An afternoon of felting

A while back I got two great craft books on sale in the local bookshop. Natural Dyeing and Creative Felting which I got mostly for it's great photography and use of colour. As I read it dawned on me that I had everything needed for felting lying around the house. The main ingredient is wool fibre and having taken up spinning I have plenty of that around. I had also got some fibre for needle felting a while ago. The other equipment is pretty simple and is lying around most houses, bubble wrap, rolling pin, plastic sheeting and a towel.

I haven't needle felted much stuff as I'm too good at stabbing myself with the needle. Also needle felting seems to be more suited to embellishing and decorating felted and knitted pieces than for making large pieces.

First I laid down a towel and put a piece of bubble wrap on top of it. I then pulled out the fibre and laid it on the bubble wrap. All fibres go one way for the first layer then the next layer goes perpendicular to the first. Then I laid a piece of muslin cloth over the fibres and wet them with hot soapy water. Then I pressed down and made sure it was wet through.

That done I peeled off the cloth and put a piece of plastic over the fibres. Then it's a matter of rubbing and rubbing until the fibres mat together. When they've matted enough no fibres will lift up when pinched. It should be looking more like a piece of cloth now. I added a bit more hot soapy water to help it along.

I then rolled up the bubble wrap, felt and plastic around a rolling pin and drained out the water. Here's a photo of that plus some felt beads I made as well, the tutorial for how to make them is in Knitty, they're really easy to make. I then rolled the felt about 50 times in all directions. I turned it around and around until it really started to felt and get smaller. I rinsed it in very hot water and rubbed it on the bubble wrap some more until it looked good and strong with little stretch.

I then had my finished bit of felt. I am aware it looks like something a five year old would produce. Not a very creative first attempt, blue sky, green grass and flowers. I'm quite proud of it though, at least it worked and now i can go on to make more felt. I may try a slightly more grown up looking design next time.

It's quite amazing how hot soapy water and agitation can turn fluffy fibre into something dense and matted with completely different properties.

Photo Album Link

7 Responses to "An afternoon of felting" (Leave A Comment)

Luke McKinney says
April 2, 2009 at 5:11 PM

I love how you keep going "I could do that" and then, unlike most humans, actually doing it. It's great fun for you - and since you write, for all of us too.

Keep it up!

Nicola says
April 3, 2009 at 2:38 AM

I love your great first piece of wet felt, for me SO much less potential to injure yourself than with needle felting but then I guess you could say that I am definitely biased!

Catherine says
April 3, 2009 at 8:21 AM

Really good result! Well done. Looking forward to seeing the next project.

Sinéad says
April 3, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Wow, that looks great! You'r turning into quite the crafty...

Ciara says
April 7, 2009 at 2:52 AM

That's really cool Laura, looks great. And I had absolutely no idea that's how felt is made, so that's today's 'learn something new' ticked off.

Stitchlily says
April 8, 2009 at 12:47 AM

Well done, it looks great. Can't wait to get my book out and start as well!

Bionic Laura says
April 8, 2009 at 3:57 AM

Thanks for all the nice replies everyone. Everyone should give felting a go, it's so much fun.

Nicola some day I'll get to do a workshop with you and make really cool felt.