Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Felted Sweater Quilt

You know I'm not a professional blogger....you're probable going to REALLY know that soon. If I was a pro I don't think I would post a project this size without it being done....but then, I'm not a pro! In fact, I hesitate to call myself an amateur. At best I'm blogging greenhorn! But if this project works out in real life like I see it in my head, it will all be worth it!! This is going to be the best, coziest blanket EVER!!!

Have you ever felted? Do you know what felting is? I'm guessing we've all done it at one point in our lives, even if it wasn't intentional. Basically it's shrinking wool....You know what I mean...you take that perfect wool sweater or pair of socks and accidently throw them in the washer and they come out toddler sized....yep, you just felted them!!

The great thing about felting is that when the fibers shrink they get really thick and dense.  Now this is the magic of it all.....you can cut apart that sweater and it won't unravel! Promise! Well....I promise it won't after it's felted -- don't cut before you felt or you'll be left with a big messy pile of crinkly yarn....bad news!

The first step of this project is to find your wool to felt. I turned to the Goodwill - you have to look at every tag to make sure that it's really wool, and that it warns against machine washing.

You'll see on the green one that it's only 80% wool....I decided it was worth the gamble. (hey, it was half off everything at Goodwill that day, it wasn't much of a gamble) 

After you have a bunch of sweaters, go through and cut out all the tags, buttons and yes, shoulder pads! 

Make sure to check for extra buttons and tags on the inside seams


 Oh yeah....and drycleaning tags! They're usually pinned in and those pins can rust when you wash them....not the end of the world, but not the effect we're going for either.

By the time you're done you'll have a nice pile of trash, and some new buttons to use on another project. 

The next step is to dump all the sweaters in the washer. I put just a drop of detergent in
(maybe a 1/4 of the normal amount) 
Then set it to a full load as hot and long as you can set it.
Don't worry if you don't have a full load, still set your machine on large load (these babies need some room to move)

Also, if you have a front load machine, or a top-load without an agitator, you may have to run a few cycles, or put something in with the sweaters to rough 'em up a bit. 

When they are done washing, pull them out and admire your handiwork....if they didn't shrink enough, put them back through. You'll know when it's enough when you can't really see the stitches anymore and the sweater feels thicker is hard to stretch.  When they are sufficiently felted, pop them in the dryer. 

Go find your sweaters, get them washed and dried and check back soon for part 2 (I can't post it yet, because I haven't tried it yet....see.... I told you, unprofessional)