Category Archives: Uncategorized

Teresa’s Tips – Felting and Felt

I know you’ve done it.  If not, some man in your household has done it for you.  That special sweater that is supposed to be dryed flat…. now fits a toddler.  So how and why does wool shrink when dryed?

First of all, the wool did not shrink.  It has however changed shape and may or maynot ever be the same again. 
Secondly, many people think it is the heat of the dryer that caused the damage.  This is not true.  When wool is dyed it is brought to near boiling temperatures, yet does not ‘shrink’ or felt at all. 

So what does happen and why?

Take a look at these wool fibers up close.  See the scales on them? 

When wool is wet and agitated, these scales begin to connect together and interlock.  The more they are agitated, the more tangled and locked they become until they are densely felted.  Your sweater has an even great tendency to felt because heat and detergent cause the scales to open more readily.  Plus the knit of the sweater gives the wool a ‘head start’ on the tangling process.

But what about needle felting?  The wool is dry for that and yet it still felts. 

With needle felting, the effect is the same, but the cause is different.  A specially designed felting needle is used.  At the tip of the needle are very tiny barbs, or scales.  These barbs lift the edge of the wool scales, allowing them to interlock and the felting action to take place.

Can felting be ‘un felted’. 
I’ve never tried to unfelt something that is firmly felted, but since what has happened is a tangling and interlocking of the wool, some gentle tugging and maybe even a mist of fabric softner could help your unintentionally felted object.  But a fully felted object is pretty permanantly changed.

Oh!  And be careful with those needles!  They are sharp!


Knitting For The Troops

My church knitting group is going to knit helmet liners for the troops serving in the war. I am very excited about this since my son-in-law is in Afghanistan at this moment. I want him to have everything he needs, and of course the very best of what he needs.

I was given a pattern and looked it over. It was a poor copy so I got online and tried to find a good pdf to download so that I could have a nice clean copy to pass along to others as well. What I found was a lot of frustration.
The pattern I was given had outdated information. Based on feedback from the troops, they are no longer accepting the crocheted version of the helmet liner, which is what I had planned to make. They also no longer want the olive drab color as it doesn’t work with the dessert uniforms. Online, The majority of the links went to a geocities site that is no longer in service.
So I thought I would share the info I have and hopefully save you some time and effort and make sure that the troops are getting what they need.

First – Citizen Sam is the best website to use!! There are patterns and pictures availalble for all the project that are currently being worked on. This is also where you will mail your finished projects.

Please note that only 100% wool yarn can be used!!  This can be any animal wool – sheep, llama, alpaca, cashmere, etc… But it should be soft as it will be right against the soldiers face.   I know it is tempting to use cheap yarn since you are doing this for charity, but please remember that these men are giving their best.  Let’s give them ours.  Acrylic yarn can melt to their face in a bad situation.  Wool is naturally flame retardent.

I personally am using Shepherd’s Wool Brand yarn.  It is 100% merino wool and is made in the USA.  It is very very soft and easy to work with.  These are the approved colors that are available.

To help get more of the very best to the troops, I am offering a discounted package.  It includes 2 skeins of approved colored Shepherd’s Wool yarn and the patterns from the Citizen Sam website.  These are large, 250 yard skeins and it should be just enough to make 2 helmet liners and 1 neck gator. 

To take advantagle of this special offer, here – for Etsy.

or Here – for my new eCrater store –

September Weekend Shopping Extravaganza sponsored by Team ESST

It is time again for a TEAM ESST Weekend Shopping Extravaganza!  Time to save money and start stocking up for Christmas.

Team ESST is Etsy’s premier Supply Team.  For all the info, visit the Team ESST blog!

You can join in the sale by posting your offers here:

2009 – The International Year of Natural Fibers

Yarn 2 Spin strives to provide quality fibers to textile artisans.   Spinners, Weavers, Knitters, Felters and Crocheters can all find unique fibers to feed their creativity.  95% of the fibers we sell are natural fibers.  We strive to obtain products that are grown and processed with environmentally responsible methods.  Visit the online store to see what we have:   Yarn 2 Spin Store

We are very excited that the UN has declared 2009 as The Year of The Natural Fiber.  This video will show the production and uses of natural fibers around the world and how the industry is changing to meet the demands of today’s market.

May Shopping Extravaganza

I’m interupting the Yarn Making series for an incredible opportunity!

Hundreds of Handmade and Vintage online stores are having a Shopping Extravaganza! There are too many sales and special offers to list here. For a list of shops and notices of sales and specials visit:

If you have an Etsy Shop and want to join in the fun… feel free to post your own sale.

Why shop the retail chains and get a ho hum product when Etsy is overflowing with talented artisans with unique and quality items for you home, family and life.

The Making of Yarn! Part II

Sorry it has been a few days….  Life does get busy… especially with all my bunnies hoping around.

Part II

After the sheep is shorn and the fleece is skirted, it is generally washed.  Some spinners to spin “in the grease”, but that is a specialty that we won’t get to for now. 

Washing a fleece correctly is important to remove the lanolin and vegetable matter and … uh hummm, other ‘stuff’ that may be stuck in the wool.   After all, wool is a natural product.  The trick is to clean the fiber without felting or damaging the wool. 

You want to try it on your own?  Here is one way… There are several.

Tub Washing

1.  Fill a large tub, basin or bucket with very hot water.  Add 1 cup of detergent.  I use dish detergent.

2. Submerge your fleece in the water.  Do NOT agitate!  Just let it soak for about 45 minutes.

3.  Lift the fleece out of the water and set aside.

4.  Repeat steps 1 and 2. 

5.  Sort the fibers that are clean enough to dry and those that need to go through steps 1 and 2 again.

6.  Before drying…  Fill  your tub one more time with Hot water and about 1 cup of white vinegar and let soak for 30 minutes.

7.  Now remove your fiber, gently squeezing out extra water and lay flat to dry.  I dry mine on the trampoline… but a towel or sheet works fine too.

You can do the above in your washing machine… but be careful not to let it it agitate.  I have found that the lanolin is really not very good for my machine… so now I use a tub.

It is fun to wash your own fleece, but if you want to get to the next step faster, you may want to send it out to be done.  Here are some links to some of the mills I know of.