Felting/Wool Yarn Questions

I’d like to do some felting but have some questions about the Yarn I need use:

  1. Does only 100% wool “felt”?

  2. Does anything that says 100% wool felt?

  3. Does anything besides 100% wool felt? (alpaca, angora, mohair, silk)

  4. what are the best felting yarns out there?

The Felting Process:

  1. Is there a way to predict/know how much the item will shrink? Some kind of formula or something?

  2. Does it create lots of lint in the washing machine?

THANKS!!

With felting, there are so many variables, but a good starting place is here:

http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13842&highlight=felting

And you can search this forum for “felting” and get even more tidbits of advice.

Thank you.

I did try a search and came up with 1,600 results… how do i narrow it down to what i’m looking for??

  1. Does only 100% wool “felt”?

Yes it has to be natural fiber to felt

  1. Does anything that says 100% wool felt?

No. Some wools are ‘superwash’ or treated so that they do not shrink when washed. You need something that will definately shrink to the max!

  1. Does anything besides 100% wool felt? (alpaca, angora, mohair, silk)

This I’m not sure of - not experienced much as a felter I’ve only done one project so far.

  1. what are the best felting yarns out there?

Again - someone else can perhaps help a bit more here - I’m not that experienced but I did use a discontinued Wendy Tweed wool for my Lucy Bag (see my blog - not myspace for details).

The Felting Process:

  1. Is there a way to predict/know how much the item will shrink? Some kind of formula or something?

Felting can take several goes to get it to the desired size. My Lucy bag shrank to a decent size when I did it with one wash at 95 degrees. I have front loading machines here in the UK so it’s not as easy as felt it for a bit take it out have a look put it back.

  1. Does it create lots of lint in the washing machine?

I didn’t find any / much lint at all in my washing machine after felting Lucy - I suspect with repeated use though it might become a problem but I’m not sure. Perhaps a more experienced felter could respond here?

mohair and angora will felt, as will alpaca and llama. i don’t think silk would. i have seen patterns with a combo of 2 strands, one of wool and one of angora, and also using a substitute yarn that was not 100% anything for the angora strand (it was something like 75% mohair, 15% wool and 15% nylon).

anything labeled superwash will not felt and white or other bleached shades generally will not felt due to the chemicals that it’s been processed with.

jeans work better than towels for the agitation, they don’t lint (even ancient towels seem to shed!) and a zippered pillow cover is your best bet for keeping the wool (or whatever) bits to itself, not in your washer pump. you can also use a mesh bag but may have some smaller escaping fuzzies; a knotted pillowcase works in a pinch also but is hard to keep knotting and unknotting as you check progress. i think the loose lint from the project doesn’t show up much in your washer basket, but rather in your pump, and will eventually wear it out - the zippered pillow cover is a tighter weave than the mesh bags and should keep everything within the bag (although i usually don’t have much project lint anyway).

i’ve had good luck with noro and paton’s merino wools.

if you’re following a pattern and using the yarn specified, you just need to get gauge and then follow instructions. if you are winging a pattern or substituting yarns, you would want to make a swatch, measure it, felt it and then remeasure once it’s air dried to get your percentage of shrinkage in both directions.

I’m not an expert, but I’ve had great results with Lamb’s Pride Bulky. It has mohair in it and that makes it look even better.

How can I tell the weight of a yarn if the label is missing?