Over the last year or so, I've felted several bags in my washing machine. In most cases it worked out quite well, even though my washing machine is a front-loader, while most people recommend to use a top-loader for felting (a top-loader gives one the chance to stop the whole process anytime you want to check on the felting progress, so you can stop whenever you deem the whole thing is just right. With a front-loader this is not exactly possible, but given that my washing machine is in the basement of my house and checking on it would mean I would need to run down 64 steps every single time, it's not very likely I would do it anyway)
Last time I used my washing machine for felting was a bit of a disaster due to lint blocking my drainage and me finding new and creative ways to get the water out of the machine that involved NOT flooding the room, so I decided I would like to try another way to felt my stuff. Originally I heard about hand-felting on the Yarn Harlot's blog, but she in turn reverences a Knitty article from 2007, so I'm going the same.
For my objects to felt, I choose a) three little entralac bags I've knitted a while ago with left over Noro Kureyon yarn and b) a pot holder I've knitted with a sock yarn I've heard rumor of that it might felt, even though it is supposed to be super wash (Sockenwolle 'Treviso' bought at a sale at Lidl). Either way - if it felts, or if it not felts - would be fine with me. I just need to know. So I knitted a smallish object that would work both ways, and threw it in with the bags.
When you hand-felt, you need a bucket, a plunger (a new one preferably), something place your bucket on so you don't damage your bath tub and some muscles.
I threw in the stuff I wanted to felt, some detergent and hot water, as hot as it comes from the tap.
Then I started to agitate it.
I timed myself with my kitchen timer, taking a break every 10 minutes or so. After some time, I moved the whole caboodle out to the balcony (we have perfect weather today and it would be a shame to waste it)
I'm not quite sure, but I would guess it took a good 30 min before the bags actually started to felt, but I kept going another 20 to 30 min after that before I decided I had enough.
I've learned two things from this:
Yes, the sock yarn I've bought does felt.
Here's a before and after picture:
(I freaking love that holder and will certainly knit a partner to it)
And hand-felting can be fun, though it is nothing for the impatient.