Felting A Purse: The Process

After reading through my books on how to felt in a washing machine, I decided to just do it. I tell ya, I had lots of pause moments. Lots of what if’s.

What if…..

  • water isn’t hot enough
  • fibers clog up the washing machine
  • purse falls apart
  • purse shrinks too much
  • purse shrinks not enough
  • no shrinkage happens AT ALL!!

Well, guess what? I worried for nothing.

The water was REALLY hot. And stayed hot enough for me to run the purse through three washing cycles. I didn’t trust that I would be at the machine right at the moment BEFORE it went into a spin (spinning is a no-no), so I stayed in the laundry room watching it like a hawk.

Instructions said to “look” at purse during the process. So… I stopped the wash cycle several times to look. The first time, I didn’t see any shrinkage at all. 😦 2nd time. A little. 3rd time. Now we were cooking with gas!! Yes!! Finally. The wool fibers were starting to tighten.

I didn’t need to worry at all about fibers clogging up the hose and drain. Since I put the purse in a zippered pillow case.

Here’s the amount of shrinkage. The outline shows the measurements before felting.

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Still drying. Stuffed with plastic bags, per the instructions.

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I LOVE IT!!!! It can stand up on its own.

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If you plan to felt anything in your washing machine, here’s a few things you need to know. Don’t allow the item to go through the spin cycle. Any folds or creases formed will be permanent. Always put the item inside of something to prevent wool fibers from clogging up your washing machine. Put a few other large items in there to assist with the agitation. I put in two pairs of old jeans and a huge dark towel.

Another suggestion: Try it first with an item you won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t turn out as expected. Not your dream project that you spent months making.

I used Patons Classic Wool that I got at Michaels for half price. Perfect for a 1st felting project.


Here’s the BEFORE picture. Colors are brown, dark navy-almost black, royal blue, turquoise and beige.

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Want To Learn To Crochet?

Then go for it. Don’t wait.

For my whole life, as far back as I can remember, I have wanted to learn to crochet. But I never tried it. Don’t know why. I just didn’t. Until a year ago. Now I find myself playing catch up. Crocheting day and night to make all the things I previously could only look at.

I have come a long way since the days of struggling with slip knots and chain stitches. To help me get to where I am today, I spent hours and hours READING about crocheting. The Terms. The Stitches. The Techniques. Tips from everybody everywhere. Each experienced crocheter has developed their own favorite ways of doing things. Try them, change them up to the way you like. Develop your own way. Don’t be afraid to change the pattern instructions. Rip it out if it doesn’t work and try again.

In addition to buying crochet pattern books, there’s thousands of free patterns on-line. Free patterns can also be found on the back of yarn labels. Do a search for crochet videos on-line. Many sites offer help on how to get started. Check YouTube. You can follow along with the instructor. And don’t forget your friends and family. Chances are you have expert advice within arms reach. Ask for help if you need it.

Oh, before I forget. One more thing. Classes. Check to see if your local craft stores offer crochet classes. I took one at JoAnn’s. I only learned the basics. How to hold the hook, make a slip knot, do single crochet stitch. By the time I signed up for this class, I was already crocheting scarves. I just wanted to validate what I was doing. That I was on the right track. And I was.

I am sure everyone is different as to what project you were working on when the “lightbulb” turned on and you finally GOT IT. For me it was granny squares and flowers. Working in the round. Once I figured out how to make petals, there was no turning back.

I have stacks of patterns printed out that I want to try. And hundreds more in books I purchased. Everything I see I want to try it. Right now, as you all know, I am investing lots of time working through the book 101 Crochet Squares by Jean Leinhauser. I am going to crochet every square in her book. Then my plan is to make different things from these squares. Pillows, purses, scarves, slippers (yep, there’s a pattern using granny squares), table runners, afghans, etc.

I am 65 years young and hope to have many more years to enjoy this wonderful craft.

So… if you want to learn to crochet, go buy a skein of yarn and a crochet hook. Start today. Don’t delay another second. The joy of seeing the beautiful things you can handcraft will be worth it.