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tangers40

what am i doing wrong?

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so i made up a test swatch for my first felting project and tossed it in the washer. it went at least 5 cycles (honestly, i stopped counting after a while lol!), but i still have some stitch definition. i prefer the no-stitches/piece of fabric look but i can't seem to get mine to go any further in the felting process.

 

i used stitch nation full o' sheep for the yarn, a G hook, and sc since my project will be in sc. went on hot wash cycle of the washer, with a bit of soap once and some baking soda another time. added some old jeans for agitation.

 

what else can i do, or is this as good as it gets? i'd consider it about 75% of the way to where i'd like it to be.

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What kind of washing machine are you using? I had just a regular top loading with the large agitator machine before....everything felted great. We bought a high efficiency machine, top loader, with hardly any agitator....now I can't get anything to felt like it used to. The new machine "rolls" the clothes not agitate back an forth like the old one. I just bought a Wonder Washer after reading reviews on Ravelry. Haven't tried it yet.

 

But as far as what you are doing....sounds like you are doing everything you should be doing.....anyone else?

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How hot does your water get? If you don't have really hot, hot water, try adding some boiling water to your wash cycle. The water has to be so hot you can hardly bear to put your hands in it.

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i have a super cheap top-load style washer. and i have no idea how hot the water in it really gets, but i definitely put gloves on before reaching in to fetch my swatch. but i'll try again tonight with some boiling water out of the kettle. who knows. this may be as good as my washer will get, too. i would probably be ok with living with my project at this stage, but i'd like to take it further if i can.

 

could it be a symptom of my water in general? i know we have ridiculously hard water here, with lots of TDS (lots of calcium, for example) and i know water chemistry affects felting, but to what degree and how will hard water change the process?

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I just went back to your original post, and I think I know what your problem may be. A "G" hook for felting? No way!--Not unless you are crocheting with lace-weight wool. Sc isn't the best stitch choice, either, although it can be used.

 

The thing is, when yarn felts, it shrinks and draws together. If your crocheted fabric is already dense, there just isn't room for the stitches to shrink, and they won't lose their definition as much. I usually use a J or K hook and hdc stitches when I want to felt. My items shrink a lot--up to 50%--and I usually have no stitch definition left at all, just felted fabric, very firm.

 

Not long ago, I did use sc for a felted project, and there is a lot of stitch definition left on that one. I was okay with it, but if you want less, I suggest crocheting with a much larger hook and using hdc. It's so fun to watch a floppy, shapeless item change into a crisp, felted finished object. Felt holds its shape wonderfully, too.

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ahhhhh, ty! i thought about that as well after my last post. i had read somewhere that looser is better, but thought i'd start with something i know well already. i'll try again with a big hook and some hdc and see how it goes.

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Somewhere I read that vinegar would also change the PH of water and help felt items better. I wash everything with vinegar anyway, so I don't know how my felting would turn out if it were left out of the wash.

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update (since i totally forgot, haha):

 

made up my bag and felted it. it's FAAAAAAAAAAR from perfect, but it's done and has been used twice now. lots of things i would/will do differently if i ever make a new one. but all in all, it's really not as bad as i was fearing it would be. ended up just using sc (didn't like the look of the hdc felt piece even more than i did the sc) with a big hook and felting with plain hot water.

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