1/20/2004 5:38:55 AM
Guest
Guest
I`ve been designing, hand knitting and felting bags for about 2 years now. I`ve used a wide variety of yarns and patterns and totally agree with all that`s been said here on the topic....and offer up these tips that I`ve learned from experience.....

Don`t EVER use old towels in the washer to aid the felting process! My most serious disasters are bags that came out covered with lint from those old towels! I use two pairs of old canvas shoes instead and they work wonders, even in a front loader machine.

Soap can often make the project. I generally use laundry soap in the first washing and agitate for 10 minutes. It gets rid of any residual oils and finishes on the yarn. I also rinse in cold water twice after the first washing. This aids in getting rid of all residue.

If I don`t get the desired results, I use Orange Clean concentrate in the second washing and agitate for 6 minutes.

I always set my agitation for "fast", the most severe setting, spin on slow. It really IS true that the spin cycle can make or break an item. Wrinkles set in the spin cycle are extremely difficult to get out.

Since I always felt several bags at a time and they`re always in different colorways, I also put a color grabber sheet into the washer whenever I do felting. Excess dyes are snatched up and I have no bleeding. You`d be surprised at the intensity of the color that is released in the washing process!

I put each project into a mesh lingerie bag, zip it up and secure the zipper tab to the bag with a safety pin. This helps to keep most of the excess fiber that`s released out of my washer`s drain pipe. Many yarns, especially mohair and alpaca, shed considerable amounts of fiber when washed, some literally by the handfuls! These sluffed fibers make excellent stuffing for cat toys and pin cushions!

After I`m satisfied with the way the bag looks, I block it to make it hold its shape while drying. I use a variety of common household items for this purpose....odd pieces of board, milk jugs, bleach bottles, Express Mail packages, even old Accounting books! I slip a plastic grocery bag into the felted bag and load it up with my blocking pads and set the bag aside to air dry. After a day I take the blocking pads out and let the inside of the bag dry naturally. I have, on occasion, dried a bag or two in my dryer, using the shoe rack and air fluff cycle.

Styrofoam balls make great blocking pads for rounded bottomed items and for hats!

Yarns I`ve used include Lamb`s Pride Worsted and Bulky, Gedifra Cordilla and Cortina, Plymouth Baby Alpaca, Manos del Uraguay, Classic Elite Tapestry and the new Peruvian collection at elann.

Not all colors of all yarns will felt as expected, and even the same yarn will felt at a different rate depending on the needle size used, so swatching is a MUST!! I have two notebooks full of felting notes...I make note of the yarn used (generally attach a snip of the yarn(s) to help refresh my memory), needle size, stitch.....Oh yes, stitch! That`s VERY important too! I`ve found that stockinette stitch shrinks the most, especially stitchwise. Garter stitch is next and it generally shrinks more row wise. Seed stitch shrinks the least and tends to stay more square....row and stitch shrinkage are about the same. Again, this is in general terms....each yarn behaves differently!

Swatches make excellent pockets. They can also be sewn together to make an afghan. If you crochet around a swatch with non-felting yarn, you can take the crochet out after felting and have loops for attaching one piece to another, or for adding fringe.

This is probably enough info to absorb at one time. If you`d like to discuss felting offlist, feel free to contact me at sabknits@comcast.net. sab
1/20/2004 7:08:25 AM
acb
acb
Posts 1462
Thanks for this excellent discussion!

I`ve never heard of color grabber sheets before - what are they? I`ve also never heard of Orange Clean - is it a rinse agent?

We get frequently get emails from Elann customers, asking if a particular yarn is good for felting, so anytime someone finds a particular yarn works well, it`s great to hear about it!
1/20/2004 7:29:01 AM
MacChick
MacChick
Posts 3590
Color-grabber sheets.. Woolite calls them, "Dye Magnet," Shout calls them, "Color Catcher," and I forget the rst of the common names, but there are a few more brands. They LOOK like dryer sheets, but they go in the washing machine, and they are so cool that you will wonder how you ever managed without them. I do a lot of sewing, and you absolutely cannot prewash linen without these! My sister puts them in every load of whites to catch even more "gray" and swears by them. I these days when dyes are not quite as colorfast as they used to be (for plenty of perfectly good reasons), these things are indispensible!

And Orange clean is one of those cleaners with citrus acid from oranges... the original one, long time ago, was called "Goo-Gone." They are the cleaners that will remove gum, crayon, spray adhesives, residue from price tags... the kind of messes that you know fingernail polish remover would get rid of, but fingernail polish remover is so harsh that it would also destroy the thing you were trying to clean. Well, now with Orange Clean, we effectively have Goo-Gone for the laundry.

