Advertisements

felting in the wash

I’m no expert on felting, but the general process seems to include agitating your wool (by hand or machine) in warm/hot water.  Easy enough to do on purpose, I suppose, but inconvenient to avoid if you’re in a hurry to thoroughly wash your woolens.  It seems that you can even “felt” acrylic yarn over time, to an extent:

felt2

This is an acrylic blanket (Red Heart, I believe) that was made by my boyfriend Chris’ great-aunt.  It’s a full size blanket made with US single crochet stitches, and I can only imagine how many hours it must have taken her to complete.  It seems that she was very wise in choosing her machine-washable materials and denser type of stitch, for the blanket has held up very well indeed (you’d be very impressed too if you saw how my boyfriend and our dog abuse blankets, and you’d also understand why I generally try to keep my handmade items away from their regular use).  The blanket receives much wear, accompanied by many washes and dries.  It has “felted” a bit over time, as well, which has come in handy.  In the picture you can see the stitch definition pretty well, but if you try to tug on part of a stitch, the yarn doesn’t budge because enough fibers are interlocked.  Our dog’s claws (or Chris’ toes) therefore are extremely unlikely to catch and pull.  It’s perfect, and the chevrons are still in style!

My first ripple blanket, made back in 2011, I’m afraid to say hasn’t seen much use because I’ve been too worried over it’s immediate destruction.  It’s a twin-sized blanket and was made with Berroco Vintage Chunky yarn, which is 40% wool and not exactly cheap.  Inspired by the above blanket’s indestructible-ness, today I decided to try and get my lovely ripple to felt a little bit.  Here’s what happened:

felt3

The stitches did indeed begin to sort of “glue” together, although the navy stripes acquired some of the fibers from the other colors and now look a little rough.  That’s OK though — it’s fixable and the experiment gives me hope that with a couple more washes, I may be able to let go of the fears attached to the use of my treasured blanket!  It would be lovely to see it being enjoyed instead of just sitting in the linen closet.

For comparison, I’ve taken a picture of my most recent ripple, which is also a twin-sized blanket made with Stylecraft Special DK (acrylic).  It has not yet been washed because it, too, has seen almost no use:

felt1

Of all 3 blankets, this one has the best stitch definition.  I’m planning on washing it a bunch of times in a row the next time I have extra change for the laundromat so that hopefully it, too, can be indestructable and worry-free!

Have you had any experiences with felting that have turned to your advantage?  Or have you accidentally felted something against your intent?  If you have any tips or pointers for me on what to do or what to avoid while attempting to further felt my wool and acrylic blankets, please do share!

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone!

Advertisements

Comments

  1. Kathryn Rubidoux says:

    I’ve only felted natural fibers; I use the washing machine set to warm/warm on a double wash, and I add something else to the load to help with the agitation. Old jeans work well for this. I also add a bit of laundry detergent. The machine does the rest. Some people will then toss the item into the drier to finish it off, but I usually prefer to air dry mine so I can shape it the way I want. I generally make things like handbags. My scrap blanket was felted a bit, it’s 100% wool. Pretty simple really.

  2. I hadn’t thought of deliberately felting blankets to get them to hold together better. I did accidentally on purpose felt one of Mr P’s jumpers because it was getting worn out and I loved its stripyness! Perhaps that it what I should do with the Patchy Blanket. I still have to repair it occasionally when one of the not so magic loops comes undone in the center of a square.

    • That sounds difficult to have to try to fix the center of a square! That’s a good idea with the jumper though — I’ve got some older ones that could probably benefit from such a treatment.

  3. The lady at my local wool shop gave me a few tips once when I popped in. She said that only pure wool will felt properly and you have to check that even that hasn’t been treated to make it machine washable as that will impede it’s felting properties. I have not had any experience of felting anything on purpose but like most of us have done it by accident!

    • That’s true. I don’t think I’d want to completely felt my blankets so I guess I’m lucky that my yarn will matt together if I want it to, but not completely felt. 🙂

  4. Interesting post. Not something I had come across before but definitely worth considering if it makes our makes more usable and less of a museum piece.

  5. I have considerable experience in making felted crocheted blankets. the first was a miserable failure, of course, but over time I became very good at it and I would LOVE to share it with anyone who wants to know! I have yet to find directions on how to do this but I would love to share what I’ve done with others if you want to know more details on how to make a felted crocheted blanket let me know.

    • Sure, would you like to do a guest post? You could type up a post and email it to me, then I could post it and share that you wrote it and link to any blog/site/page that you’d like!

      • Yes! Can I just share this way then, through email? (The posting to a blog thing is confusing to me, and it’s hard for me to instruct if I’m not sure who my audience is 😳.)

