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Topic: Silly question about thrifting wool sweaters...  (Read 1396 times)
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« on: February 22, 2008 02:53:59 PM »

ok, so i went to our local thrift store to see what I could find but was confused on what percentage of wool the sweater needs to be? I could not find any that were 100% wool, most were 50 or 60% wool mixed with another fabric. Will these still work for felting? Any advice on thrifting sweaters would also be helpful...

« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2008 08:53:31 AM »

When I began knitting bags to felt, my instructor said rule of thumb to guarantee the yarn will felt is to buy only 100% wool--never a blend--with "dry clean only" care instructions.  This has always worked for me.  My favorite fiber content to felt with is Merino wool.  You'll find a lot of sweaters out there specifically labeled as Merino.  So, if you're shopping resale places, look for "dry clean only" on the care labels and you should be reasonably assured of successful felting.  Knit and felt a swatch first to be certain it will felt.  Be sure you measure the unfelted swatch before and after felting to get an idea of how much it will shrink.

One friend felted an item that contained only a small percentage of wool by boiling it overnight.  That's too much hassle, danger--I'd fall asleep and the house would burn down--and time wasted if it didn't felt right.   Good luck!!
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2008 06:28:24 PM »

ok, thanks for the info. I found a really cute stripey sweater, but it was mixed so i'm glad i passed on it. I will have to keep a look out for a merino wool sweater to try it out on. You mentioned knit and then felt. Do you have to knit it? I thought you just threw it in the washer and dryer to felt it???

« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2008 05:37:16 AM »

I knitted giant bags and felted them down to the sizes I wanted.  You can certainly cut up wool sweaters, throws, etc, and felt them into whatever you want.  I never tried that yet, although it is on my to do list.  A thrift shop owner told me she sells Pendleton jackets to a customer who felts them into bags.  Not sure I'd want to destroy a very cool Pendleton piece by felting it....still, it's just another example of what will felt for you.  Have fun with it!!
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2008 07:19:35 AM »

You can still use non-feltable knitted fabric from sweaters for making bags.  You would use the fabric just like any fabric, and line the bag to keep the knitted fabric from sagging out under the weight of the contents of the bag.

Happy stitching!

« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2008 07:24:17 AM »

Finding wool sweaters at the thrift store is tricky!  Sometimes the sweaters don't have labels and sometimes the 100% ones are superwash wool and don't felt.  Additionally, if you live in a warmer climate, there may not be a good selection at your stores, ever...

If you get your hands on one, be sure to wash it encased in a pillowcase.  They give off lots of lint which can clog up your washer.  I take them out of the pillowcase for the dryer because that already has a lint filter.

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