Whisk your unwanted wool sweaters to the washing machine to make craftable felted wool. Yes. It’s that easy.
Wool shrinks into a sturdy, dense, textured fabric when exposed to water, heat and agitation. The condensed fibers create an ideal canvas for needle felting wool roving or yarn. Because these shrunken swatches won’t unravel when cut, you can use felted wool for appliqué, too.
In Needle Felted Accessories and Needle Felted Fashions, you’ll find beautiful purses and jewelry created with felted wool, like funky medallion bracelets, an easy-to-make clutch and eyeglass case, and a pair of cozy children’s outfits.
In these books you will find instructions for wet felting to create beads and the felted wool balls featured in our Zipper Jewels (IJ895) and My Garden Zips (IJ894) patterns. This simple technique requires basic household items, including for soap, water and an oven.
To felt your castoff woolen wear, wash in warm water and dry on low heat. Repeat until you achieve desired thickness. Shrinkage will vary by machine and the wool material you are felting. Remember to test your materials when using appliqués, because all wools react differently. The density of the weave in wool fiber will come into play when one material is bonded to another. Don’t felt to much or your wool will become too stiff to wear comfortably. Cashmere will stay considerably thinner and softer than traditional wool sweaters.
You can incorporate felted wool into many other projects. Snag a handful of sweaters from thrift shops and experiment! To add needle felted embellishments, grab tools and wools from our site. Want to learn more about needlefelting basics? Visit our How-to area to watch a video tutorial on the basic techniques of needlefelting.