I had a good day at the second hand store last week! Look at the amazing wool sweaters I found. I frequently make stops at the thrift stores in town to see if they have any GOOD sweaters. As you know, I love making things from upcycled sweaters, wool in particular. Wool because when you felt it, (shrink it down) the fibers get tight and dense and has a texture that I find irresistible! Felted sweaters are great for all kinds of projects from slippers, mittens to baby toys and hats.
You may ask, “what makes a GOOD sweater?” Here are a few tips when purchasing sweaters for felting.
- Make sure they are at least 80-100% wool if you want them to truely felt.
- Thin sweaters like cashmere are nice to use as lining, but not so great for maybe a slipper sole.
- Thicker sweaters will only get bulkier when you wash them. It is good to have some of these on hand for slipper soles, purses, or projects needing some density.
- Sweaters that have a lot of heavy texture or patterns may not feel so good on your feet or hands if using for a slipper or mitten. Just use your hands to feel the sweater and imagine what it could be used for.
- Look for other wool clothing like SCARFS, and JACKETS.
- If the project you are making requires some stretch to the fabric, make sure the wool garment you are buying has some stretch to it.
- Buy a variety of colors, patterns and textures. I like to have a good selection of plain colors on hand.
- Thrifts stores are great to find sweaters, but GARAGE or TAG SALES are where it is at! You can usually pick a good wool sweater up at a garage sale for 1-3 buckaroos. (the garage sale season has started in my area) YEA!
- Thrift store sweaters seem to run from $3 to $7. It just depends.
This is how you FELT wool sweaters. Felting wool requires three conditions — heat, moisture and friction —
which can be provided by your washing machine and dryer. Here are a
- Use a hot-water wash, a cold-water rinse, and the usual amount of laundry soap.
- You can add a pair of washable sneakers or a few tennis balls to help agitate and cause friction.
- Dry the sweaters in the dryer on the highest heat setting. Put the sneakers or tennis balls in the dryer too. This will tighten the fibers even more.
- You can repeat this process a few more times if you are not quite satisfied with the texture. (Once usually does it for most sweaters).
- The beauty of using felted wool, is that it will not fray when cut.
- Store the felted sweaters in bins where you can see what is inside. If you have several sweaters, like I do, it is helpful to sort the bins by colors or by light and dark colors.
|100% wool sweater before felting|
|SAVE ALL OF YOUR WOOL SWEATER SCRAPS!!!|
I have learned to save even the smallest scraps of your felted wool. They come in handy for smaller projects. One project I have posted on using small scraps of wool can be found here.