I'm on a mission this month to try to reduce the environmental impacts of the way I normally felt my knitted items. In the past, I've chucked these things in my front loading washer without care - often running through multiple cycles - always using the hottest water cycle. As someone who is interested in reducing impacts associated with my knitting - ahem....this really isn't the most responsible way to go. But I love felting. So I'm conducting some experiments to see if I can reduce the amount of water (hot water) used in my felting process.
Test 1 - Felting in the salad spinner. Got this idea from a forum post on Ravelry. There are amazing felting and technique threads on Ravelry. Knit two swatches in knit picks wool of the andes worsted (single strand). Spinning in the salad spinner with two cups water and a squirt of soap did not cause any felting action. I even added some plastic golf balls to see if that would cause some aggitation - nope. Spun for 5 minutes nothing. I took it out of the spinner and then just hand felted it without additional water and it seemed to felt more easily than just putting it in water. Could the spinning action have somehow opened up the scales more to make felting easier?
Test 2 - Spun swatches in salad spinner with 2 cups of water and then hand felted. Spun one swatch for 2 minutes and one swatch for 5 minutes and then hand felted (again without additional water). For controls I allowed two swatches to soak in water for 2 and 5 minutes, respectively. Water temerpature, soap amounts were the same in all tests and controls. Unfortunately the swatches all felted the same amount in 5 minutes of hand felting.
Results - spinning did not cause felting or speed up the felting process, but I did felt the swatches with only 2 cups of water. So at a minimum, I know I don't really need lots of water to felt. And salads everywhere are safe from losing their beloved spinners.