How to Practice Wet Felting

wet feltingWet felting is the art of transforming wool yarn into a dense, firm fabric by using hot water and agitation, usually from a washing machine, to bond and shrink the fibers together. This practice creates a cloth that is soft and dense, and useful for a variety of things. There is no limit to what you can felt in your washing machine, as long as you use fibers that are labeled as 100% or other natural animal fiber. Felt created this way is highly absorbent, firm, and can handle wear and tear without fraying or tearing. Most quality felt can last for decades without showing signs of aging, which is why it has grown in popularity with knitters over the last few years.

Materials Needed for Wet Felting

While it’s possible to felt your wool without a washing machine, it’s easier and faster to just toss it in and let the machine do the work. First, you’ll need a few essentials before you get started.

• A zip-top pillowcase or tight mesh bag, to hold your item and keep fuzz out of your machine.
• A pair of kitchen tongs, because the water will be hot.
• Soap or laundry detergent to aid in the felting, although it’s not essential.
• A thick, dry towel to dry your finished piece on.
• Safety pins for blocking.
• A timer to remind you to check the progress.

Some knitters claim that using a small amount of soap, baking soda, or laundry detergent makes a big difference in the wet felting process, but others say that this just makes the process messier and can be eliminated with no bad results. Another tip that has been tossed around is to put a pair of jeans into the washing machine with your project to be felted. They are supposed to offer more agitation, but again, this is not necessary. You can always add them later if you feel they aren’t felting fast enough. Whatever you do, do not put a towel in with your work, or you’ll end up with a fuzzy mess off pills in the end.wet felting process

How to Felt Wool in Your Washing Machine

Once you have finished knitting your piece to be felted, you can set your washing machine settings to the lowest water setting possible, with the highest temperature, and longest agitation. You can then put your project either directly into the water, or use the pillowcase or mesh bag to hold your project. Some people prefer not to use a bag, but by containing your work, you can keep the fuzz created by the wet felting process out of your washing machine, which makes for easier clean up later.

Once your piece is in the water and it is agitating, set your timer for 5 minutes, so that you’ll remember to check. It most likely will not be done after 5 minutes, but it’s a good idea to check on your work pretty often so that you can see how it is progressing and make sure you don’t leave it in for too long.

durable fabric

The piece is done when the measurements match those on your pattern. If you’re not using a pattern, than it is really up to you when it is done. The piece should be smooth with very little to no stitch definition, and it should be thick and slightly firm when it is done. Once you feel that the project is done you can rinse it in cool water and gently wring it out before placing it on a towel to dry. Under no circumstances should you attempt to dry your felt in the dryer, even if you feel it is taking too long to dry. Some pieces can take up to a few days to dry completely. Use this time to block your piece by gently stretching it into the proper shape and pinning it to the towel with safety pins. Once it’s complete, you’ll have a completely new item that is perfect for daily wear and tear, exposure to the elements, or for cutting and turning into something new.

Wool felt is a highly durable and useful fabric that can be made by individuals everywhere. As more and more people discover the benefits of wet felting, the art form is becoming more and more popular. This process is great for creating bags, purses, hats, slippers, and many more durable pieces. If you’d like to try your hand at wet felting, just get some felting wool, follow a pattern, and try it for yourself!

Knitting Stitches to Save the World

Knitting stitches

Knitting stitches can do much more than produce fantastic items. In fact, they can actually aid in saving the world, one stitch at a time. There are several groups that knit for various charity programs across the globe. This type of volunteer knitting can help you give back to the world by doing something you are passionate about. Helping others and getting to have fun doing something you love? What knitting enthusiast wouldn’t love to know more about this? Well if you do, keep reading to find out how you can help with your hobby!

Knitting Stitches from the Heart

Everyone loves babies. When these wee ones are born too early, the consequences can be heartbreaking. Though we cannot do much to help if we are not medical professionals, what we can do is knit them sweaters. This is exactly what Stitches from the Heart does. This is a volunteer organization that knits tiny hats and sweaters and sends them to hospitals all around the United States for premature babies to wear. If you are a beginner and cannot get your knitting stitches down pat yet, they are also happy to have items donated to them, so send over your extra needles and yarn to help keep a baby warm!

Knitting Stitches for the World

World Vision is one of the largest and most respected children’s charities in the world. Many people have heard of them but most do not know that they knit clothing for the children that they support. All you have to do is go to their website (http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/getinvolved/knit-for-kids/) and follow the easy steps to get involved. They have specific patterns for you to use and these patterns can be downloaded at the above link. The children who depend on World Vision appreciate every item they receive and you can go to sleep each night knowing that a child is warm because of your efforts.

knitting stitches for the world

Knitting for Deployed Dads

If you are looking for a way to make soldiers feel more appreciated, try getting involved with Blankets for Deployed Daddies. This is a group that knits blankets for the dads who are far away from home doing their military duty when their children are born. The blanket is used to swaddle their newborn and then sent to the dad so they can have their little ones scent with them no matter where in the world they are stationed. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. Knitting stitches for such a cause makes this hobby even more special.

Knitting for the Homeless

There are millions of people in America that are homeless. Their situations are perilous and while we cannot save everyone from the streets, we can help keep them warm. Hats for the Homeless knits hats, scarves and gloves for homeless people all year long. The week before Christmas these hats are shipped out to various homeless shelters around America, wrapped in gift paper. They are given out to those who need them. This is the only gift some people get at Christmas so it is special and much appreciated.

Knitting Blankies

Who does not remember the lovable cartoon character Linus from Peanuts? He stood out so well because he always carried his blankie with him wherever he went. This character served as the inspiration for Project Linus. This organization knits blankets and gives them out to kids across the world that are in need of something warm and something that feels safe and comfortable.

Knitting for Special Needs

Everyone has at least heard of the Special Olympics, but who knew that there is an organization that knits scarves for the participants? Each year Scarves for the Special Olympics knits thousands of scarves for each special competitor. Last year the number reached 2,500 and they are hoping to surpass that number before next year’s events begin!
As you can see, there are many worthy causes that you can knit for. We all have a cause that is dear to our hearts and knitting can make getting involved in your cause possible. For a list of organizations that knit for charity, go to http://www.dailyknitter.com/charity.php. If you do not see your cause there, think about knitting stitches for a brand new organization started by you!