Experiment in Dryer Felting

I have been hearing about felting in your dryer all over the place.  I wouldn’t mind less time rolling my felt so I thought I better give it a try. I wanted to try some of the felt batts I made last week and wanted to try some designs for belt pouches. None of these have been ironed or blocked yet

I used batts for all of these. The orange(supposed to look like leather and does in person) one is merino I dyed and carded into a batt.  The pink is from last weeks carding of left overs. It is mostly merino with a little corriedale in it. The brown striped pouch and flat piece of felt are from last weeks left over carding as well but has a lot of different fibers with different micron counts, some dyed and some natural.

This one came out the best. It felted the most in the dryer.  It didn’t shrink much. It didn’t buckle it’s resist.

This one did the next best. The ropes attached well and it was felted but not as much as I would like.

These two were felted but not much.

For this experiment I decided to treat them all the same. I laid  the wool out around the resists, covered them with netting and rubbed them all the same. I then wrapped them around a damp towel then wrapped that in another towel and tied the bundle. I let it bump around in my dryer with no heat for 20 min then unrolled it, made sure the net wasn’t stuck and rolled them up from the other end.  I let it do another 20 min in the dryer. I took it back to my work table unwrapped them, cut out the resists and then rolled all of them 50 times  in both directions in my reed mat with a pool noodle in the middle. This was  to set the cut edge and felt them a little more.

I then fulled them as I  normally would, rinsed out all the soap and blocked them a little. I would say that over all it worked.  They are not felted enough for my liking and need more work.   The felt was not far enough along when it came out of the dryer. I normally wouldn’t has started fulling them when I did for this experiment but the idea was to eliminate the manual rolling.  I am not to happy with the pink pouch or the brown pieces. I am going to wet them again and roll them in my stick blind. Next week I will let you know how that went.

I think it definitely has potential. There are things that would make it better.  I think if the dryer didn’t have the fins in it that would be better. It would roll it more and thump(drop) it less. I see that some of the modern dryers don’t have fins.  I have plans for a roller that uses a big tube. Right now I am looking for a suitable tube. If I ever find one and get my hubby to make it I will definitely let you know.

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11 Responses to Experiment in Dryer Felting

  1. Lyn says:

    I can see the advantage of the dryer if you were working on lots of pieces at once! Good experiment.

    The rolling is definitely every felter’s hardest bit of the job. But rolling by hand does give more control over the end result because you can adjust as you go.

    Ann, I am wondering if the tube would work without the fins. The drum in a dryer turns quite slowly, and without the fins whatever was put onto the floor of the drum would maybe lift a few inches with the rotation before gravity slid it back to the lowest point in the drum.
    It might not even roll at all – just keep sliding back into place? With a fin to drag it almost up to the top of the drum, it will fall and therefore tumble.

    • Lyn I was thinking I would need to put something on the inside of the drum to give it some texture. I want it to roll not drop. It might be interesting to put removable fins in it to full after the rolling machine and any hand rolling is done. I can see it taking care of the majority of the rolling but not all.
      Ann

  2. Lyn says:

    Aaaah – I get it. My mind was kinda stuck on a smooth surface inside a tumbler size drum. But with a tube with a textured surface? Yes, you would get rolling. Brilliant idea.
    Can’t wait to see the prototype!

    Hey, perhaps you ought to patent the idea and start manufacturing them.

    • I got the idea from a lady in Australia who baught one and posted the picture. I beleave it was home made. I don’t think she ever got back to us about how it worked. I should go do a search for it.

  3. Karen says:

    Thats really great Ann, i had no idea you could get removable fins for your dryer, my dryer has just kicked the bucket ( heat wise) but it still spins, so i might just keep it for tumbling and have a go at this :)

    • I don’t think you can. I was thinking of the felt roller. Can’t you get a new heat coil for your drier. I had mine done once. If you are going to get a new on you might as well give it a try.

  4. thanks for that, I’ve been wondering how well it would work….did you end up with a lot of loose fiber in your lint trap?

  5. zedster66 says:

    Interesting! I’d never heard of felting in the dryer :)

  6. I didn’t get any loose fibers in the trap. it was well wrapped. Sometimes for bird houses at the end i blow up a balloon inside and let them tumbler with no heat for a while. It seems to tighten them up a bit. I do spin out most of the water when I do this. I don’t get much lint with that either. But they are pretty well finished by the time I put them in the dryer.

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