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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Felting fun


I've been playing around with felting using yarn I've gotten at Tuesday Morning. If you don't know, felting is what happens when you submit natural wool yarn to heat, moisture and agitation. Most of us have unintentionally experienced this--the wool sweater that gets thrown in the wash and comes up doll-sized.
Believe it or not, sometimes people do this on purpose. According to Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft
some hats were made by knitting fabric pieces, felting the piece, then cutting out the shapes and sewing them together.
I've done a few samples, but this was my first finished project: the bag is knitted complete then felted (I've found the "sanitize" cycle on my front-load machine works great). After felting the bag is about 20% smaller, and the fabric is very sturdy and dense.

felted bags
So, how does this 'felting' work, you ask? (SOOO glad you did!) Untreated wool fibers have scales on them:

closeup of wool fiber













Those scales work like a cable tie--you know those plastic straps that you can pull tighter, but can't loosen? All those fibers criss-crossing keep getting pulled tighter, making the overall dimensions smaller, but the fabric itself thicker.
Washable wool doesn't do this because its been treated--either to coat the edges of the scales or to etch them away. 

Pretty cool, huh?

yeah, I'm a fiber nerd, and dang proud of it. :)

Juliette

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