Monday, November 22, 2010

Needle felt bear and trick for cleaning wool

Well, this is the latest addition to my felted furry family posing in front of some washed wool that will likely go into making more fuzzy friends . I will try and get a more scenic picture of him if the sun ever returns to MN .
.....and.....TaaDaa....this is my genius invention for washing wool when you don't have a washing machine to scour it . Submerged in the tub is about 3 pds of some Icelandic wool I bought in Hopkins a few weeks ago . It had very little VM but was very odoriferous . Icelandic has less lanolin then many other wools so I thought I would give washing it a try .

I began by cleaning the bathtub and then filled it with the hottest water we hot for hands I but didn't bother with a thermometer so not sure of actual temp .

I added some Dharma Synthropol and a little Original Dawn and mixed this about .

I them upended my wool bag onto some plastic screening that I bought at a garage's the kind that you would use for a screen door . Pores are large enough to let water through but small enough to keep the wool bits out of our drain . The size was about two feet larger then the top of the tub when it was submerged and I was lucky that it happened to be pre-cut to that size .

I then gathered the wool filled screen  like a ruck sack and slowly submerged it in the water . Having it compacted into the ruck sack shape helps keep it from agitating to much .

I held the sides of the plastic screening onto the top of the tub ledges with some shampoo bottles but magnets would also work well .

I let the whole thing simmer in tub for 30 min and then gatherd into ruck sack shape again and pressed the water out and while compacted (to avoid felting fibers before I'm ready to), rinsed it with my hand help shower head . I then refilled the tub with fresh water and soap . I did this 3X but basically you just want your last water to be clear and not brown .

After I thought it was clean enough, I again ruck sacked it= gathering in all edges, and rinsed with the hand held shower head and when finished squeezed out as much water as I could . I placed the bundle on a piece of fire place screen that I used as a display at a craft show but I really need to go to the garage and get out the other 2 sections so I can spread the wool out a bit more for drying . It's about 30 degrees out side right now, so that's not an option but I am considering putting a bit in the oven to see what happens and using a blow drier to experiment with drying it faster....mouldy wool does not sound pleasant .  Wish me luck .

Anyway, I wouldn't want to be doing this for a living but it is "doable" and modern technology....(running water, shower heads, plastic screening) make it bearable when you can't afford the fancy prewashed wool . I have to say it is much easier then trying to wash a cat.....(no claws) .

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  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your needle felted bear is really cute. Good luck with the wool - It takes a while to dry but if you have a spin cycle on your washing machine that doesn't agitate, you might try spinning it out in the washing machine in a lingerie type bag.

  2. Thanks Ruth, it did take a few days to dry fully . Washing machine would have helped but wasn't available that day but spin cycle is a big time saver after I soak my wet felting in vinegar to get soap out .



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