making boiled wool from old wool sweaters

Making things, reuse tips and tricks of all sorts.

making boiled wool from old wool sweaters

New postby justmeagain on Fri 17 Feb 2006 21:09

I am wondering if anyone has had any luck shrinking old wool sweaters to make boiled wool fabric and then using the fabric to make hats, mittens, etc...? I recently tried this and have not had any luck. I bought a used sweater from a thrift store, threw it in the washing machine on hot, then put it in the dryer on hot and thought it should shrink nice and tight. The sweater was oversized for me and I was hoping to shrink it down to my size.

I did this process a second time and it perhaps shrunk a bit, but not really noticeable. So, do I need to set up a large pot on the stove and truly emerse the sweater in boiling water? The sweater is 85% wool and 15% nylon. My guess is the yarn used to make the sweater is not great quality based on the brand name of the sweater. But shouldn't this shrink more? Last winter I accidentally shrunk one of my wool sweaters and achieved the effect that I can't seem to acheive now. My wife, by the way, loves last year's shrunken sweater as it is nice and thick and warm and fits her perfectly.

I also thought I could also use the shrunken fabric for other sewing projects. I got this idea last weekend. I had my girl scout troop out for a weekend and one of the projects was making polar fleece headbands which the girls blanket-stitched together with yarn. The idea came to me that we could use shrunken wool as well. I just can't seem to get the desired effect on the wool.

Making the headbands was an amazingly popular activity. The girls really took to it. I'd now like to show them how to do this with an old wool sweater and use that fabric for various other projects.

The girls also enjoyed trying to light dryer lint with a Swedish fire steel. It's fun to see them excited with these projects.
justmeagain
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 12 Oct 2004 19:41

New postby Jilly on Fri 17 Feb 2006 21:28

Maybe you could look up some info on feltmaking....
Jilly
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 27 Sep 2005 19:54

New postby MoccasinMan on Tue 21 Feb 2006 02:59

firstly, the nylon was added to the sweater to prevent shrinking. secondly, the process of feltmaking is very simple and not taken to the extreme of felt may be what you are looking for. soat the wool in hot water then plunge into cold water. repeat until the fibers start to stick together. hitting it and rolling the fabric might help some. soap in the hot water also helps.
MoccasinMan
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 25 Feb 2004 02:17

New postby justmeagain on Tue 21 Feb 2006 18:38

I did do some research on the web and I found was wash it on hot, throw it in the dryer and presto - boiled wool. I think I'm going to get more agressive with this and actually set up a pot on the stove. I'm also going to experiment with different sweaters as I find suitable ones in thrift stores.
justmeagain
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 12 Oct 2004 19:41

New postby MoccasinMan on Wed 22 Feb 2006 00:18

Go for one that is 100% wool. The nylon will prevent you from getting too far with this.
MoccasinMan
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 25 Feb 2004 02:17

New postby mcniac on Thu 23 Feb 2006 20:07

intresting, now, where did i put those old sweaters...

Esteban
mcniac
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri 19 Dec 2003 18:49

New postby Brasilikilt on Fri 24 Feb 2006 05:41

I've read that Maine lobstermen would commonly boil their wool mittens in their big lobster pots in order to make their mittens warmer and more water resistant.
I also think that this only works with 100% wool and not so much anything with synthetics
Brasilikilt
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 30 Dec 2003 14:08

New postby justmeagain on Fri 24 Feb 2006 15:01

Yesterday I picked up two 100% Merino wool sweaters at a thrift store and I'm going to give them a hot wash and dry this weekend. The merino wool sweaters are thinner than what I have in mind, but will work for an experiment. I'm hoping to hit upon something at a thrift store in 100%, really thick wool and try that. In shopping malls here before Christmas there are kiosks which sell heavy wool sweaters from South America. Shrinking one of these would be perfect.
justmeagain
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 12 Oct 2004 19:41

New postby rainsbury on Sat 25 Feb 2006 07:59

Please forgive my ignorance but why would you want to boil wool?

After years of being told by my mother and washing machine manufacturers that wool needs to be washed on the "Woolen Cycle" ie almost tepid, this seems some what odd!

(But I am getting used to that round here and I KNOW that you will have a good reason for it)

:confused:
rainsbury
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Sun 19 Feb 2006 02:31

New postby justmeagain on Tue 28 Feb 2006 15:11

Boiling wool will shrink the fibers such that they become very tight and dense. The garment becomes almost windproof and will shed a great deal of moisture. You can buy boiled wool mittens and gloves yet today. http://www.ortovox.com/typo7/index.php?id=63&L=1

In the 1970's an Austrian firm named Dachstein made wool sweaters from boiled wool. I saw one recently on ebay, but it was too small for me.

In any event, I did find the South American style sweater in a thrift store on Friday and tried to shrink it over the weekend with minimal luck. I think I'm going to actually try to shrink it in an actual pot of boiling water on the stove and see what happens.

If I shrink it beyond what I can wear, I can cut the sweater apart and make mittens, hats, etc. from the rest.

I once saw a woman who loosely knitted greatly oversized mittens (about 2 feet long) and then boiled them down to regular size and the results were amazing. She teaches classes in this, but I have yet to find the time to attend.

I'll keep you posted if I have any success.
justmeagain
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Tue 12 Oct 2004 19:41

Re: making boiled wool from old wool sweaters

New postby galew on Thu 11 Sep 2008 15:15

Start with a "p" coat and you are already there for the tight wool or a 100% wool army blanket
galew
 
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed 10 Sep 2008 17:39


Return to Do it yourself



cron