Yesterday, I spent a great portion of my day building my new wool stash by reclaiming old wool discovered at local thrift stores. Here’s how you reclaim wool for re-use in penny rug quilts or to strip and reuse for rug hooking or other fiber art project:
First, you visit all your local thrift stores and look for items of clothing that are 100% wool or items that carry one of these symbols:
I’m sure you can use wool that has a high percentage of wool- say 90%. This is one of those areas where you can experiment.
Look for wool skirts- hopefully in the largest size possible with gathering at the waist. Wool slacks are next. Last are wool blazers. Usually for the value, wool blazers only give you a little bit of usable wool, I’ve found. They are a pain to deconstruct, too.
I prepare my items, by cutting off the waistlines, cutting off zippers and buttons. I open up hemlines and sleeves. Remove the lining.
Place the wool items into your washer on regular temp along with some towels to help felt them. I was told by my rughooking teacher to not use any soap product at this point- but I’ve done it both ways and it works just fine. Next you throw the washed, felted items into your dryer (on warm) with several softener sheets. Check you dryer vent every 5 minutes and clean out. Pull out items when dry and the felted wool is now ready to use.
The application for knowing this for quilters is in penny rug quilts. For rug hookers, it’s building your stash. Felting is certainly “In” right now. You can crochet or knit a bag, then felt it the same way I describe above.
If anyone tries this, please let me know. It is simple and easy.
I am interested in the felting process and have a few garmets. I have not yet done any felting with them so I would love to see what you come up with.
Advice from one who messed up (what, me?!!) Don’t buy a wool garment labelled “washable”– it just won’t felt!
I can’t wait to see what you come up with– it sounds very intriguing!
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I am having trouble felting in my front load washer even with hot water. Any suggestions? Great instructions. Thanks.
Dear Heather, you bring up the only reason why wool artists dislike the front loading washers- they do not work as well as the top loading older models. However, you can do it, and here is a wonderful article that will tell you how: http://www.woolcrafting.com/felting-in-a-front-load-washing-machine.html
Hope this helps, Carla