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Topic: Failed attempt at fulling  (Read 915 times)
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all cut up
« on: February 19, 2008 05:11:03 PM »

I would have posted this in the felting section but I was told that felting something that's knitted is something different.  With that said here's my question.

I bought this sweater from a second hand shop with the intention of making mittens and pot holders out of it. 

The label says "Shetland Wool" but when I tried fulling it with the instructions I've found on Craftster nothing happened; it just got really fuzzy.  I tried doing it manually in hot water and then when that didn't work I chucked it in the washing machine, that also didn't work so I threw it in the dryer remembering all the times I accidentaly put wool stuff in the dryer only to have it shrink.  Of course, since that is what I wanted this time it didn't work. 

Any advice?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2008 05:24:30 PM »

Sometimes you have to wash and dry it a bunch of times.  Detergent is important, I think I've read--e.g. you need soap for the process to work...I think I read something somewhere about rubbing bar soap into the sweater but I might be imagining that.  Also, you need some kind of extra agitation, like an old sneaker, to get the felting going in the washing machine.  Wash and dry as hot as you can.  If your washing machine allows you to back up and just keep agitating it you can do that--saves water.  I've had to wash and dry stuff multiple times to get any noticeable results.  And even then I don't think they're fully felted.  For whatever that's worth...

« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2008 06:32:18 PM »

Not sure what instructions you used from here, but did you also remember to throw something large into the wash to agitate it against, like a couple pairs of jeans?  That might be it.

And again, like the poster above said, sometimes it just takes a few times before the stitches start becoming indistinct.  I think the Kitty Pi I felted took three times in the wash before I started to be happy with it.

It's also possible that the sweater's superwash, which means it's been treated so it won't felt.  Give it a few more rounds.  Also, you could try alternating a hot agitation with a dunk in cold water to "shock" the wool ... I've heard of that working, too.

Snake boobs get in the way of slithering.

I blog about my life adventures, and sometimes even the things I make: http://snakeboobs.blogspot.com/
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2008 06:34:49 PM »

Technically that is in fact fulling but it's always referred to as felting by knitters IME. There are a few things you need to felt:

-feltable material (shetland wool absolutely qualifies)
-agitation: swishing it around, rubbing it, friction etc.
-temperature change (hot water doesn't automatically felt something,  you can gradually heat it up and it won't felt, it's sudden change in temperature you need)
-low pH: soap is low pH

So in soapy or detergent water, try having a tub of icy cold and boiling hot water, put the jumper into one until it's thoroughly hot or cold, then into the other until completely reached the new temp., then back into the old one (squeeze out the water before changing the temp so you are not putting too much cold water into the hot tub and vice versa) keep going. If that doesn't work try rubbing it hard in one small area by hand, I think scrubbing with a brush like a toothbrush might help? in hot detergent water. If the hot water/temperature change plus localised friction in detergent doesn't work then you may have to give up.

But try the repeated washing in hot water and then the dryer first a few times, then try the next easiest method, etc.

Fabrics knit tightly felt less or less readily than loosely knit things, and Shetland knitting is often done tightly.

The fuzziness is a hopeful indication - that's part of the felting process, so don't give up yet! Remember you don't necessarily have to have something where the individual stitches are completely indecipherable or that has shrunk drastically, just felted to the point where the stitches are stuck together enough that they don't unravel when you cut.

« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2008 06:43:57 PM »

I've been making mittens out of old sweaters for the past couple years.  I wash them in the machine with hot water, then dry them in the dryer.  Some sweaters full better than others - sometimes it's harder with the really detailed knits like the one you are using.  I've had the best luck with thick, solid wool sweaters.

good luck!

all cut up
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2008 06:28:22 PM »

Thanks for the feedback!  I'll have another go at it tomorrow!
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