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 Felting with a front loader
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Shalee
Permanent Resident

USA
2042 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2011 :  10:10:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shalee's Homepage Send Shalee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a front loading washing machine. I have never done any felting. I've always shyed away from felting because I am a 2 + 2 = 4 type person. Variables in knitting - EEK!

Anyway, I have my swatch made. Marked off a 4 x 4 section. Bought a zippered pillowcase cover. Use wool wash and hot water. Ready to start. I will set a timer to check progress.

Question: Have any of you used a front loading washing machine to felt? Does it take longer?

Sure wish I had an old wringer washer or butter churn which might work for felting!

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!


Consuelo
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
582 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2011 :  12:25:39 PM  Show Profile Send Consuelo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have felted hundresds of things and I own two front loaders. It can be done but I don't prefer it at all. I much rather do it in a top loader.

Having gotten that off my ches :-D, let me tell you how I do it in the FL. IMHO, the key issue is figuring out when your specific machine will let you re-set the wash cycle. What I mean by that is that some front loaders will not let you re-set the wash cycle and in felting you want to stay in just the wash part of the cycle until your item is felted, sometimes 20, 30, 40 minutes. Also, you don't want to have your item go through the rinse and spin part of the cycle. Spin can create nasty creases in your item being felted and the rinse cycle because it is preceeded by a short spin right after the water is drained. Depending on what you're felting, the yarn you're using, the chemical composition of your water and the phase of the blankety blank moon (did we say felting is imprecise?!?!?) you may not get creases but my batting average is 3 out of 4 items will get creases which are hard to get out. The only way I know of getting them out is to stuff the item really tight and beat on the crease - I've used the back of a wooden spoon, my fist, even a mallet.

But I digress... So, you'll need to experiment to find out when you can stop and restart the wash cycle. For example, on one of my machines (it's a tiny one) I know it takes 36 minutes from the time it starts and goes through the longest of the wash cycles, drains and spins just a few seconds. I set the timer and let it rip. The I start the cycle over and I do this as many times as I need to get the degree of felting I want.

I love FLs for laundry, the are efficient and they clean well but they are a pain for felting. If I have several items to felt, I go to the laundromat or my sister's house where I can use a top loader. BTW, many laundromats are switching to toploaders for the same reasons people do at home so make sure you find out if they have them should you decide to do that.

Probably TMI. One more thing: I only use a tiny bit of detergent or shampoo in the first wash - its purpose is to help the wool hydrate, once it's wet you don't need to add any more which then allows you to get by without a rise.

Best of luck to you - it's tons of fun so it will be worth figuring this out!

Consuelo
"Travel is fatal to prejudice" Mark Twain
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Shalee
Permanent Resident

USA
2042 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2011 :  2:00:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shalee's Homepage Send Shalee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mine is a Neptune and there is a button I can push to stop the machine. The only problem with that is the door is locked for 3 minutes after you push the button - not doin anything, just locked. I can not control the amount of water, the machine decides that. I'm thinking of soaking the swatch, and finally the finished project, in very hot water for 15 minutes prior to the washing machine. I read that someplace.

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!


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kbshee
Permanent Resident

USA
4157 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2011 :  3:22:17 PM  Show Profile Send kbshee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I had a neptune and the one I have locks now too. It's not an issue. Things felt so much slower in a front loader that the risk of over felting is minimal.I added hot water (heated on the stove) during the cycle and also baking soda (don't know why, read it somewhere).

kim in oregon
http://kbshee.blogspot.com
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Shalee
Permanent Resident

USA
2042 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2011 :  6:33:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shalee's Homepage Send Shalee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
OK, will add baking soda.

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!


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neraksenrab
Chatty Knitter

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2011 :  01:07:50 AM  Show Profile Send neraksenrab a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Sharon
You could try felting with your dryer. Just dunk in ice water and then put it in the hottest cycle your dryer will go for 5 minutes. Check every 5-10 minutes. When you check, dunk in ice water again and roll in a towel to get out excess water. It seems to take anywhere from half an hour to an hour -- depending on the yarn, the dryer, the size of the felted object, etc. I do this and lots of my students also like felting this way since they say their front loaders don't agitate enough. Karen
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Kade1301
Permanent Resident

France
1438 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2011 :  03:56:31 AM  Show Profile  Visit Kade1301's Homepage Send Kade1301 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The few knitted bags and pot holders I've felted simply go in with the laundry (40 degrees, shorter cycle) - a cycle just for a few (or one!) felted items seems to me a terrible waste of water and energy. And who cares about the exact size of a potholder or bag? If I wanted precision I'd felt by hand (as I do for fulling yarn and woven cloth).

Bye, Klara

http://www.lahottee.info
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kkknitter
Seriously Hooked

698 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2011 :  05:35:19 AM  Show Profile Send kkknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Sharon, I have a German type front loader and had now problems using it for felting. Stick a pair of old washed out jeans in the machine to get enough agitation or a sneaker.

--kk

Flickr pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kkknitter/
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lella
Permanent Resident

9712 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2011 :  11:07:59 AM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When the slippers DD made for her Daddy last Christmas didn't felt well, I stopped giving my front loader a chance to mess things up. I have one of the older model of front loader, and it is a bear to felt in. So bad is it, in fact, that I'm going to buy a small washing machine recommended by a friend who felts, IF the next thing comes out all messed up. I do have a butter churn. Does that really work? Should I go Google it?

Lella

Zippiknits

Want to make Betty Happy? Help buy her some brand new shoes.
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Shalee
Permanent Resident

USA
2042 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2011 :  3:24:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shalee's Homepage Send Shalee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As to the butter churn, I don't know. It just seemed to me I'd get better agitation using one. That or a pot of hot water and my potato masher pounding it up and down!

