent in the hot water when I'm felting a purse.

Dallas gave good instructions on the rest, especially the shaping.

Let us see the finished product when it's dry!

8:48 AM  
Blogger kshotz said...

Can't wait to see how this turns out!

BTW--I send mine through the spin cycle....but no dryer. I've felted both Lion brand and Cascade 220.


9:06 AM  
Blogger Jean Brashear said...

Nancy, this looks GREAT! I tried my first of the boxes (sans handles,since I had another idea in mind) and screwed up because the corner crocheting came loose on one end, so it's crooked. (I'll upload pictures soon, so people can see the one that should have the circle with a slash over it.) But...I love these!

Just to confuse things (though I defer to Dallas and Fran, who are waaaaay beyond me), my LYS lady said not to use jeans, just to put the felting stuff in by itself--her reasoning being that the jeans just absorbed someo f the hot water (though Dallas's caution about the lint is making me rethink!) Anyway, the purses I've done have been done without anything in the water but them, FWIW. I do let them spin, then pull them out and form over some object, just as Dallas advises.

And, as previously noted, I'm the least experienced here, so dumb luck has to play a big part in whatever success I've had!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

I don't use soap because that would mean doing a spin and a rinse. You could probably put a teaspoon or so of one of the no rinse wool washes like Eucalan in, if you're so inclined.

Jean - I'm not sure about your LYS lady's concern about the jeans absorbing some of the water. Generally, I felt with a low water level anyway because the friction is helpful in the felting process so the fact that jeans are going to absorb water will only increase the friction and will probably be a good thing.

To be honest, I generally felt with a couple of towels thrown into the wash but, if you're going to use towels, I'd highly recommend putting the felted item in a pillow case. I made an Oregon Tote a couple of years ago and the zipper managed to work it's way undone so the bag became way too intimate with the towels - kinky! - and I spent quite a bit of time during the shaping process picking little bits of towel lint off the felt.

Really, I think felting, fulling or whatever is a pretty flexible process. I've used several different yarns - Gjestal Naturegarn, Lopi, Lamb's Pride, Kureyon, Cascade 220, Jo Sharp DK and probably some others I can't remember - and I've been happy with the results every time.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

What a fantastic resource you guys are! I am incorporating a bit of everyone's advice and will advise you of the results as soon as I have them.

Many, many thanks for all of your wonderful suggestions!

2:35 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Thanks, Dallas. Eucalan is what I meant to say when I said I put a tsp of soap in my water while felting. It's sort of a washing & felting process all at once.

4:45 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

Another option to jeans that I've heard (but haven't tried!) is to use a couple new (and I stress NEW) tennis balls. This assumes your felted item will be safely zipped away in a "fine washables" bag or zipped pillow case. You can set them aside in your laundry room and keep them just for felting occasions. One gal who has that new washer that is a side loader uses this method and it works for her!


6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't. Don't. Don't. DON'T decide to save energy and wash them with the white towels which really need the hot water while the jeans don't need the hot water.

You wouldn't believe how annoying it is to pick white lint off a dark purple felted item. You can't get all of it off. Ever.

Don't do it.
Liz in NoWhere PA

10:45 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Liz, ROFL at the Voice of Experience from Nowhere, PA!

1:28 PM  

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