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Topic: bizarro felting  (Read 726 times)
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ellenpdx
« on: December 12, 2004 03:30:15 PM »

Does anyone know WHY ON EARTH my 100% non-treated alpaca project GREW BY ONE-THIRD when I tried to felt it?  It's a hat done on 6pt needles.  I very dociley put it in a hot wash, with a teapot of boiling water, some detergent, and some towels. I was expecting little shrinkage, but oh my.

So I threw it on the stove for awhile, then back in the machine with baking soda and more towels. 

Did I not do the proper chants?
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Tere
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2004 03:59:04 PM »

Thats really strange, I'm pretty sure alpaca felts ok. Hmmm...I bet it will felt this time around...sorry I really don't have any suggestions, but I feel for you!  Embarrassed
Tere
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ellenpdx
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2004 09:18:16 PM »

Throwing it in the dryer seems to do the best, in terms of shrinking it.  It went around in the dryer for awhile, got back to the size it was, and then a bit smaller.  Which is what I needed. 

An overly-technical person I work with told me that alpaca is not wool, therefore will not felt...I didn't point out to her all the places one can purchase felted alpaca products.  Oh well.  The lesson is, if you want to felt alpaca, don't get it wet.
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starlings
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2004 07:22:34 AM »

Any animal fibre will felt - in theory. Where is the alpaca from? Is there any chance it might contain a bit of nylon or acrylic?  What do you mean when you say "untreated" - not superwash or is it also undyed? If it has been bleached, before dyeing for example, that can reduce its feltability.
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melidomi
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2004 08:04:14 AM »

Hmmm.  I have a possible answer, but not a solution.  From knitty's blocking article:
Quote
Alpaca gets weaker when wet. It has less memory than wool, and has a tendency to stretch out of shape, getting bigger. The weight of water in the garment while wet-blocking would make accidental fabric stretching more possible. I would pin the pieces out dry, and then get them pretty wet by spritzing, and then do any reshaping.
So, that's probably *why* it grew.  In future, maybe stick to wool/alpaca blends for felting?  The wool should give it enough strength to keep it from stretching out when wet.  And I guess you've discovered that the dryer is your friend when blocking alpaca.  Good to know.
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starlings
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2004 09:25:07 AM »

Alpaca does really stretch out when it's wet, but I've never had this kind of trouble felting 100% alpaca. Normally, the friction, heat and ph change induced by detergent do the trick.  I suspect there's something else going on.

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melidomi
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2004 07:31:34 AM »

Maybe it's a 'first it stretches, then it felts' kind of thing.  Maybe it just needed another run through the washer.
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