So I read about "felting" old garments and creating a new kind of fabric to make something out of. One of the resale shops here has several adorable little felt purses that were made out of their wool sweaters and being sold for $15-$35.
The garment MUST be 100% wool - dry clean only.
It took some trial and error as I got started. I bought a 50 cent 100% sweater vest and washed it a couple of different ways. I boiled water in a giant pot and stirred it constantly -- it did not felt. Then I washed it in a front loader with jeans - it did not felt. Then I washed it in a top loader with jeans - still no felting. After taking the buttons off, I threw it away.
I've learned that the top loaders are the thing to use because of the agitation . Wash in hot water and dry on hot.
This past week I hit another 50 cent sale at a resale shop and got a few more 100% wool garments. One was one of those ugly plaid ralph lauren skirts. No luck felting it. But 2 of the sweaters felted nicely. One lamb's wool. The other merino wool. The lamb's wool worked best. Sweaters are prob the best thing to felt. The fibers are a little looser and felt better.
The orange lamb's wool sweater was about my size. After a couple of washings, it has shrunk to something smaller than my 4 year old grandson could wear. I've put it away for now, but will eventually try making a couple of those cute bags, needle holders, and bird shapes for my birdnest helpers!