Felting learning center
Felting is the process of separating, tangling, and relocking animal fibers to create a fabric. There are several methods to agitate and tangle animal fibers into felt such as wet felting, Nuno felting, Needle felting and knit felting.
is the process of combining layers of wool roving and/or
wool yarns into one flat piece of felt fabric.
is the process of felting wool roving and/or wool yarns onto another fabric.
is the process of using wool roving, a needle, and a cushion to assemble the wool together.
Yarn felting is the process of agitating your knitting in hot water. This causes the natural fibers to expand and stick together, creating a much thicker, denser fabric with no visible stitches
About the wool
Merino is the most common fiber found and used for felting. Found in every color range imaginable, Merino wool is very soft with a staple length of about 3-4 inches (length of each fiber) and has barely any crimp. It's great for wet felting but not as good for needle felting but still can be used for adding detail and color.
Blue Faced Leicester is a long fine wool with a staple length of 4-6 inches. It has a lovely soft feel with a nice luster. It does take a little longer than some wools to felt but the results are much worth it. BFL is available in 3 natural colors and various dyed colors.
Shetland is a lovely fine wool with just a bit more bulk and crimps than merino. It's a popular wool available in many natural and dyed colors. Good for wet felting Shetland can be a little too fine to use in large pieces.
Corriedale is a New Zealand breed that has become quite popular for needle felting. It is less fine than the above and has a lovely crimp meaning it felts quite quickly but it can be difficult to get fine details with it..
Manx Loaghtan is beautiful wool to needle felt with. It has a lot of natural bulk and felts quickly. The natural brown is limiting but if you need that color for your project it could be the perfect wool for you.
Jacob comes in a few more natural colors than Manx. The wool has a medium fineness and a decent crimp making it easy to felt.
Herdwick is a courser wool. It is difficult to felt to a neat finish but can add textural interest to a piece. It is only available in grey but you can often find different shades.
Alpaca is very different from sheep's wool but can be fun to add to a piece. It is very fine and has a short staple length. It takes a long time to needle felt. It is available in various natural colors including beautiful fawns and rich chocolates.
Wool can be purchased in four different stages of processing.
Raw Fleece with all the dirt and lanolin, straight off the sheep's back. You need to process this yourself which can be a long but satisfying experience!
Dirty Raw Fleece
Cleaned Raw Fleece or Locks which has had all the dirty bits removed and has been washed (and possibly dyed) but not carded or combed. This is great for adding effects to your work - there are often some lovely curls you can use.
Cleaned Raw Fleece
Tops or Roving (these are normally the same thing, the name changes depending on where you are) have been washed and combed so that all the fibers are going in the same direction. Tops or Roving normally come in long lengths wrapped up into balls. They are usually easy to find.
Batts have been washed and then carded during which all the fibers are messed up facing different directions. They come out in chunky sheets and aren't as readily available as tops.