On a visit to Bend, Oregon, I stopped by Goodwill and picked up a handful of wool and cashmere sweaters to put in my studio inventory. This week, I felted the sweaters for this stuffed animal project that I had seen in Martha Stewart Living last year.
When I looked on Google for instructions on felting sweaters, I didn't find very many helpful posts. So here is everything you need to know about felting a sweater for your projects:
1) I think we all put a borrowed sweater in the washing machine in high school, right? So remember that experience when choosing sweaters to work with. They will shrink significantly during the felting process so make sure you don't get too attached to your project idea until you figure out if you'll have enough wool.
2) In order for a sweater to felt properly, it must be 100% wool. I also love to make soft toys out of cashmere, but cashmere will not felt as tightly as wool.
3) Machine the sweaters (separately, by color) with a small amount of laundry soap and hot water.
4) Machine dry the sweaters on high heat until dry. (Save your beautifully colored dryer lint to make handmade paper another day.) If you can cut the sweater and it doesn't fray, it's felted.
Your felted sweaters can be used to sew mittens, pillows, blankets, tote bags, ipod cozies and much, much more!