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        • That’s fine with me! You mean just here in the comments? I’m sure people would love your tips!

          • Hi Hannah! I tried to send you a couple of pictures of my last felted crochet blanket. I hope you got them. where should I start? there are several things you need to do to successfully crochet a felted blanket. first, you should get a notebook and start to write down the details for each project. It is essential to keep track of what you did, what you used, and how it came out. you want to include information such as: the kind of yarn you’re using, the size hooks you are using, the pre-felting dimensions, and the after felting dimensions. Did you know that different yarns will felt in different directions? If you were to crochet two identical squares, in two different brands of yarn, one might felt horizontally and the other might felt vertically! so you always want to use the same brand of yarn in a single project. It might also be good to use the same yarn in your practice piece that you will probably want to use in a larger piece, to be sure that it felts in the same way. You should be comfortable in crocheting and you should be comfortable with changing colors, because I won’t be explaining those things here. I would start a project that is fairly small; maybe a simple little rug for a favorite pet that likes to sit on the couch or maybe a small cover for an ottoman; basically a rectangular project. Let me digress for a moment. I decided that I wanted to make felted wool blankets in crochet rather the knitting for two reasons, First, I wanted my pieces to be the same on both sides. if you knit something in intarsia or fairisle, you’re going to have a wrong side and a right side. I decided this was not something I wanted. Instead, I wanted my blanket to be the same on both sides. I also decided that I did not want to work in single crochet either. Again, I wanted to avoid a right side / wrong side result. So all the work I have done so far is in double crochet, where two double crochet equals one square in my design. this comes out to be a pretty good ratio if you decide to use a needlepoint pattern. it’ll explode your design; you might have to use a small piece of your design instead of the whole complex thing. We can talk more later about how to take a graph design and make it fit the size you want it to be. It is imperative that you use all of the same brand & type of yarn in this practice piece, or in any piece. there are a number of yarn catalogs that sell yarns such as Wool of the Andes that come in myriad colors. These lines of yarn also come in various weights. you can experiment with a sport weight yarn or you can use a worsted weight yarn; it’s up to you. Whichever weight you choose will get a little bit thicker once it has been felted. Basically the practice piece is crocheted all in one piece; there aren’t squares to be assembled or anything like that. when you’re all done making your practice piece, you’re going to crochet at least two rows a single crochet to form your edge. this will be done with a smaller hook than you used to crochet the the body of your piece. This change will be key to keeping your blanket laying flat and not getting wavy around the edges once it has been felted. Because the blanket is made with two different hooks in this way, it will look very strange before you felt it. It will look loopy and loose, and once you put the edging on it with the smaller hook, it won’t quite lay flat. this is exactly what you want. By using a hook that is at least two sizes too big for the yarn weight, and a smaller hook for the edging, you are compensating for what the felting process will do to your piece, making it come out perfectly flat and even. Another thing to consider: The more tightly felted you want your piece to end up being, the larger the hook you’re going to use. Using a more normal size hook for the yarn Wade will result in less felting this could cause a problem because the stitches the loose yarn for each colors beginning and end won’t be filled in as tightly they could come loose which is what felting helps me to avoid. this is counterintuitive but if the stitches are not extra loose, there is less room for friction to occur, which is what makes things felt. You can make something simple as with stripes or you can follow a small grid pattern design that you see either in needlepoint designs, fairisle knitting or intarsia graphed designs.

            Sent from my iPhone

            >

          • Wow I just learned a lot about felting, thank you so much! May I put this in a post and say that you wrote it?

          • oops! sent that last one by accident!😳 I wasn’t done editing… I hope it made sense. I have been trying to use the dictation on my iPhone and it is tricky. I can pick up where I left off later. let me know if you have any questions.😄

            Sent from my iPhone

            >

          • Hi Hannah! I just wanted to be sure that you’re getting these notes. the last one I sent you started with “oops!” the next one I start will do a little backtracking and talk more about managing a large multi-colored piece, so that people have a better idea of what they’re in for; it’s definitely not your take-along-to-the doctors-office-while-you’re-waiting kind of craft. I will wait till I hear from you again before I send you the next “chapter”. 😃 thank you again for your interest in this. I am really enjoying sharing it with you!

            Sent from my iPhone

            >

Trackbacks

  1. […] shape.  I had been wondering if any of my crocheted afghans were still around after reading this post at Not Your Average Crochet by Hannah.  Amazingly, I went to over to my Mother’s house the […]

  2. […] I’m so glad I did; it’s still SO soft and SO warm and I’m glad that I purposely felted it slightly in the wash so my dog’s claws can’t pull the yarn.  Now I’m not going to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: