In order to make room for baby I had to clean out my closet (which is currently in my craft room/soon-to-be nursery). I was able to fill up boxes and boxes with old clothes and shoes. Most of it headed off to Amvets, but some of the old items were worth keeping. In particular a couple of sweaters that were 100% wool.
I have always wanted to try to felt an old sweater and see what happens. I figured why not give it a try? There are so many cute things you can make with felted wool…
- Whimsical bags.
Image and instructions via Instructables
- Pretty flowers that you can use to embellish anything from bags to pillows to hair bands and everything in between.
Image via Ellens Creative Passage
- Cute little stuffed animals.
Image and instructions via Wool Felting Blog
- Cozy Mittens
Image via Folded Space
- And even colorful iPad cases; how cute!
Image via booga J (looks like she may have an etsy stop also-probably some cute felted items there also!)
The possibilities are endless. I have a couple things in mind, but first lets see how the actual felting panned out!
Here’s what I started with:
One sweater 100% lambswool
One sweater 100% wool
One sweater 100% cashmere (this I actually picked up at a thrift store for $4.50)
From doing a bit of research on-line I learned that first of all the sweaters need to be at least 80% natural (wool, angora, cashmere, or alpacha for example). Apparently 100% is your best bet, but sometimes the acrylic threads felt along with the natural. All mine were 100% so I was good to go. I also read you are better off with sweaters that are dry clean only (which all mine were)…
You should wash the sweaters in like colors (obviously the ones I show are all in the red/maroon category). You wouldn’t want to throw a white one in the mix here.
You should also wash them in a zippered pillow case to keep excess fuzz to a minimum (it can clog up your washing machine if you just add the sweater alone). I used the huge zip up pillow case from my body pillow.
I guess it is a bit more difficult if you have an HE washer (due to less water and less agitation) so it is recommended to add a pair of jeans to the mix or some golf balls. I threw 4 golf balls in the zippered bag (don’t tell Kevin)…better this than pink tinted denim.
Wash on Hot with some detergent, and wait and see what happens. Well, what happened wasn’t much. I am not sure why. The sweaters looked maybe a little smaller, but they would probably still fit. I originally washed on Hot with Cold rinse, so the second time around I decided to wash on Warm with Warm rinse (these are the only options my HE washer has). I was thinking maybe the Cold rinse blew it. I guess sometimes it takes a few washes to get the shrinkage. Once totally felted you shouldn’t see the knit stitches and you should be able to cut the sweater without it unraveling. After the second wash they weren’t looking very felted. I decided to dry them on high heat for an hour…they still looked the same.
So this is where I am at right now with this project. What should I do next? Has anyone else tried to felt old sweaters? Any tips? I am contemplating either another hot wash without the pillowcase and with some other items (I have some darker bath towels), putting them in a bucket and adding boiling water (which is also supposed to work), or just going to my parents and using their “regular” washing machine (is that ok mom?). I’ll probably just go to my parents, or maybe to the fabric store and buy some felt, lol.
Have you had any bright ideas that haven’t worked, or any failed attempts at being crafty? Surely I can’t be the only one!