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October 4th, 2011 at 00:57 am

Tiplet: Felting & KoolAid Dye

It is always amazing how one discussion leads to another. What started in Crochet Partners as a request for suggestion on wool for a toddler hat, evolved into some great comments on felting.

One of the best was a very basic summary of how to felt, by machine.

And I thank Marty for reminding me of a Tiplet I wanted to share during the last felting discussion.

It is one of those things you pick up when you come at something from a different direction.

So many new people have come to felting by way of Knit or Crochet – that they may have never really learned the basics the way a traditional felter, spinner or weaver does.

I have never quite understood why so many people seem to need to do multiple “washing” – in fsct almost every set of directions you read relating to felting Knit or Crochet, seems to mention multiple runs thru their machine.

So WHY is that not the case for me ?!*? Well, sometimes literally is something in the water, but that effects dying and bread rising more often than not.

So in that “semi conscious” time of the morning, I suddenly realized that what was missing from most if not all of the commonly available instructions for “Machine Felting” of Knot or Crochet (or wovens for that matter) as PRE-Soaking –

Both Felting and Kool-Aid Dyeing require you to presoak, in lukewarm is best, for at least 30 minutes. This helps to get all the fibers possible “opened” and thus more likely to felt or accept the dye.

For felting, my usual method is to fill a bucket with warm to almost hot water in the slop sink next to the washing machine about 1/2 full. Give it a squirt of my “ivory soap” liquid, stir and then use a long dowel or wooden spoon to gently submerge the item. I “weight it” to it stay under water with a heavy dinner plate.

If it won’t stay down, Jaquie Carey’s acrylic covered Kumihimo bobbins add weight to the plate and since they are completely covered in a relatively non-reactive coating (as may be some others).

After about 10 minutes, with the plate still in place, Add a tea kettle of hot water – pour it slowing over the plate so that you are not hitting the fibers directly with the changed temperature.

When the water reaches room temp, the fibers should be nice and open and you are ready to add it to the wash, draining option. We have an unfinished floor with the drain located near the slop sink, so no matter if it gets a bit sloppy. I like to add a sneaker or two to help with the agitation part of the process.

Wash on Hot, Rinse on Cold and you get your temperature change. Some advise to check on the piece from time to time, but admittedly I do not. Instead I am careful to be there when the spin ends so I can remove and shape the project before putting it into the dryer. That is when I do check it about every 15 minutes – shaping if needed, until dry.

Pre-Soaking KA – Mix the Kool-Aid into rather warm water, add the yarn or fibers (again making sure they are submerged, same tricks but usually smaller plate will work.) Soak for about 15-30 minutes until water cools. Now follow whatever felting works best for you.

Here is the link to the first of my Kool-Aid articles or use the Kool-Aid Category.

Enjoy The Making


  • 1

    You’re absolutely right! I’ve never seen any mention – online or on paper – about pre-soaking before trying to felt anything. Thank you for the very useful bit of info.

    Jessica-Jean on October 6th, 2011
  • 2

    […] Wheat Wrote What?! shared some basics of felting and what it’s all about. […]


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