Well, I thought I should post an update on felting without a washing machine. For those of you who don't know, my washing machine broke a few months ago. We debated and debated and finally decided to go with a front loader. It uses less water, less electricity, and we figured we'd make our money back. The only problem is, it is a bit more difficult to felt in. We tried fixing the old washer - no luck. And I really don't want to lug all my knitted handiwork to the laundrymat to felt. So, I began to experiment with felting in the front loader.
Here are a few things I've discovered:
1. It takes many more washings to get the desired effect - like maybe 5 times through instead of the 1.
2. You can't stop it midstream, like in the top loader, so if it's close, you better continue the felting by hand.
3. The ideal recipe for felting is: multiple items to be felted, an old pair of jeans, and a couple of those bumpy dryer balls.
4. Add just a little detergent.
5. If it looks like only 1 more cycle is necessary, do not do the extra rinse.
6. You can speed up the felting process by putting your item in the dryer for a little bit, then back for another run through the wash.
The bottom line is, we are not currently saving any water or energy on my felting, and I still want to get another old top loader, but for now, it does the trick. We are saving money on the regular laundry, so it's probably a wash at this point.