Well, here is the finished bag. It's not bad, but not great! It looks unevenly felted to me, and the stitch definition is still slightly there - not ideal for knitted felting!
So....what did I learn from this second attempt?
- Use a mesh lingerie bag - not a pillowcase bag. Not sure where all the loose fibers went - it may have been yarn that didn't emit lots of fuzz - but there was none in the pillowcase as I transferred the piece to the mesh bag. And it could be that the pillowcase works fine and I just didn't give it enough time.
- Do NOT use tennis balls with holes. I haven't tried un-holey tennis balls, but the ones I used threw out their rubber innards in tiny, little pieces. Those tiny pieces of rubber infiltrated the wool and had to be picked out painstakingly! I did end up using two hard dog toy balls, each with two large holes in them. I think this worked!
- Add only about 3 drops of soap. I used Woolite, but I've heard that just about any detergent will work. There is soap designated for felting, but it's not necessary!
- Use HOT water. I added some almost-boiling water that had been microwaved. The water level should be no more than 3 inches above the item being felted. Too much water will not work!
- Check the process every 5 minutes or so. Be sure the wool is not felting to itself. If it is, pull it apart right away. You do NOT want what is supposed to be a bag or slippers or whatever to be felted together. I haven't looked yet into some type of resist to prevent this.
- Check too to see how evenly (or unevenly) the piece is felting. Smooth out and vigorously rub areas that seem NOT to be felting as fast. I did a bit of final rubbing by hand to try to even out and smooth the piece.
- I didn't do this with this piece, but I ironed the first one after it was finished, because it seemed so uneven. Pull the piece into shape.
- Placed in a towel on the floor and stomp all over it to remove the water. I do not rinse my felted pieces.
The experiments continue! I'm still looking for a seamless way to do this type of felting that I LOVE(d) - pun intended! Too bad it takes so long to knit something to try all over again. I will not give up, but I am mourning still the loss of my old, trusty washing machine. And I WILL post additional tips as I continue to try to produce a bag that somewhat resembles the results from my older washer.
Here again is my Ode to Wonder Washer!
Ode to Wonder Washer
Wonder Washer is its name
Felting in it - not the same.
Give me back my old machine.
Felting magic, clothes get clean.
This contraption is a hoot!
Sloshes, churns, and gives a scoot.
The finished bag, uneven and creased.
Came out OK, and so I ceased.
My motto stands: Nothing is simple!
Not a crime if there's a wrinkle.
A simple bag, once distressed,
Now is dressed:
Nuno, knit, and needle blessed.
3-felt bags are my goal.
Process/product is a whole.
Oh, PLEASE help me get a life
Reduce the stress for far less strife.
Wonder Washer is its name!
Felting in it - not the same!
But I prevailed and so I stand
A fan of this amusing brand!