Monday, April 11, 2011

FAQ: Felting Wool

One question we hear often at the Woolen Mill Store is: what happens if I wash this fabric? How do I felt your wool?

The short answer is this: WONDERFUL things happen when you wash our wool. Heat + moisture + agitation = thick, fluffy, fuzzy, beautiful fabric.

If you've visited our store, you may or may not have seen our felting wall (pictured above). Behind our fabric rolls, we have samples of different weights of wool fabric after being washed in hot water. You can see and feel what happens to worsted, flannel, lightweight jacquard, heavyweight jacquard, and other fabrics.

Every fabric is different, so it's always a good idea to test a swatch before trying to felt the whole piece. That way, you can see how it will behave when exposed to heat, moisture, and agitation. Some fabrics will shrink, some fabrics will thicken, some will do both.
Felting wool is super easy:

  1. Wash in warm or hot water.
  2. Tumble dry warm.
  3. Repeat if desired.
The fabric will make the most dramatic change on the first washing, but may continue to change with more runs through the washer. Once you're happy with the amount of felting, you can wash your fabric or finished product in cold water and it shouldn't change shape anymore.
Here are some wool felting tips we've heard from customers over the years:
  • Throw an old pair of jeans, a pair of sneakers, or some tennis balls into the washer with your fabric to be felted. This will help increase agitation.
  • Use the lowest water level your machine offers. Some machines do a small/medium/large setting for water level.
  • You don't have to use fancy detergent in the wash when you're felting -- even a squirt of shampoo will do.
  • Top-loading washers tend to be better for felting than front-loading washers.

1 comment:

ShuaVed said...

Yeah!! I knew it was on the wall at the store, but darned if I could remember it =p Thanks ya'll.