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What to do with accidentally (or not so accidentally!) felted wool items?

 
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I'm personally rather fond of making items of wool, then 'fulling' them into a smaller, thicker, sturdier felted version. The trick in that is knowing how much bigger to make your item, so that it fulls/felts down to the correct size. But, what happens when you accidentally full/felt your sweater, and it shrinks down to child size - but you don't want to 'just toss it out', like so many would? Well, if you're a permie, you either find a person small enough to wear it, or turn it into something else that you can use, right?

In fact, some of us might even find it so much fun that we go looking through the resale shops, flea markets, estate and tag sales hunting for things to full/felt, shrink and turn into things we can get great use of. Knowing the properties of wool felt gives you some good clues as to great second (or third) uses. Wool is flame/heat resistant - perfect for hot pads & oven mitts; breathable, insulating, cushioning, wicking, and dries quickly - making for wonderful hats, mittens, slippers, or seat cushions (think about how nice that could be on cold stadium or workshop seats, or between you and the cold vinyl or leather of your car seats - or to soften the bench of your rmh!) . Some wool is kinda scratchy - making it great for exfoliating washcloths or as dish cloths, while some is very soft - making for warm mittens and ear-warming headbands. Also, once well-fulled, the fabric needn't even be hemmed, because it won't unravel, making hand sewing much quicker and easier. You can even cut a fun edge on your chosen items.

A holey wool blanket, once fulled, can be cut (&sewn, if needed) into those items above; a rug to cushion & cut the chill on a hard, cold floor by the bed or your favorite chair; a nice padding under a sheet, for a smaller mattress (think of those usually plastic-covered ones in cribs and bassinets); 'coasters' to place between precious vases, or other items, and a hard glass table top...

Depending on the colors you have available and your own creativity, you might turn them into patchwork blankets, coats, or even insulating, sound-softening stained-glass-look wall hangings.

How have YOU used felted wool? How might you like to try using it? Where have you found the wool you use for this life this?
 
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I'm interested in trying to make a wool hen for a non electric chick brooder this spring!

I'm eager to hear how to source it also. I also live in a pretty warm climate and cotton is a main crop around here so we have very little wool used in this area.

Here is a picture from Jordan's thread discussing it, and shows the strips of wool/felt used to construct the wool hen.

https://permies.com/t/177923/wool-hen-zero-electricity

 
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Carla Burke wrote:I'm personally rather fond of making items of wool, then 'fulling' them into a smaller, thicker, sturdier felted version. The trick in that is knowing how much bigger to make your item, so that it fulls/felts down to the correct size. But, what happens when you accidentally full/felt your sweater, ...

In fact, some of us might even find it so much fun that we go looking through the resale shops, flea markets, estate and tag sales hunting for things to full/felt, shrink and turn into things we can get great use of. Knowing the properties of wool felt gives you some good clues as to great second (or third) uses. ...
...

How have YOU used felted wool? How might you like to try using it? Where have you found the wool you use for this life this?


Thank you Carla for starting this thread!
Yes, I did buy second-hand wool sweaters to felt on purpose. And I bought a large old wool blanket too.
From the wool blanket I made five square cushions. They are the insulation inside my 'hay-box'.

(here they seem to be cushions on a couch, but this photo was made to show them all ...)

One of the things I made using felted sweaters was this 'kaprun'. Medieval style headwear:


I made a 'coozy', a sort of cosy to keep a cold water bottle cool. I use it for keeping coffee hot too ...
And I made a three-dimensional 'piece of art' using felted squares ... but I still have to make photos.

There's still a large bag of felt(ed sweaters) left. So I'm looking out for things to make.

 
Carla Burke
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Nice work, Inge! I love your kaprun! The cushions are lovely, and I'm sure, very nice to snuggle up with, if you choose to sneak them out of the haybox, sometimes. I hadn't even thought of using cushions in a haybox, much less making them specifically for it - that's brilliant! And, if you take said haybox camping (are you even able to do that, on your bicycle camping trips?), when you're done cooking, they'd still be warm and cozy, if you're chilled.
 
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Nowadays I am trying to wean myself off petroleum derived fabrics but couldn't think what to line knitted hats with to replace fleece. The wind blows through the holes in the knitting without a lining. Of course - felted wool. You have helped me take a step further in my natural fibres journey. Now I just need to find some woollen garments or blankets for felting.
 
Carla Burke
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Hi, Ara! There's a trick to using felted wool in stretchy things - namely, not felting it too much. Most wool fiber is pretty stretchy, but as it felts, the fibers cling together more and more firmly, giving it the stability & thick awesomeness we love, but also taking some of the stretch out of it. Another way around this is to make your liner removable, so the liner and outside can be washed separately. Or, you could just always wash it by hand. But, much like those wonderful boot liners of my childhood, they can make an enormous difference in how long you can stay out in the cold!
 
