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Felting in Front Loading Washing Machine
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May 31, 2013 08:29:05   #
Directions I have read for felting wool in a washing machine specify a top loading machine. Can you felt in a front loading machine?
May 31, 2013 08:30:58   #
taborhills (a regular here)
May 31, 2013 08:33:28   #
Great. I didn't want to have to go to a laundromat.
May 31, 2013 08:49:17   #
Ideally you want to be able to open the washer to check your item from time to time. If I did a lot of felting I would probably buy one of those small tabletop washers. I find that the newer top loading machines do not agitate enough for me for takes FOREVER. I don't have space to keep an older style washer just for felting. You can felt by hand. I would be curious how a front loader works for felting.

Also the fiber you are felting plays a role as some wools/fibers felt more easily than others.
May 31, 2013 09:11:35   #
dachsmom (a regular here)
Front loaders will felt,eventually. Put it in with a pair of jeans and be ready to takes a while, at least in mine.
May 31, 2013 10:26:55   #
I agree with Dachsmom. I have felted in my front load machine using a pair of old jeans I keep around for that reason. Be sure to keep an eye on it the first time you felt In the front loader so that you can get an idea how long it takes in your particular machine.
May 31, 2013 10:32:39   #
taborhills (a regular here)
In olden days before washing machines, they felted. So how? I wonder if one could not put the fabric into a big pot of hot water and gently massage with a large stick or spoon -- or toilet bowl plunger (new).
May 31, 2013 11:14:30   #
I tried the big pot of hot water and used a new plunger to agitate.....took forever. Got the s***s with it and used thick gloves and really hot water, and got in there and gave it a hard time, and got almost instant results. Found the plunger to be way too much effort for no return.
May 31, 2013 15:47:44   #
taborhills (a regular here)
What is "S***s" ???
Jun 1, 2013 07:17:47   #
taborhills wrote:
What is "S***s" ???

I don't think we want to know this as it is usually a bad word that person uses.....
Jun 1, 2013 07:25:23   #
I use my front loader (Maytag "Neptune" ), using hottest water, heaviest dirt cycle. I put the item in a zippered bag and instead of jeans, I put in a couple of hard rubber dog chew toys (pictured) that I keep clean on the shelf over the machine for just this purpose. No dog spit allowed LOL. It makes a lot of noise with the toys thumping around in there, but that beats the daylights out of the wool and felts it quite evenly.

In ancient times, felting was done using boiling water and BEATING the fabric.

Jun 1, 2013 07:31:58   #
I design felted hats and have to check the progress often because fit is very important. Though I have a top loading machine, I found the small, counter top washer to work not only better but more efficiently. The felting process goes a bit faster and is easier to control.

The "Wonder Washer", electric model, no plumbing is not expensive and saves on both hot water AND electricity. If you do a bit of felting or need a "controlled felt", I highly recommend investing in one.
Jun 1, 2013 10:31:37   #
I just felted my first bag 4 days ago in my front loader LG machine. It went through 2 times in hot water.....the entire cycle and it was perfect. No dents. I had old towels in there with it and a few tennis balls. Then I packed it with dry towels to dry outside. Love it. Oh I used about 1 tbsp of laundry detergent also. I read this in a felting book as well this week. Go for it is what I say.........that's the only way to learn.
Jun 1, 2013 11:23:34   #
I have done a lot of felting and I think that felting "by hand" is MUCH easier than trying to felt in my front-loader. It's just too hard to stop it mid-cycle to check the progress and if you let it go too long you can end up ruining your project (although I have had the odd item turn out's a game of chance!). I'd go to the laundromat (if I had one nearby), if I didn't want to hand felt.

I use the "shake it" technique that someone here on KP described...a large plastic jug with a screw-on top, a few small, smooth "river rock" type stones, a few drops of detergent and the hottest water that can come out of the tap. Add your item and shake, shake, shake (it's also a great workout!). My plastic jug is clear so it's easy to check the progress of the felting. When I stop to open the jug to check progress, I dunk the item into a bowl of ice water, squeeze out the excess water & put it back in the jug with new hot water. The ice water helps speed up the felting.

I've also used my mother's old washboard to felt and that works well, too, especially for small items (felted flowers, for instance) or anything where you want to be able to keep a close eye on the item. I use rubber "dishwashing" gloves when I use the washboard. I was thinking that the washboard would be the ideal way to felt something with beads so I could prevent the beads from breaking during the felting process.

Good luck! Felting is a lot of fun. :)
Jun 1, 2013 11:36:12   #
Designer1234 (a regular here)
dachsmom wrote:
Front loaders will felt,eventually. Put it in with a pair of jeans and be ready to takes a while, at least in mine.

Another suggestion is to put a couple of tennis balls in with the jeans and the project to be felted. I would be leery of trying a front loading machine but others have said it can be done. good luck
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