How to Felt Wool Sweaters

By Sunday, September 08, 2013 , , , ,

Felting sweaters is a really easy project to do. It will take a few hours but all you need to do is start your washing machine and then transfers the sweaters into your dryer. I gathered a hoard of wool sweaters at local Salvation Army stores and I wanted to try out washing machine felting.

In order to felt, the wool needs to be agitated so that the fibers can blend together. This can easily be accomplished in your washer and dryer with hot water and heat.

What you need:
-washing machine
-soap/laundry detergent
-wool sweaters (the sweaters MUST have a high wool content-at least 50% but mine were 100% wool)

1. Gather your sweaters. This is the fun part, you can find them at thrift shops, garage sales, or even your closet.
2. Wash your sweaters on a setting that has a hot water wash and a cold rinse cycle. Add your soap or laundry detergent. You can add towels or other articles of clothing for extra agitation. (I threw in some old rag towels.)

3. Dry the sweaters on the warmest heat cycle on your dryer.

4. Check out your wool. See how it has shrunk and looks a little bit warped? It should also feel thicker and stiffer.

This was originally a large box shaped sweater.

                                           This blue one shrunk so much!

5. If you aren't satisfied with how some of your sweaters felted, you can repeat the process until you are. If your sweaters are a lower wool content, this could take multiple times which is why I went with 100% wool sweaters but I still need to refelt a few.

Originally I started with 15 sweaters. I didn't felt the two really nice Woolrich sweater (the past owner took awesome care of them!) Nor did I felt this awesome and BRAND NEW Ralph Lauren men's knit sweater. It was hard enough to felt the other sweaters, even the ones with snags and holes. I also gave two sweater vests to my boyfriend Carter's dad who likes them for work. I plan on making a big blanket or two from the sweaters when I am home from school at some break. It will be interesting to see how many squares each sweater will yield!

Happy Crafting!