How to launder felting projects

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Ro LoCa wrote
on 23 May 2013 8:59 PM

I have been watching Quilting Arts for about a month now and have taken an interest in the felting projects.  I am very new to quilting, sewing, embrodery, etc.  With that said, I was wondering if there is a general guideline for cleaning of felted projects i.e handwashing in cold water?  Or, is care specific to the materials being used?  Any advice or direction is sincerely appreciated; I'd hate to finish a project, clean it and have it fall apart.


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ckquilter wrote
on 24 Jun 2013 6:46 AM

hi roloca

felting projects are either hand needle felted or wet felted. wet felted items have already been thru a lot of water (usually warm) and soap - so washing them is not much of a problem, even with more warm water and soap. if they are of wool.

needle felted items may be of many different materials -so then it will depend on the individual item. if all the components of the item are washable, then the whole shoud be washable. however, if using wool which has not already been wet felted, then warm water could easily make the item smaller during an initial wash.

if you are washing a wearable that has been wet felted - then just wash in slightly cooler water and the wool should have already been fulled (shrunk thoroughly), and so should be stable to further washing (just not the rough cycle of the washing machine and a HOT dryer.)   if the garment has needle felted embellishments, you will want to use cool water and minimal agitation - so by hand, and lay flat and blocked to dry (ie NO dryer).

for dimensional items - such as bags or bowls  - you will need to wash those by hand. again, if the item was wet felted originally, then further washing in cool water should be no problem. if needle felted, you will need to be more careful, and keep the water cool and the agitation to a minimum.

are you planning on doing wet or needle felting? with pure wool or with other materials? and what items are you planning on making?

felted items can be extremely durable - and unless you are using very delicate materials, with an absolute minimum of felting, they are not gonna fall apart.                                  ckquilter



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Ro LoCa wrote
on 29 Jun 2013 10:05 PM


Thank you so much for the information you provided, it is very appreciated.  I was interested in hand felting for my granddaughter the little purse that uses a household iron as a pattern that I saw on an episode of Quilting Arts about a month or so ago.  I thought it would be a good beginner felting project but quickly realized that I had no idea if this kind of project would be washable in the machine or by hand. 

I'm planning to use all wool, same materials just in varying colors.  It didn't occur to me that I might have to block the material (I knit and am familiar with blocking).    

After reading your reply, I'm much more comfortable with starting this project in the very near future.  You provided information to questions I didn't know to ask!  :o)  

Thank you again! 


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ckquilter wrote
on 30 Jun 2013 3:10 AM

hi ro

i did not see the tv show you mention  - so don't know exactly what the project is.

most wool will felt - but not all. most superwashed wool will not felt - although if  mixed with feltable wool it will. or if caught underneath a thin layer of feltable wool it can be incorporated to a felting project.

when you buy wool yarn and then knit a sweater - and then accidentally put it in the wash in warm water and it shrinks three sizes - that is felting!!! (actually fulling).

felted items have been used by nomadic peoples on the steppes for millenia. saddle blankets as well as tents - yes, tents to be lived in. they can be taken down and packed to move to the next location - and are durable to sun and rain. they also felt clothing and rugs. all durable items.

most dimensional items will be formed over a shape, with a resist between the layers of wool - is that what the iron is used for??    putting some kind of impervious layer between the 2 layers of felting wool (roving), and then felting the wool (wet, with soap), and then removing the shape and resist.    

felted handles can also be very strong.  or you could sew into the purse. but the entire purse could be felted. and you can add needle felted embellishments on top of the wet felted base purse shape.

if your purse has been thoroughly wet felted (fulled) before using, then washing it, even in the washing macine should be no problem. although i would probably tuck a piece of plastic wrap in between the 2 sides, as a resist, to prevent any further felting, when being washed. then just remove the resist after done washing. you wold not want to put the plastic in the dryer.   but you can lay the purse flat and block it to dry anyway.

if the handle is of any thickness at all, even just a 1/4 inch diameter, and thoroughly felted, you would have to be pretty strong, and pulling ey hard to be able to pull it off the purse. 30 or 40 pounds would be no problem. so very strong and durable.

hope to see a picture of the finished purse.                                ckquilter

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