If you see the symbol above, you know you have 100% wool. You want to find wool that is at least 80% wool. Several readers have told me that 70% wool/30% nylon works also and has a softer feel after felting. I also learned that if it says Worsted Wool, as in the label below, it may not felt at all! I did test a little piece and the rough handling made it shrink and felt some, but the worsting process is supposed to prevent that!
You will need to prepare the wool by cutting all seams apart so that it will draw up evening when you wash it.
Also cut the waistbands off and remove linings, hem tape, zippers, and buttons.
I paid less than $30 for 8 large skirts and got two nice sized stacks of wool after cutting them apart. I can hand dye them to get colors I need, but I did try to find as many different colors as possible. A later trip yielded a bright yellow and a bright red sweater to use. (Yes, you can even felt knitted garments!) I can use them for wool applique, pin cushions, and many other pretty things.
Be sure to save the buttons! Have you seen the price of buttons in the store?
To felt the wool, the easiest way is use your washing machine There are many factors that will make a difference in how much your wool felts and shrinks. They include how hot the water is, the hardness of your water, the dye used in your wool, the soap or detergent, and the amount of agitation the piece gets. You may have accidentally felted a wool sweater in the past! If you did, you know it wasn't hard to do. The wool will shrink sometimes to half it's size, so watch closely so that you can pull it out when the wool is just the way you want it. Rinse it in cool water so that the "scales" on the fibers lock together. You can put it in the dryer, but check first to be sure it is squared up.
Another method is to boil the wool on your stove. I am going to have to purchase a cheap enameled pot large enough for this. I will use it only for my wool, as my chemist husband informed me that dyes are chemicals that can be poisonous and you don't want to cook food in the same pot. I'll be sure and show you what I make from my wool!
|View from my bedroom balcony. It's beginning to look like spring in the Texas hill country!|
I do the same thing to find my wool! I've found some beautiful cashmere sweaters that make such a soft felt. LOVE the view from your balcony and those lovely blooming trees!ReplyDelete
I've not worked with wool. I DO love thrift stores! Maybe you can use a canning pot from the local farm supply store. I miss Texas in the spring. Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush spilling all over the rocks and between the cactus. Prettiest place on earth!ReplyDelete
I buy most of my wool that way - you can't beat the price! And I save the buttons too :)ReplyDelete
Texas hill country is beautiful isn't it !ReplyDelete
You'll have plenty of felt to create with. I've always wondered about the felting process! And I love your view with that pretty blossom!ReplyDelete
I've never tried felting wool. Thanks for explaining how to do it Linda.ReplyDelete
Oh, oh. Worsted wool is usually pre-shrunk. It is proudly displayed on labels of woolens as well as wool yarn because the buyer can rest assured that it will not shrink which is usually good news. Ask me how I know this. Perhaps you will find it shrinks enough for applique if you treat it cruelly.ReplyDelete
Here's hoping. Great finds there. My grandma used to rescue woolens and dye them and cut them into strips to make braided rugs. Looking forward to seeing what you create.
I've bought wool garments many times and felted them and love doing that. I've had a little trouble finding pastels but most other colors are available - I especially love the tweeds and plaids of men's blazers. :) blessings, marleneReplyDelete
I've never felted anything before because we don't use wool here. It's too hot. I would like to try the felting thing you do with the washing machine - just to see. Can't wait to see your new home.ReplyDelete
I have a stash of thrift wools, used to get as much as I could on dollar days and glad I did since they stopped doing that. I usually don't get worsted weights, forgot why, lol. I also like getting wool with 20% nylon, it is softer, dyes well and nice for appliqué too. Every so often I get lucky and find yardage at the thrifts, so i always keep my eyes open.ReplyDelete
Great post Linda! Now I want to run to Goodwill and see if I can find some wool!ReplyDelete
I love going to thrift stores and yes I also look at books and dishes (i have so many dishes) but when you find wool that is a real treat. Your view is so so beautiful, my family are coming up from TX on Monday. It is time to play grandma.ReplyDelete
Thank you for such great tips on thrift shopping and recycling of wool for applique or felting or lots of other creative endeavors. I need a good affordable thrift shop. Very wise to hire that tile removal job. Lovely view of your Texas Hill Country and pending Spring. Peace and Joy Dear...ReplyDelete
It's nice to have someone do the hard part and you can do the fun stuff : ) beautiful viewReplyDelete
I have felted a wool sweater form the thrift store but have never considered wool skirts. Look forward to what you make with all your wooly goodies. Your view is wonderful. Good luck with all the house work. It does often pay to have someone else do some things. After living in a house going through a major remodel 3 times I know.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your woolen treasures.. I have only felted yarn, and 80/20, even 70/30 works perfect for mittens.ReplyDelete
Lovely pictures from your balcony.
Have a nice week.