I had some trouble when I first felted this bag today. It may have been the result of an overloaded washing machine or the too-small garment bag I was using, but from the look of my poor project, I was fearful to toss it back in, so I decided to try something new. I googled 'felting by hand' and got some great tips on how to do it. As this helpful tutorial points out, felting has been around a lot longer than washing machines, so why not trust felting by hand?
I began by filling the bathroom sink with a few inches of VERY hot water and a drop of detergent, then put on rubber gloves and started swooshing (yes, swooshing is the technical term for this). This is a LOT more time consuming than just throwing the knits in the washing machine, as I've always done before, but the results from hand-felting are just wonderful! I worked away with my hands in the sink and got to shape the bag myself, so that it came out just as I intended. I pressed and squeezed gently, constantly keeping it in motion so I could cover every inch of the bag. Every so often I would drain the water and do a quick cold rinse then back to hot. The process uses a lot less water than the machine, especially since I always wash my things on cold cycle. And it takes hardly any energy... just my own.
This tool became very useful when my hands got tired of swooshing.
I then shaped the bag and lay it out to dry, stuffing it with old plastic shopping bags to give it some shape.
The whole process reminded me so much of when I was in school (at AIB) and used to process rolls of my own film everyday. All the agitation, draining, rinse, repeat, whew! And then that satisfying surprise when you are done and see your results there in black white. Or, in this case, blue and grey.