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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let's Add the Wool

Select some wool or wool/silk mix in the colorways of your choice. If you are going to felt a piece that will be close to your skin, then you'll want to use Merino, Merino/Silk or even Blue Faced Leicester (which is a personal favorite) for softness; however, for a pillow, collage or bag you can experiment with some of the more coarse wools.

Place an old towel down on the table and cover with a piece of bubble wrap smooth side up over the towel. Put your piece right side down on top of the bubble wrap.

Begin layering wisps of wool all going in one direction and overlapping slightly (like roof tiles) and cover the top; repeat with the wool going in the opposite direction. Finish with a third layer going once more in the same direction as the first wool layer.

Using a bowl of cold water with a few drops of liquid soap detergent (Dove, Ivory or something else mild) soak the wool using a sponge (recognize this sponge Karen?) and cover with a piece of firm plastic. (Painters cloth from the hardware store works great for this)

Gently press down the wool using your hands on top of the plastic (add a little soapy water to make it slippery) ensuring that the all of the wool has been wet through. Now begin gently rubbing for a few moments. The next step is to roll up the "sandwich" - plastic wrap, your needle felted piece and the bubble wrap around a pool noodle and roll for 100 times before opening up and re-rolling from the opposite side for another 100 times. Remove the plastic. At this point, I like to commence rubbing until the piece passes the "pinch" test - meaning that the fiber will not separate from the rest when you pinch it. This takes a while and once you felt a few pieces, your hands will know when the wool has migrated through the silk fabric and felted. If you look closely at the front you should see some wool fibers by now.

I prefer to continue using my hands to rub versus more rolling as it keeps the wool very smooth (which I love).

Next take it to the sink and put it in hot water to rinse the soap out; blot out the water and roll the edges of the piece in to itself some more, the wool will continue to shrink and the silk on the front continue to pucker more.
Place flat right side up and allow to dry.


  1. I have been browsing your blog for a while. Lots to see and absorb. I love the colours,textures and variety within your work.
    I did my very first piece of nuno felting recently so great to find a blog that is so informative and helpful.

  2. Joan, thank you for much!

  3. Margo, I bought your book and can't wait to get started. I love what you do. Even if I am far from your level, I will still enjoy it.

  4. Cameron - this should be a breeze for you - I've checked your work and it's lovely!