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!|