My friend Donna said that she thought they had an old fashioned wringer washer. Whether it works or not - - who knows! I don't know where I'd put it, but I'd sure like one! I wonder if they ever made tiny ones.

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!


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kkknitter
Seriously Hooked

698 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2011 :  3:31:38 PM  Show Profile Send kkknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a German front-loader, and manage to felt fine. This is what I do:

1. I put the garment in with a very small amount of mild wool-friendly dish wash detergent or shampoo. The project goes in a net lingerie bag, and I add a pair of old washed-out jeans or a sneaker to help with the agitation.

2. I set the machine on gentle, hot, with no spin cycle. On my machine, that takes about 25 minutes.

3. When the cycle is done, I empty it (no spin) so I can open the door and check the garment.

4. Usually it need another cycle or two.

5. For small items I have gotten away with a low-speed spin without causing any creasing problems.

I hope this is helpful.

--kk

Flickr pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kkknitter/
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ellensatch@msn.com
Chatty Knitter

256 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2011 :  7:20:56 PM  Show Profile Send ellensatch@msn.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sigh, I live in an apartment building w/laundry in the basement w/front loaders that you cant turn on or off. Hand felting? I don't think so!
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ruthmel1
New Pal

United Kingdom
43 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2011 :  04:59:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit ruthmel1's Homepage Send ruthmel1 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've felted in my front loader. I have a 30 min and 60 min wash so I used the 40 min wash with a pair of jeans in it to agitate. I think I did 2 washes. Its fine

Black Cat Fibres
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5037783
http://soxandcinders.blogspot.com/
find me on Ravelry as Cinders
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crc532
New Pal

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2011 :  06:19:49 AM  Show Profile Send crc532 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The first time I felted in my front loader, I went to open the door to check on the progress and discovered my door would not open. I just stood at the washer with my hands on the window watching my bag go around and around until the water cooled down enough that the machine let me open the door! The bag was not as nice as I would have liked, but it was okay and my daughter still uses it. GOOD LUCK!

crc
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istuke
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2011 :  06:48:40 AM  Show Profile Send istuke a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a front loader and have been somewhat successful with felting in it, but not entirely. In addition, my zippered pillowcases often come undone - so I've had to secure them with safety pins. The process takes well over an hour of stopping and starting and it takes a lot of water to restart multiple loads.

There are times when my felting came out very creased even without using the spin cycle. And, there is always quite a bit of fiber in the washer even with the pillow case.

I also started to read horror stories about what was happening to some people's washers and drain systems from felting in the washer.

All this to say, I finally invested in a Wonder Washer (see Amazon). It's a portable "washing machine" - which is really a bucket on a giant "blender" base. I was very skeptical about it, but thought it was worth the risk. I really do love the results. It's very fast, and I can dump my water outside instead of sending all of that yarn fiber down the drain.

So, if you get into felting more than just once a year, think about it...
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marshafinney@ebby.com
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2011 :  07:09:12 AM  Show Profile Send marshafinney@ebby.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've texted my daughter in law to see what brand of washer she has. BUT, the important part is that she accidentally felted a hat I made my grandson. I made it last year and it had pom poms on top. It was thrown in a wash load of clothes and towels, I'm sure it had to be hot water, in a front loader. Boy, did it felt. The pom poms were tight little balls. It was totally felted in one cycle.
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CPAknit
Seriously Hooked

USA
738 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2011 :  07:32:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit CPAknit's Homepage Send CPAknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have successfully felted a pair of slippers in my front loader. But, I made a second pair and felted them in my daughter's top load in a lot less time with a better end result. I don't plan on using my FL again for felting.

Cindy
http://cpaknit.blogspot.com/
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my6cats
New Pal

35 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2011 :  07:45:49 AM  Show Profile Send my6cats a Private Message  Reply with Quote
my front loader felts with no problem .. which I learned the hard way by throwing a handknit shawl in with a load of wash by mistake :o( It's a Maytag and allows me to pause any time I want to open the door. Take a deep breath and give it a try.
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Shalee
Permanent Resident

USA
2042 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2011 :  01:02:31 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shalee's Homepage Send Shalee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I read istuke's message I checked the Wonder Washer out, at Amazon. I ordered it! I've got 2 swatches ready to felt and I'll wait the week it takes it to get here. I had forgotten this sort of thing existed and had only seen the Wonder WASH advertised before and wasn't thrilled with that one. This one will fit the bill and I can do my tiny loads in it also! OH! NYLONS - Yes! I hate hand washing knee highs!

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!


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claudiasawyer
New Pal

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2011 :  11:12:33 AM  Show Profile Send claudiasawyer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dear ladies, thank you for the information about Wonder washer. I go to my local laundramat that has TLs and usually do two cycles of small load-normal use hot water, add my son's old blue jeans and watch it like a hawk. I do not let it go through the second rinse spin cycle because of creases. have had good luck. But have noticed there is a lot of wool debris left in machine, which I then clean out.
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lella
Permanent Resident

9712 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2011 :  12:45:06 PM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Since DH and I spent a whole two days clearing drains on the laundry side of the house a few weeks ago, I will blame it on trying to felt in the washer, and ask for that little felting machine for my Birthday.

Istuke, that's the one, from Amazon. A friend felts using that machine. Thanks for finding it and posting about it.

Sharon, I once beat up a big red bag with a masher-like utensil while boiling it on the stove. What a job! hehe

Lella

Zippiknits

Want to make Betty Happy? Help buy her some brand new shoes.
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