OK this is the fun part! I love the transformation from a nicely knitted or crochet item into a beautiful, thickly felted, very touchable, desirable object :-)
Gather your supplies:
Towels, Detergent, this can be any eco friendly wash or if you are using really special wool use wool wash or any pure soap flakes. Item to be felted and in this case because it is for my phone and I don't want to get my phone wet, a template of the size you need the finished product to end up.
It is also a good idea to put the item to be felted into a wash bag. Little bits of wool will 'pill' as you are felting and you don't want those to end up inside the machine.
An old sheet or an old pair of jeans to add into the machine with the item to be felted to help add friction during the agitation. I am using an old sheet.
My template is made from cardboard, anything that will stand up to a bit of damp will do....
Item to be felted (the phone cosy), put into a wash bag and an old sheet for friction, all added into the machine.
Washing machine.....now here is the crunch part. It must be a machine that you can stop in mid cycle and re-program back to the wash cycle. Mine is a top loader with the old fashioned 'twisty knob' dial so it can be stopped anywhere in the cycle and restarted without any complications. A front loader will not work unless you want water all over the floor!
Fill the machine on its lowest setting with HOT water.
Add about a teaspoon of detergent or soap flakes, you don't need much, it is just to make it a bit slippery.....not bubbles all over the laundry :-)
Pop in the item to be felted in its wash bag and the old sheet or jeans and start the washing cycle onto fast agitation if the machine does that, if not any wash cycle will do. You want to simulate the rubbing part of the felting process.
Wash for 5 minutes and then stop the machine, carefully get out your washbag (that water is hot so tongs will help) and check to see if the felting process has started.
This photo is after 5 minutes. The wool feels soft and 'relaxed' not firm like it is when you have finished crocheting it. Heat and friction make the felt.
Put it back into the machine and continue the wash cycle.
From here on in you need to check about every 2 or 3 minutes as all wool felts at a different rate. Some fast and some slow.
This is after another 5 minutes. I have my template close by to help check for the right size.
These photos show how my phone cosy seemed to be felting more widthways and not lengthways, the one I did the other day was the opposite and it was the same brand of wool so you just can't predict how it is going to go. I have stretched the phone cosy back out width-wise a few times to help it felt more evenly.
Wool is fairly malleable so you can give it a good pull and stretch it back to the original shape if you feel it is not felting how you would like it to....That is one of the beautiful things about wool!
When you have it to the size you want or it won't felt any more, my phone cosy took about 25 minutes, you need to stop the felting process and take the wool back to its natural PH state.
Fill the sink with some lukewarm water,
add a dash of white vinegar ( this neutralises the wool ) and rinse well.
OK there you have it.....a felted phone cosy. It needs to be put in a warm, dry place to dry out.
Wrap it in a towel to absorb the moisture and change regularly. An airing cupboard is perfect if you have one. It has been really humid up here in the tropics so my cosy was still damp this evening after days of drying on the front porch. I ended up putting the oven on very LOW and my cosy on a tray lined with a towel and leaving it in the oven with the door open for a few hours. If you do this don't leave it unatteded as wool does BURN.....I know from experience!!
Now you know how to felt in the machine the possibilities are endless! Enjoy :-)
Anyone want me to continue the tutorial with the needle felting for embelishment???