Word on the street is that felting is back, and it’s just in time for our new untreated wool, Berroco Lanas!
Did you know that different colors may felt differently, or may not felt at all? This is because felting depends on the microscopic “scales” that make up animal fibers getting all floofed up and clinging to each other in the wash. (Yes, “floofed up” is a technical term.) With some treatments, such as certain types of dyeing, and especially the bleaching that some white yarns undergo, the scales get smoothed out and it will be impossible (or very very time consuming) to felt these yarns. This is also why you need an animal fiber-based yarn that is not superwash treated; the whole point of making a yarn superwash is to make the yarn basically unfeltable.
So with all that in mind, we tried a variety of colors to make sure they all felted well.
The colors we used were 9516 Dove (a solid grey), 95120 Faded Jeans (a heathered grey-blue), 9501 Cream (off-white), and 9500 Snow Day (true white). We were happy to find that they all felted beautifully!
Here’s the process:
We made 7″x 7″ swatches on a size 8 / 5 mm needle (30 sts).
Then we washed them using very hot water in a top-loading washing machine, with a little bit of regular detergent, and a towel. You do need to add something like a towel or a pair of jeans to help provide enough agitation.
It is very helpful, almost crucial, to use a top-loading machine (increasingly rare these days, I know!), because you want to check on the progress frequently, especially if you’re making something like slippers that you want to come out a specific size. With front loaders, you’re not going to be able to open the door and see how it’s coming along.
It took about 30 minutes to completely felt the swatches.
The final size: approximately 4½” x 5¾”, which is 65% of original width x 80% of original length. There were minor variations in the final size, due to some of the swatches being washed slightly longer than others.
Ready to try it for yourself?
We have just made free PDFs from each of the patterns in our Everything Felted booklet #265. The cute Coasters would make a great first felting project. I’m also very partial to the Om oven mitt—I love how the stranded knitting looks all felted up. Which felting pattern are you eager to try?