Saturday, February 12, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board: 25/365

Back in From the Garden and Into the Laundry Room

A few days ago I hot-washed/felted several sweaters. A few of them were not super successful. They were very worn to begin with, and on the thin side, along with being originally a very small ply yarn. One washing was not enough for them, so I am back at the wash board again (not literally...I do have an up-to-date washing machine!). 

If at first the washing does not create a fray-less outcome, one can rewash to encourage the fibers to knit together further to make a nice, solid, easy-to-cut-and-sew fabric piece.  To test the piece after washing you can make a cut in an inconspicuous place to see if there is any fraying. I like to cut directly next to the side seam at the waist of the sweater, just far enough to pull at it a bit to see what happens. If it doesn't fray you have succeeded in felting. If it is still fraying, either the combination of fibers (wool and any synthetic) is not in the most optimum of percentages, or the sweater is just not wanting to perform for you. There is certainly variation in how sweaters will felt, so sometimes you must take what happens and move on. 

With my re-felting today I did have luck in that the sweaters did improve. They are drying at this point and I will need to test them later to make sure they will work for my projects.

My proof that I actually did this work today:

A nice forest green large men's sweater, though a bit tired. 

100% cashmere! First time in the washer for this one.
Felted very nicely.

Second time around for this one. It's getting better.
Yesterday's butterfly was made with this, albeit the insect had very thready edges to start out.
Yesterday's butterfly. You can see the rough edges most prominently on the right upper wing.

Another that needed a second washing.
Lots of linty areas (pills) will be introduced to the "lint eater" later.

Scottish Woolen Mills, 100% virgin wool.
First time through. Felted like a dream.
The 100% animal fiber sweaters do the very best with this process.
Wish you could feel this luxurious.

In addition to this I also worked at more organizing of my sewing space today. A seemingly endless project.
You could call me a busy bee!

Now I'm tired.
Off to bed.
See you on Sunday...


  1. When I'm not sure I want a sweater run through the wash a second time, or for a longer cycle or whatever, I sometimes cut the front off, or one sleeve off and run that through before I do the whole sweater...

    Be sure to put the sweaters in pillowcases or something to catch lint--I ruined my washer...

  2. Thanks for the message, Lora.

    Yes, it is very important to use the pillowcase for the sweaters to catch all that lint. It's not fun to clog up the washer pipes with lint. Great idea about the "test piece" to make sure that the sweater won't get over-felted.