1st time felter questions - HE washer & more

I finished my first hand bag…a great feat for this slow, relatively new knitter! I tied to felt it without great results. I used just a dap of soap and hot water. I started with a pair of jeans, then on the 3rd load added a pair of sneakers. I also tried taking it out and putting it in cold water then back into the hot.

The bag shrank in height but not at all in width. It is felted, but as my 3 yr old pointed out “I can still see some of the stitches”.

I have a top loading Calypso (Whirlpool) washer. Instead of the traditional agitator it has a bump. The concept is that the bottom of the tub (including the “bump”) wobbles while it turns. It is supposed to bounce the clothes up and down while water flows through them. So the tub never fills with water. Another thing…I stuck my hand in and found that the water never gets really hot like the tap water gets.

What did I do wrong? Can you felt something again after it has dried? I am working on another felting project now so I want to get this felting thing figured out.

Thanks a ton for your help!!

Yes, you can toss it in and felt it again.

I don’t know if the type of washer is causing it to take longer to felt. Can you set the washer on large load to get as much water as possible, even though you only have a few things in it? As to not being very hot - maybe you can pour in a gallon of boiling water after it has started washing.

I have no suggestions to the issue of only felting in one direction. I don’t think there is anything you can do to force that - it will felt how it wants to felt.

Good luck w/your projects.

I look forward to replies on your question.

I love making felted items, but my washer doesn’t seem to felt stuff as good as others seem to. I have already run an item through 7 wash cycles with lots of agitation and the item does not felt completly. (stitches can still be seen) and I even put it on small load with lots of other things in with it.

My adventure bag I just felted, washed it for 5 agitation cycles and still wasn’t happy, tosed it in the dryer for 35 minutes and it still did not shrink anymore. And that was with Cascade wool. I don’t get it.

But I will keep trying, most things turn out fine as they are, just not 100% felted.

Good luck.

I have a front-loading washer (no agitator or bump or anything) and have felted two booga bags, each made from a different type of wool (I can’t remember the first one, but the second one was Galway). Anyway, both bags were in the washer a total of 20 minutes (not even one full cycle). I used the hot setting, and HEAVY soil, and cotton/sturdy. That may make a difference with how much your washer agitates it. I only put a pair of jeans in.

Also, I think all knitting will shrink more lengthwise than width wise.

I have felted three bags now, and have more on my christmas list,
but felted bags are very strong and durable, You can stretch it into shape (you just need to be strong). If you are not happy with the size (too short?) then just pull it up and throw it in the wash again. They are great bags and you can felt and stretch forever until you are happy with them.

Sounds like a lot of good advice. You could add hot water, maybe to the load. I can do that with my washer, but it is a top loader. Another thing is to just do it by hand in the sink. Put on some rubber gloves to protect your hands from the hot water and make it hot, even if you need to heat some up on the stove. Some hot water heaters are set quite low. Use some soap of some sort and work it over, agitate it, rub it and keep at it. :slight_smile: You can alternate it with some cold water if you want once in a while.

Good luck.

Knitted wool generally felts more in one direction than the other. It may shrink considerably in length, hardly at all in width.

You can predict how your yarn/knitting is going to react by knitting a large swatch, measuring it carefully, putting it through the felting process and measuring again. Then you can adapt the pattern (eg, cast on more or fewer stitches, knit more or fewer rows) to get the proportions you need.