Felting without a washer

Is it possible to successfully felt small items (coasters, potholders, and the like) by hand in a sink or dishpan? Or, is it safe to throw my stuff in with the laundromat wash load, come back when the load is done, and find my items felted properly?

I’ve never felted before, so any help is welcomed…Thanks!

either way will work. In the sink, it may take longer but you can still do it that way. At the laundromat, since those washers are front-load, you won’t be able to stop the washer and check them mid-cycle, but it will certainly felt them. You won’t have as much control to be able to stop the felting process when you choose since they will have to go the whole cycle. It’s possible it might still need 2 cycles.

you can start with a 5 gal bucket (or something about that size… some cat food comes in buckets like this, or sometimes you can get them from deli’s)

and a brand new (LABELED) plunger.

fill bucket about half way with water (in the bath tube or out of doors.)

‘aggitate’ with plunger…

Use hot water/cold water/hot water(shock treatment)

it goes pretty quick!.

be sure plunger is stored seperately (with knitting supplies) and not in bathroom/or under kitchen sink!)

You can do it at the laundromat. It will be easier if you use a top loading washer and stick around to check on it and make sure it doesn’t get to small.

You can do it in the sink with hot water and a TBSP or two of baking soda to clean it. Agitate it well, then lay it flat to dry. I like the plunger idea, lol.

When I was little (and before I had the patience to knit) I used to make fulled slippers in the bath tub. It was the easiest thing to do, and I still use this method when I have little things to felt and don’t want to waste the water in my washing machine. Use very warm water (I use as warm as my hands can stand) and a old fashion washboard (or anything that has ridges) and some dishsoap (or in my case I use baby shampoo because it’s right there!). Then just scrub! In no time you will get the hairs felting together. Its easy to control the shape by direction you scrub. The trickiest part will be making it all a uniform thickness, but if you keep moving your hand (or fingers) to different areas is will work great.
Good luck!

Does anyone remember “boiled wool” women’s jackets. They are gorgeously felted clothing and the name would suggest that the jackets were felted in boiling water before the advent of electric washing machies.

Felting also requires friction so I imagine that must have been a lot of work!

Jan, is there a resource you can recommend that might describe how felting works from a scientific perspective? Thanks… John

Here’s a few pretty good descriptions.
http://www.straw.com/cpy/wisdom/why_wool_felts.html
http://www.tricksyknitter.com/why-wool-felts-and-how-to-felt-your-knitting-on-purpose/

I also know that those hairs that cause felting are also what makes some people (me for one) very sensitive to wool.