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:

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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:

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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!

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