Saturday, January 16, 2010

Resweater & wool sweater FAQ's

I seem to get a lot of the same questions over & over, so I will post them all here. If you have any questions that are not here, please ask! I'll add it to the post. If I have not been clear enough, or you have a more detailed explanation for an answer I posted, please let me know. This will be a work in progress!

Isn't wool itchy?

Some wool is itchy, but most of the sweaters I sell are not itchy at all, and are very soft. I usually have "soft" in the title of my listings, when a sweater is soft. Since you can't touch the sweaters, I have to be your fingers for you. Anything I state is soft, I would put on my own son.

What is "felting" a sweater?

Remember when your husband wanted to help out & threw your favorite wool sweater in the washing machine & dryer?... and when it came out it was the size of a child's sweater? It was felted! The proper term for it is probably fulling, but felting is a term more commonly known and used.

What is the benefit to felting?

The biggest benefit is that once it is felted the edges will not unravel, just like the craft felt from the big box stores, but better! You don't have to make seams when sewing, so it makes it an easy material to work with.

What is "frogging"?

Frogging is reclaiming (unraveling) a sweater to reuse the yarn. This is a fabulous and green way to get yarn for your knitting & crocheting projects.

What are these "soakers" & "longies" I hear you talking about?

Soakers are wool (or cashmere) diaper covers, and longies are diaper cover pants. Some people knit & crochet them, like it has been done through history (chances are your grandma wore wool diaper covers when she was a baby!). Now, you also have the option of making them with recycled wool (wool sweaters)!

How do you keep moths away from wool?

Moths lay their eggs on wool, and the larvae are what actually eat the holes. Your first defense is clean wool, since they get nutrients they need from perspiration. Keeping your wool in a tightly closed container helps, as well as masking the smell of the wool with essential oils. Essential oils like cedar & lavender don't actually repel moths, but it masks the smell of the wool, so they can't find it. A great way to rid your thrift store finds of any possible moth eggs is give them a good shake outside before bringing them in the house. Moth eggs are easily disturbed. Also, sunlight will kill them, so leaving those great sweaters in the sun for a few minutes will kill any remaining eggs.

Your shipping says a max of $10, but when I put sweaters in my cart it says it is more. What is going on?

I never charge more than $10 shipping ($6 if you live in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Indiana) on any order, no matter how big the order is. Unfortunately, there is no way for Artfire's checkout system to automatically calculate that. You have the choice of paying the whole amount, and I will refund the difference right away, or email me with your Paypal address and I will send you a revised invoice.

Can I pick the sweaters that go into my mystery lot?

Yes & no. The mystery lots are designed to save me time, and you money. It is very time consuming to take pictures and list sweaters in my shop, so I created the mystery lots. I cannot take pictures of sweaters for the mystery lots. I am also limited to the stock I have on hand, which is usually a lot. I love to fill requests when I can, but I only have so much to work with. If you need something specific, like all argyles or all stripes, you are better off buying my individual sweaters or setting up a custom order. General requests like, "I prefer earthy colors", "I prefer thicker sweaters", or "I prefer girl colors" are easier to fill.

Where do you get all these sweaters?!

I go to thrift stores, garage sales, and rummage sales. Generally, I buy sweaters on their final clearance, so they are truly unwanted as clothing. During the winter months, I generally go "sweatering" every Sunday for several hours.

Won't it reduce my carbon footprint to buy from my local thrift store, rather than buy sweaters from your shop?

Usually, no. If you are walking or bike riding to get your sweaters, then yes, it is greener to not buy them from me. If you are driving to thrift stores or garage sales, then you are using more fuel. I ship USPS, and in most cases the mailman is coming to your house to deliver the mail anyway, so there is no extra fuel used. I try to recycled packing material whenever possible, and would like to think that most of my customers reuse or recycle theirs as well.

Does a sweater have to be 100% wool to felt?

No! I have felted blends as low as 60% natural fiber without a problem for my own personal use, but I recommend 70% & above, and I only buy 70% & up for my shop because of that.

Will angora or angora blends felt?

Absolutely! I have a 100% angora sweater that I felted in my personal stash right now. One of my favorite blends is 70% lambswool/20% angora/10% nylon. It felts so nicely, yet remains soft... almost as if it is not felted, but it is! This is a great blend for diaper covers, blankets, and anything else you want to remain soft & floppy.

Do you ship to other countries?

I am definitely willing to ship to other countries, but there are some differences from US orders to consider before ordering. My shipping specials only apply to US orders. International orders pay actual shipping. Since I am unable to purchase Delivery Confirmation or tracking for international orders, I cannot be responsible for your package once it leaves my hands. I am not responsible for customs holding packages either, though I haven't had any problems with this. International shipping can be very expensive, depending on the weight and destination. If you are thinking of placing an international order with me, you can get a rough idea of what it will cost through the Post Office's postage price calculator. The average sweater with packaging weighs about 1 lb.... a small cashmere less, and a big chunky knit more, but 1 lb is the general rule of thumb.

