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soap is crucial; must remove natural emollients or the scales on the fibers won't be activated. I mean sheep go out in the rain, but they never have felted pelts. the prior comment that the fabric needs to be only half wool is misleading; the wool will full, but the other fibers will not. For some artsy effects, this may be pleasing, but if you're looking to make felt, I believe you will be disappointed. 80% is the minimum animal wool fiber most "experts" and my own experience suggest. Also, it depends what the other fibers are. Silk or sme kinds of poly are acceptable to me, but my experience nylon and acrylic are rough and unsightly. So, I wouldn't bother with these blends except maybe housewares that aren't seen up close, like a throw rug. Sheep's is best, but alpaca, and related animals, goat, bison and other wools also work. These "alternative" fibers may never thicken and shrink to the same extent as sheep's wool, but they will mat and form a more-or-less solid fabric. Beware fibers with a lot of guard hairs like angora: Hair does not full -- rasta dreadlocks notwithstanding. I separate pieces of the garment before fulling; or the pieces might full to each other. If your sweater is factory made -- the pieces are cut and serged together -- you may need to baste the cut edges, if they're loosely knit or for some reason you need every cm of fabric. Handknits will be sewn together and the pieces will have solid edges. Hint: put something in with the sweater to agitate it. I keep worn-out Keds just for this purpose. Hope this helps.
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Posted:Aug 29, 2009
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