And BTW, I`m adding this thread to m felting notes, too!!!
1/20/2004 8:13:13 AM
acb
acb
Posts 1462
Thanks - I`m going to check for both color grabber sheets and Orange Clean the next time I`m shopping. It could be that we don`t have them in Canada, but I`m sure going to try to find them!
1/20/2004 12:29:23 PM
Darla
Darla
Posts 181
I`ve also never seen color grabber sheets, but they are a great idea! Just this week I inadvertently threw very nice shirt (white on top, black on bottom) in a dark load with a new pair of dark pjs. Well the shirt looks to be ruined. And I`m going to see if I can get me some of those sheets. (They sound idiot proof).
2/16/2004 3:43:43 PM
Guest
Guest
Elann offers yarns called their Peruvian Collection Uros. It is 50% Ilama/50% worsted weight highland wool. I am interested to find out if anyone has felted with this or a similar yarn and their results.
Thanks
6/3/2004 2:48:27 AM
patw
patw
Posts 2826
One more question please. I am thinking of making some felted bags or baskets for a silent auction to raise money for a collegue who was in a very bad car accident last year. What yarns work well for felting. I have many single color skeins of lambs pride bulky and I thought I would use them up. Can someone advise me and tell me if this will work, and what other yarns are good. Thanks.
patw
6/3/2004 4:53:44 AM
Les
Les
Posts 4244
PatW - Your Lambs Pride Bulky will be perfect and will knit up fast. My first project was in the Lambs pride (regular -not bulky) and worked beautifully. The 15% mohair makes it gorgeous- you don`t notice the mohair before you felt but you sure do afterwards.
Tips from what I`ve read:
* avoid any superwash wools
* white (unless it is a natural colour ie from a white lamb) and even some light colours (probably like a pale blue, etc.) have undergone some sort of bleaching process and won`t felt. heathered shades sometimes felt more slowly than solid colours.
* The Gjestaal lopi type yarn felts well. I`ll bet the white buffalo does too tho I haven`t tried it.

I`m convinced that the agitation has more effect than the actual temp of the water so throw a pair of jeans in the washer (don`t use too much water)with the project when you felt it. It is fun because you can open the washer and check it frequently to see if it`s started to felt - then all of a sudden it happens!!

Beverly Galeskes (felted knits)has a method for test driving your yarns to see if they will felt:
take about a yard of yarn and wet it with warm water. add a drop of lishwashing liquid and roll it around between your hands like a ball of dough. Check it after a few(how many is a few?) minutes and if it felts into a firm ball, that yarn is a good one.

But don`t worry too much, just have fun and consider it all an experiment!
Have fun!
Les
6/3/2004 6:01:57 AM
Guest
Guest
In addition to what Les has said, I`d also advise having fun with it! It`s pretty cool. A lot of felting (or fulling, if you will) instructions I`ve read advise watching the process REALLY CAREFULLY. This, in my experience, is not really necessary. I have never had anything go from unfelted to way too small in a matter of a couple of minutes.

Lamb`s Pride yarns do felt really well, though some slippers I made with Blue Magic (a heathery dark blue) never did lose their stitch definition. They shrunk up ok, but they`re kinda floppy.

Good luck, and have fun!

Annie
6/3/2004 6:07:50 AM
patw
patw
Posts 2826
Thank you both for your words of advise.
I can`t wait to try it!
patw
6/3/2004 9:19:58 AM
Jamie
Jamie
Posts 3462
Hi Pat, Wool yarns felt really well, and the bit of mohair in Lamb`s Pride, makes it a good choice. Avoid mixtures with acrylic (they won`t felt). I have felted Cascade worsted wool knitted double, and also some White Buffalo, knit with 3 strands. For the first felting I did, I was advised to let it agitate (I just throw into a wash load) for 5-8 minutes, then watch it closely. My first felting project was to tighten up some overly big hats, so the watching was really more important than something knit large with the intention of felting. My DD has a great example of unintentional felting; it was a large wool lacy afghan that turned into a 3x4 ft doll blanket (the next afghan was acrylic!). Have fun! Jamie
6/3/2004 11:31:14 AM
Cate
Cate
Posts 2212
In addition to other already given good advice. If you combine two colors while knitting they will become much more subtle when felted/fulled.
Cate
6/3/2004 12:09:45 PM
Guest
Guest
PatW - Some customers have let us know that the following yarns felt well: Crystal Palace Carnival, Gjestal Naturgarn No. 1, Peruvian Collection Highland Wool and Peruvian Collection Uros, Plymouth Galway, Schoeller Stahl Landgraf, and White Buffalo. Thanks to everyone who has shared their felting experiences.
Diane
6/3/2004 2:28:03 PM
patw
patw
Posts 2826
Thank you all again for your wonderful ideas and help. I can`t wait to experiment with this technique.
I`ll keep you posted.
Patw
6/3/2004 6:00:32 PM
traina@optonline.net
traina@optonline.net
Posts 139
Pat
I used the Gjestal Naturgarn No. 1 to felt a large tote....I used blue green and fushia to make stripes. It came out great....nice and thick and it loses all stitch definition after felting....it also didnt leave a lot of loose fibers in the washing machine.....I used a Noro yarn once and it took longer to felt and left a lot of loose fibers. I have heard to put the item to be felted ion a zippered pillowcase to keep the extra stuff from getting stuck in the washer.
Cindy
9/28/2004 8:31:13 AM
Guest
Guest
Has anyone tried felting Tahki Dazzle? I tried felting Outback Wool and it did not felt at all. In the past I`ve used Galway and Lamb`s Pride (worsted and bulky) with great success, but am looking for more variety.
9/28/2004 9:14:39 AM
Guest
Guest
Yes, It felts quite nicely. Pam
11/26/2004 9:46:28 AM
Guest
Guest
I`ve heard that some brands of light colored wools don`t felt and have experienced this with Lamb`s Pride. I`m wondering if there is a white in a particular brand that will felt. If anyone can help i would be extremely grateful. Thanks!
11/26/2004 12:19:50 PM
Guest
Guest
I think the book "Felted Knits" talks about this exact issue some in the intro chapters. Are you familiar with it? If not, I`ll gladly dig mine out and crib what is said. Hope that helps! Bri
11/27/2004 3:17:34 PM
Guest
Guest
I`m not at all familiar with it Bri. Thank you so much for your offer to help. I`d really appreciate it!
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