It is not uncommon after a period of time for wool items to lose their newness and their shape. As a result, they get discarded. Actually these items can be re-purposed by turning them into felt.
Felting means going through a process where you are going to separate, tangle and re-lock the fibres of the wool. This is done by agitating the wool. When you look at wool, it is made up of fibres that have tiny scales that interlock with each other and that’s what keeps their original shape. As you are going to felt the wool, what you are doing is separating these scales. This can be done in a variety of different ways.
You want to agitate and then tangle these fibres, and there are different processes that you can use to do this, such as wet felting or needle felting. The result can also be obtained with the so called nuno felting or knit felting. These are just a few of many different available ways.
Wet felting requires heat, moisture, and friction. Take an old sweater and wash it in hot water using your regular detergent and then giving it a cold water rinse. You can easily do this in your washing machine, but be sure to set it on a low water setting because you don’t want to use too much water. Make sure that the item is being exposed to a lot of friction from the washing machine agitator.
Once this is completed, the next thing you want to do is dry the sweater on high heat. At the end of the drying process you are going to notice a different feel and look in the sweater. It will now have a felted texture to it. If it still hasn’t reached this point where it is holding a edge that is crisp when you go to cut it then repeat the process a couple of times more. You can now cut it into squares to make pot holders, coasters or other items.