Monday, April 16, 2012

Washing Wool

WASHING: If you don't want your wool items to shrink and felt, the proper way is to hand wash it in cold water. It really is very easy, quicker, and more energy efficient than using your machine. When it's time to wash my coffee sock and hand knit fingerless gloves, I do it in my kitchen sink!

Grab a large bowl, add a touch of laundry detergent, and fill it with cool water. In they go for a little swim! Use gentle movements, up and down, side to side, and alternate. When it comes time to rinse, they are rinsed under cool water. Here's what we
don't want to do: don't twist or WRING them. That can cause the item to become misshapen. Instead, we fold the item over and squeeze. Rinse, fold, squeeze. Lay them out on a towel to dry. It could take a while, but in the end you'll be satisfied in knowing you are taking care of your wool garments and will be able to enjoy them for a longer time.

FELTING: If you're wanting to shrink and felt your wool, you're going to want to do the opposite! The purple item you see is a practice swatch for a secret project I'm working on. It has been felted, meaning that the fibers have fused together to create a solid piece. To do this I filled my large bowl with HOT water, the swatch, and a touch of laundry detergent. The soap helps, but be sure to use just a little bit. Hot water and lots of agitation are the key to felting. Pick up the piece you are working with and rub it together. You'll notice it start to change. Keep rubbing and dunking and agitating until it looks about the way you want. Rinse the soap out really well. Again, do not twist or wring! Instead: rinse, fold, squeeze. Reshape the item and lay it on a towel to dry.

If there are larger pieces or multiple pieces you wish to felt, it is probably more efficient to do it in your machine. It is recommended that you add jeans to the load as the heavy garment assists with the agitation process. Once the wash cycle begins you'll want to stand by so you can peek in to observe how well your items are felting. The results can vary from wash to wash. Some may felt faster than others, and some slower. Whichever way you choose, have fun and experiment to see which methods work best for YOU!

I'm now up to 20 colorful squares!

1 comment:

mamaslittlemonkeys said...

Thanks so much! I am starting to dye my own wool yarns and I was wondering exactly how to wash them when done!!! :)