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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wet Felting and Needle Felting

Wet Felting and Needle Felting

Felting was on my list of things to try in 2010. And thanks to my mum-in-law, I finally got over my inertia and did it over the Winter Holidays. And am in love with it!

(Thanks Mom! Not just for the wool and the book, but for being there when I first tried it).

Both Wet Felting and Needle Felting are simple and rewarding activities even children can try (Ana tried and seems to like it).

This is not the felting of knitted projects, no. No knitting involved. This is just taking some plain or dyed wool roving and working it into felted fabric/shape/sculpture, something useful.

There are a number of books and youtube videos explaining the technique so I won't try to rehash it here. Suffice it to say that it is lot simpler than it sounded when I read/heard about it. And it is addictive.

The only catch being the price of the wool. But considering it takes just about an ounce of wool roving to make the little girls' purse shown here, it should be nominal. Especially since I do it not just for the love of it but for the satisfaction and joy of giving handmade gifts for friends and family whenever I can.

(Mom, if you are reading this, your custom-dyed wool is something I am looking forward to this year!)

Some hot water, dish soap, an old roasting pan or any shallow container is all the equipment needed, along with wool roving and weighing scale and some patience and imagination, of course.

Creating the template and planning out the end product is about 70% of the work really. Since no sewing is involved, bag or shoes or hat for that matter needs to be planned out first to make sure the finished piece shapes up well. After that it is simply wet felting till the fabric passes the "pinch-test", then rinsing and drying and possibly blocking into shape as it dries.

Needle Felting is another technique by which the wool fibers are teased with a needle or punched repeatedly to create a pattern or design. A single felting needle is all that is needed, and some wool roving, of course, to create a needle-felted design on another felted fabric.

Wet Felting and Needle Felting

Project details for the purse:

Wet felting, shaping and drying the little bag, no sewing or knitting or any other skills needed. Which is why even children can try it. Of course, the water can be lukewarm (not hot) when kids try it. The hotter the water the faster the felting,

Materials for Wet Felting:
1 oz. dyed merino wool roving,
5x6 inch rectangle template (I used a bubble wrap sheet for the rectangular template),
shallow roasting pan,
hot water (as hot as the hand can tolerate),
plastic gloves if preferred,
a small amount of dish soap,

Needle Felting is just for embellishment in this project. I have a couple of needle felted projects lined up to share here someday.

Materials for Needle Felted Butterfly:
small amount of wool roving in preferred colors
needle felting tool, or punch needle tool for larger designs

To finish the purse:
Coconut shell button
Leather thong

The finished purse after drying is about 4.5x5.5 inches (it shrinks a bit on drying).

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