From what I understand, its the quality of the felting wool that you used. Some are better than others and the stitches will disappear, whereas with some, after repeated washings the stitches are still visible. Unfortunately there isn't anything that I know of that you can do to change this. - I hope that helps.
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Thanks. Yes, I've noticed that different wools felt differently (I've felted a cashmire sweater 3 X and it is smaller, but still not very felted. So what happens if I cut a felted sweater that the stitches are still somewhat visible?
As I have learned, once a wool sweater is felted, it will not unravel if cut. I would hate to think that there is an exception to the rule, so I would try and cut a small inconspicuous area to see what happens before committing to any major cutting. Here's a "sample" guide of images I found online and laid out for you to demonstrate what felting looks like over the course of several wash cycles. Since I don't know what your material looks like (or its full composition), its difficult to say if we're discussing "apples to oranges"... Maybe the "visible stitching" isn't abnormal at all. Also, I don't know your knowledge of felting. There are many people who think the process of felting occurs from the water temperature and will put their wool under a gentle cycle, when agitation is the real creator of felting. The other major factor in the success of felting comes from the original stitches. If the sweater was tightly knitted or crocheted, there isn't much room for the fibers to bond and felt. If the stitching was done with larger needles, there is more room for the felting process to occur.Anyway, take a look at the images and let me know what you think.
Thank you so much for the images. I still see stitches on the last sample, but the contrast between before and after gives me a much better idea of what to strive for. I am new to felting, but do know that agitation is an important part of the process. I include several tennis balls with the sweaters when I wash them. The sweaters that I have been puzzling over are of a fine knit 100% merio wool. It makes sense to me when you say that if the knit is tight, there isn't a lot of room for felting. I'm going to try washing them again and see if there is additional change. Maybe a knit as fine as this can't felt any further.....we'll see. As for the stubborn cashmere sweater, other people say it will felt, so I'll keep trying. Thank you again for your patient and discriptive answer.
You're welcome. If you can... upload a photo of where you're at after your next wash cycle.
Right click image and open in a new window for a larger view (the website downsizes images....)