How many times should I wash my sweaters to felt them? Should I put them in the dryer or air dry them?

That depends on the individual sweater and how felted you want it. I've found that most sweaters felt to my satisfaction in one washing, and I usually toss 'em in the dryer too. If they come out of the wash the way you want them, I would air dry them at that point, so they don't felt more in the dryer. Sometimes they just need more, and I have to run them through again.


Colleen said...

Thanks for posting these! I'm just embarking on my sweater recycling journey. :)

softearthart said...

Cheers for the information, just what I needed , "Happy days" Marie

Resweater said...

If you have any additional questions, that I didn't post, please ask away!

Mrs. Henry said...

This is fantastic!!! Hey- i just got my box today!! WHoo Hoo!!!! I can't figure out how to leave feedback in Artfire, so here it is:

I got my sweaters from Resweater super fast and it's everything i'd hoped for! A Huge box of 11 (she threw in an extra since one has a few holes) bright colored solids- ALL super soft and cozy merino wool!!! I'm so happy!! I'm thinking about ordering the cashmere lot too!!
hearts, t

Resweater said...

I'm so glad you liked your mystery lot! Thanks for the praise, *blush*.

SarahBeth said...

Wow! I didn't know that about shaking the sweater and sunlight. Thanks for the great info!

Unknown said...

this is great!
do you know if angora or angora blends will felt?
I also learned that if a sweater didn't felt enough after one washing, I washed it again and it was thicker.
keep up the good recycling!

Resweater said...

Great question Victoria! I'll post the answer!

Unknown said...

I'm so impressed with your info! This has helped me quite a bit and I want to thank you! I will be checking out your sweaters for sale when I get started on this new, terrific idea! Thanks so much and keep 'em coming! :)

Vicki K. said...

What a wonderful blog! I found you by googling 'how to sew felted wool'...which leads to my question. How do you (machine) sew seams together so that 1) they don't get all curvy or 2) too bulky?

Thanks for your help!

Resweater said...

"What a wonderful blog! I found you by googling 'how to sew felted wool'...which leads to my question. How do you (machine) sew seams together so that 1) they don't get all curvy or 2) too bulky?

Thanks for your help!"

Vicki, My machine can only do straight stitching, which i've noticed is a little less curvy than serged seams. I tend to only get curvy seams when I am sewing together 2 different wools, like one stretchy ribbed, and one stiffly felted. I don't tend to work with very thickly felted wools a lot on my machine. I guess you just learn what your machine can handle. Mine is very old, but can handle quite a bit. What it can't, I sew by hand. Change your machine's needle for every 8 hours of sewing, whether it's wool or other cloth, and that will help greatly too. Let me know if you have any more questions, and welcome to the addictive world of recycled wool! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi! I live abroad and I have a very big sweater full of holes. If I wash it manually in hot water (our washing machines don't use hot water since I live in the tropics), is there a chance it will shrink and felt and I can still wear it? I really love it since it's soft and made from new wool.

Resweater said...

Yes, you can felt/shrink it in hot water. To felt (or full) wool, you need heat (the hot water), detergent, and agitation. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how fast or how much it will felt, so go slowly! Also keep in mind that the more it felts, the less it will drape & stretch. I hope that helped!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your response! I'm tempted to go out and buy a cheap sweater to try it on. The difficulty is manually agitating with very hot water. Can't think of a way to do it without scorching my hands (even with gloves).

Resweater said...

cupnoob1110, It doesn't have to be scorching hot water. You can use just very warm water, and agitate it with your hands. Warm water felts too.

Anonymous said...

That's good to know! Thanks.
I saw a very cheap used wool blend sweater I wanted to try felting with but the label was almost faded and I couldn't see how much wool is in the blend. Also, the fit was only a bit large and if it really shrunk no one I know will be able to wear it so I passed.

Anonymous said...

How do I felt "enough for a diaper cover" i.e. waterproof but still keep it pliable/comfy? Cut seams out 1st or after the process? Hand or HE machine wash are my options...

Resweater said...

Sarah, Usually one hot wash cycle gets sweaters felted just right for diaper covers. It is not a totally predictable process, though. I like to felt my sweaters whole, then cut them afterwards, but I know people that cut them first.

Unknown said...

i luv your blog and your fun ideas. If you run across anymore bright striped sweaters Im interested!!:)

obat herbal
crystal x asli
obat keputihan
crystal x
Ciri crystal x
I think you mean Portsea! :)