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View Full Version : Wonderwash and felting...


mulene
04-27-2006, 06:02 PM
OK so here's a little question for you experienced felters...

So I'm from the UK and we don't generally have top loading washing machines. We have ones that "lock" during the cycle and load from the front. It IS possible to stop a cycle part way through, turn the knob to 0 to unlock the door (with a 5 minute wait after it is at 0 and some even don't unlock until the machine is drained). Then you risk the water going everywhere if the machine does not have an economy option to use half the water.

I want to try clogs. Not just yet, but soon. They look fabulous. However, I'd have to use my mothers washing machine, since my own one is broken and awaiting on an engineer (read that as family friend who promised to do it and every time I say "it's ok I'll pay a man to come in and do it" they become offended and promise they will do it but still don't!).

I looked out the window from work today, at a second hand furniture store over the road and outside was a portable spin dryer - the kind my mother used to use before washing machines were freely available (and not vastly expensive). Having had a chat with her today, I asked her would such a machine have done the washing too or was it just a spin drier. She told me the one she had was just a drier, but that there were ones that washed too.

The one at the furniture store is a drier only. Anyway, during the conversation she said "you know I saw someone recently with a portable washing thing, it was pretty cheap why don't you consider one of those"

So, I did some searching on the web and lo! I found something I've seen before - seen it advertised in newspapers here for sale but never looked into it.

Anyway The wonder washer (http://www.laundry-alternative.com/wonderwash.htm) is what I found. I also found a review of it, that explains how it actually works here (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/07/qa_electricity.php)

Ok so now to my question, do you think such a contraption could be used to felt items?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts / comments on this one!

IrishBaby
04-27-2006, 06:14 PM
You need three things for felting: temperature change, agitation, and soap. Will this device allow you agitate the wool?

FWIW, hand felting is actually quite easy. All you need are some rubber gloves, a pot of hot water (hot as you can stand to put your hands in), and ice water. You dunk your knit items in the hot water, get them all soapy and hot, and start scrubbing the fabric against itself, like you were trying to work out a stain.

Then plunge it into the cold water and scrub some more, plunge it into the hot water and scrub, back and forth, until the item is sufficiently felted. It gives more controlled results than a washing machine, uses less water, and doesn't take much time, and just uses a little elbow grease. Nothing fancy needed!

mulene
04-27-2006, 06:23 PM
hrm well the temp change is easy enough.. open it up and take the thing out and run it into a cold sink... as for the agitation, well.. you turn the handle, which I assume agitates the item. If I were to put something else in with it I'm wondering if that would work.

I had read that hand felting takes much longer - the plan I have in mind is clogs as christmas gifts for my colleages. I need to have the time to make a total of 10 clogs, and felt them all. I guess I'm looking for something a bit less labourious than hand felting but my concerns are over the front loading washing machine.

IrishBaby
04-27-2006, 06:32 PM
I don't know if changing the water repeatedly in that contraption and turning the handle will be less laborious or not. :) (I guess that's for you to decide.) Also keep in mind that felted clogs are best when custom fitted (meaning put on when a bit damp), as it's VERY hard to get them to felt to an exact size. :)

rebecca
04-27-2006, 06:51 PM
I would advise you to chat with KK or Hilde or one of the guys that did so many clogs for this past Christmas...they should be able to give u some more insight ;)

mulene
04-27-2006, 06:58 PM
hrm there is also this mini washer (http://www.towsure.com/product.asp?p=3987) which runs on the mains and has an easy empty hose ;)

Edit: Thanks Rebecca =D *hopes Hilde and KK see this and reply* =D

mulene
04-27-2006, 07:00 PM
I don't know if changing the water repeatedly in that contraption and turning the handle will be less laborious or not. :) (I guess that's for you to decide.) Also keep in mind that felted clogs are best when custom fitted (meaning put on when a bit damp), as it's VERY hard to get them to felt to an exact size. :)

I'm not sure about the repeated water changed either. Hrm so I shouldn't do clogs then for colleagues - there's no chance to custom fit them and it would spoil the surprise :P

Debbie
04-28-2006, 07:28 AM
It is really fun to give items that will need felting for gifts. When I gave unfelted (VERY LARGE) hats at Christmas was fun to see faces and know they were TRYING to think of something nice to say ... then I showed a felted hat :) The relief on their faces ....

Miss Kittie
04-28-2006, 12:41 PM
I have a front load washer that locks. When I shut the washer off I can open the door to see how the felting is doing. But I can't open it if it's in the spin cycle even if I shut it off... I have to catch it when it is still in the wash mode..

mulene
04-28-2006, 01:42 PM
I have a front load washer that locks. When I shut the washer off I can open the door to see how the felting is doing. But I can't open it if it's in the spin cycle even if I shut it off... I have to catch it when it is still in the wash mode..

Yep my own works like this too, but.. its broken!

My mothers works slightly differently, the locking mechanism locks the door while the water is still in there, so you have to switch it off, turn to the drain cycle and drain the machine, then put it to zero. It then keeps the door locked for a bit longer and you have to wait till it 'clicks' before you can open it - this can be up to 5 minutes after the dial is set to zero.

I considered the wonderwash as a cheap alternative to having no washing machine, and getting around having to go to my mothers whenever I want to felt someting. I adore my mother but a quick trip to felt something would likely turn into an entire weekend of me doing little jobs around the place for her (including a 5 hour supermarket trip - yes I'm serious she can easily spend 5 hours in the supermarket).

Anyway, I checked the furniture store over the road from work and the thing they had that I could see from my windoe was a spin drier only. However what they DID have, stuck to one side was this little table top washing machine made by Tefal. It was super cheap (10 - which is roughly $15) and everything was intact

You have to attach it to a tap with hot water runinng and it will fill from that. Then you switch the tap to cold and it will fill from that for rinse. Here's a link to one for sale on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7613019949&ssPageName=ADME:B:ONA:UK:11

I thought I could give this a go. If it's useless then at least I've not expended vast amounts of cash. In addition if this works, it might be useful for me to wash a few things in at home instead of having to either go to my mothers or pay someone near the office to do my laundry for me ;)

I now have to knit up a swatch in pure wool and test it out =D I'll post my results when I've sorted it!

The idea of giving unfelted items as gifts sounds like a good idea! I do also want to make clogs for myself and a host of other felted items!

Anniknits
04-29-2006, 07:09 AM
I live in England too and was worried about felting in English machines as all hte websites I'd looked at were American ones. in the end I just chucked the bag in the machine on a normal wash, full cycle, and it was fine. Just doing some more experimenting now. Apparently you may need to wash things more than once for the desired felting effect. Get the wool you want to use, make a swatch or a trial item, chuck it in the wash and see how it comes out before you complete a full project. Good luck. :XX:

mulene
04-29-2006, 08:34 AM
Thanks Anni! I wanted to try this out today, but alas I'm laid up with a bad leg and unable to do much except use the laptop and knit!