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In people's felting experiments, have you worked with cashmere/mohair/angora? I am allergic to sheeps wool but can handle the other animal wools. I can occasionally find thrifted items in them, ( very rare, but it does happen) and was wondering if they will still felt like wool.
Being able to make felt I could use would make it worth picking up some of the too small things that cross my path now and then!
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Carla Burke wrote:...And, if you take said haybox camping (are you even able to do that, on your bicycle camping trips?), when you're done cooking, they'd still be warm and cozy, if you're chilled.


No, this haybox is much too large to take with me when I go bicycle-camping. But I don't need it then: I have my sleeping bag to keep pots hot!
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I made a photo of the 'coozy' and the 'felt art' together:

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Dian Green wrote:In people's felting experiments, have you worked with cashmere/mohair/angora? I am allergic to sheeps wool but can handle the other animal wools. I can occasionally find thrifted items in them, ( very rare, but it does happen) and was wondering if they will still felt like wool.
Being able to make felt I could use would make it worth picking up some of the too small things that cross my path now and then!


I know angora felts well. I did not do it on purpose ... Just happened
 
Carla Burke
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Dian Green wrote:In people's felting experiments, have you worked with cashmere/mohair/angora? I am allergic to sheeps wool but can handle the other animal wools. I can occasionally find thrifted items in them, ( very rare, but it does happen) and was wondering if they will still felt like wool.
Being able to make felt I could use would make it worth picking up some of the too small things that cross my path now and then!



Hi, Dian! I've worked with Angora(a little bit), cashmere/mohair (I raise goats that produce it, and one of my first 'oopses' was a thrifted cashmere sweater), and alpaca. All will felt, some more easily than others, at least to get started, with the alpaca being the most difficult to get started. If you're working with just the fiber, not yarn, it feels beautifully, if you can first blend it with another fiber, but I've done it both ways.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Yeah! I made the oven mitts (pot holders)!
This sweater was felted on purpose. I bought it some years ago second hand. I wore it often. It got some stains on it and I embroidered flowers (with wool yanr) over those spots. Only after I knitted a few more warm wool sweaters I decided to use this one for 'upcycling'.

The two mitts are a little different. I wanted to try two ways for the shape of the thumb part. First I made a paper pattern around my hand. I cut the pieces with a little seam-allowance (about 1/8 of an inch, half a cm). I used blanket stitch to sew the parts together, with a cotton 'darning thread' (two colours marled together).

one side

the other side

having fun ;-)
 
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Nicely done, Inge!! They're lovely and fun! What do you have in mind for the rest of the sweater?
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Nicely done, Inge!! They're lovely and fun! What do you have in mind for the rest of the sweater?

If it were me, I'd take some more small bits and double the thickness of the oven mitts on the part of the thumb and finger area that is most likely to be in contact with the hot pans. This can be done either on the outside and show, or on the inside. In the past, I've used salvageable parts from old socks to do this, and it's both made the oven mitts safer, and last longer, as I reinforced the areas that had always been the first to wear out.
 
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I purchased some handmade soap that was in a felted wool covering. I thought that was a clever use of felted wool.
 
Carla Burke
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Robert Ray wrote:I purchased some handmade soap that was in a felted wool covering. I thought that was a clever use of felted wool.



Agreed! I've seen them done (and sold for a nice profit) both ways - where the fibers were felted directly around the soap, and where a felted, refillable bag was made for the soap. The latter is my personal preference, because It can be used over and over until it falls apart - likely for years. Both ways seem pretty permie, to me. :D
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Jay Angler wrote:

Carla Burke wrote:Nicely done, Inge!! They're lovely and fun! What do you have in mind for the rest of the sweater?

If it were me, I'd take some more small bits and double the thickness of the oven mitts on the part of the thumb and finger area that is most likely to be in contact with the hot pans. This can be done either on the outside and show, or on the inside. In the past, I've used salvageable parts from old socks to do this, and it's both made the oven mitts safer, and last longer, as I reinforced the areas that had always been the first to wear out.


Exactly my idea too, Jay. But first I am trying them in some kitchen use. Maybe they do not need a second layer. If it isn't really needed, I prefer them the way they are now.
For now the rest of that sweater is in a bag full of felted parts of sweater ... so it's there when a next project comes up.
 
My first bit of advice is that if you are going to be a mime, you shouldn't talk. Even the tiny ad is nodding:
3D Plans - Tiny House Cob Style Rocket Mass Heater
https://permies.com/t/193730/Plans-Tiny-House-Cob-Style
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