In Felt Tutorial, Tips & techniques

Hot water for boiling eggs.
(We made these using the “silk tie” method as shown on Martha. It was fun, I think we might try it again next year.)

Hot water wash for felting (fulling) sweaters.
(Is it wrong that the kids have no clean socks and I have this fluffy stack of yummy sweater felt?)

And then there’s me. I’m in a bit of hot water myself. Behind on my writing and with the kids home on Spring Break…we’ll not much progress happening with the manuscript. Just warning ya…the blog posts will be a little sparse for the next 2 weeks. (I need to go into seclusion like Harlot!)

Before I sneak away (figuratively, I assure you), I thought I’d do a quick felting Before and After. I have gotten a few questions about felting Fair Isle sweaters. People wonder what the pattern might look like, how much detail will be lost, etc. The examples below were all washed in hot water, once, in a front load washer (top loaders typically felt faster/better) with detergent and a tennis ball for friction. Fair Isle sweaters usually felt thicker than solid sweaters due to the stranding on the back.

content: 59% merino wool, 16% cashmere, 15% angora, 10% nylon

content: 82%wool, 7% angora, 7% nylon, 4% silk

Not a fair Isle, obviously, but I thought interesting to show what happens to a printed sweater. Content: 70% lambswool, 20% angora, 10% nylon

You can also see from the contents that the sweaters don’t have to be 100% wool. I say at least a 90% combination of wool and other animal fibers. No more than 10% nylon. Silk doesn’t count as an animal fiber, either. :) For other felting Q&A, don’t forget to check out the discussion area of the Warm Fuzzies Flickr Group over in the sidebar.

Enough talk of hot water unless it’s for tea or a long soak in the tub. Hope to check in here again real soon…


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Showing 24 comments
  • bettyninja

    This was a great post! Thanks for showing before and after photos. I have done experimenting of my own but didn’t know that I could get away with 90% wool in most cases. I think I need to wash mine a few more times because I want it to be fairly tight.

  • kira

    Thank you so much for the tutorial … I’ve been wanting to try this but didn’t know how to start, this definitely will help! :)

  • Annie

    Your post is very timely. I just returned from a thrift store with seven wool sweaters! I bought one with 10% nylon to see if it would felt and I’m glad that it will.

    I LOVE the pink egg. A teacher at my school tried these and hers turned out so fun too! Next year…
    Now I am going to go get into some hot water ;)
    PS. I just finished my cup o joe pincushion. It was so fun to make!

  • stacysews

    absolutely gorgeous – both the sweaters and the eggs!

  • Yummers!

    I love the eggs. I need to go to your link and see the process.

    I’m still having difficulty finding wool sweaters. I do have some but the hours spent looking at labels and coming out with one or none is really frustrating. I even talked my husband into helping me. Maybe because it’s so darn cold here, people just don’t give them up.
    Oh well, life is still good!

  • Betz White

    Wow, Yummers,
    That surprises me. Have you been to Savers or Ragstock? I know you are in WI but I forgot where…


    Thank you too for commenting on my blog!!!i really think you are a wonderful artist!!you will inspire me again and again..

  • Susan

    Love the eggs. I know what kind of egg dyeing I’ll be doing next year. I already see some ties I can use that my husband doesn’t wear anymore. :)

  • Carolyn

    Beautiful eggs! Thanks for the before and after pics. Do you feel like if you shave your wool, you like the look better?

  • Betz White

    Egad! Does my wool need shaving???

    Usually I think it’s fine…if it’s really pilly I use a de-piller doohickey.

  • Becky

    i love the pile of springy colors. makes it very eastery indeed. can’t wait to see what they end up. i am sure they will love thier new life after their long hot jacuzzi bath!!!

  • Lisa Stone

    Betz, I have gone a little overboard with felting thrifted sweaters and am in need of selling off the excess! I was hoping you could share my etsy shop with your readers so that they can create your amazing projects.



  • Cassi

    Oh my gosh, those eggs are gorgeous! I’ll have to remember this for next year. Thanks for sharing the results :)

  • bigbucketgirl

    thank you for the link about felting..i boil(?) washed 2 sweaters but only succeeded in making them a little bobbly looking and flooding the laundry room with soap suds. My husband laughed heartily and suggested i look for help! So again..thank you!
    love your photo of the felted stack!

  • Rachael Rabbit

    I love the eggs – I’m quite jealous. We decorated eggs this year – but this is a fabulous way of making pretty eggs & I have a whole box of gorgeous ties to try out!! Easter 2009 can’t come fast enough!

  • Fabulous posts on felting, egg decor and easter’s past! You look like a “walking doll” next to your brothers…reminds me of a photo of myself from the 60’s at Christmas. I’m a Warm and Fuzzies book owner and enjoy reading and re-reading your methods. Thanks for all the tips and keeping your woolie friends and fans inspired! Good luck with the process of your next book…looking forward to it.

  • Inspired Tokens

    You are so funny…no clean socks; but plenty of fulled sweaters. You certainly have your priorities in the right order though. I love your comparison photo’s. It’s fun to see how the patterns change after a round or two in the washer.

  • Inspired Tokens

    Oh…I forgot to add! Great eggs. I don’t have little ones, but they look good enough to try just for me. Maybe next year.

  • Mytutorlist.com

    It’s hilarious that you say your kids have no clean socks when you have a huge stack of fluffy felted sweaters. Heheheh…

  • Wendy

    Love the eggs… hmm will go give it try just for fun.

  • PamperingBeki

    The eggs are gorgeous! Great job.

    I have so much fun shopping thrift stores for items I can felt, and I don’t know how to sew! So once they’re felted they just sit. haha! But it’s fun still.

  • star

    oh i’m so glad you posted some before and after photos! i’ve always been curious about how the sweater looks before you felt it! i really need to get to the thrift store! :)

  • knitsational

    That ble one is beautiful. Nice to to know about the mixed fiber content!

  • threesneakybugs

    Thanks for the before and afters! I love how the felting softens the pattern. There have been sweaters I’ve passed up that I might need to take a second look at.

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