Need help. I am new to this site and to felting. I have heard if taking a wool sweater apart and reusing the thread. Do you take it apart first and then felt the thread, or just take apart and knit . How does it become “felted”?
If you want to reclaim the yarn, take the sweater apart and pull the knitting apart, unkint it. It helps if you have a knitty-noddy. That is a special tool that you use to wind the yarn into hanks. It also helps in measuring the amount of yarn you have. You can make your own from PVC pipe. Search the web for directions.
If you want to felt it so that you end up with a fabric that is felt you have to process it in your washing machine. Most of the time, it is best to take the sweater apart and process the individual pieces - front, back, sleeves, etc.. I make special big bags that look like zippered pillowcases in which to wash the pieces. That way I don't end up with lots of fiber in my washing machine. Again, search the web for different instructions. This will only work on wool or mostly wool sweaters. It is the wool that "felts" or the more correct term is "fulls", I think.
I felt the sweater and then cut out my pattern. I buy the largest men's I can get from the thrift store, making sure that the tag says 100% wool (merino wool works the best, ime). Wash in the washing machine (needs a top loader with an adgetator), on hot. Check before the rince cycle. If felted enough, then rince on cold and put in dryer to finish felting. A couple of new tennis balls in the dryer helps. If you want it felted more, then reset the machine for another hot wash cycle. Only use soap (free of dyes, perfumes, or softeners) in the first wash cycle. Some people throw a fabric softener sheet in the dryer; I don't. The sweater (or fabric; I have used wool jersey yardage for felted items) will shrink a lot so make sure you get the largest one you can for your project. There are soaker (i.e. cloth diaper covers) patterns where you knit first and then felt. The shrinkage is built into the knitting pattern but the yarn can still felt smaller than ancicapated. That happened to my dd. The soaker she was knitting was supposted to fit up to 12 months after shrinkage but turned out to only fit a newborn.
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