Felting Tutorial

Lord Donegal

Introduction

Felting is not hard to do and does not take a lot of time or equipment to do a project. I did the pouch in this tutorial using commercially processed roving. Anyone can get this easily and does not require special equipment to complete a project.

Preparation

I wanted the pouch to be a certain size and it will shrink during the felting process. I made a test square from the wool I was to use to find out how much it shrinks. The shrinkage is about 45%. Cloth is needed between the front and back of the pouch to keep it from felting together into one thick piece. I cut the cloth to my starting size and drew a line where the flap started.


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My pattern is 16" by 8" and the line for the flap is 6" from the end.



Roving looks like a long, thick, loose rope of wool. It will be divided into lengths that extend at least 1 inch past the sides of the pattern. The fibers are pulled apart not cut.


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Felt should have at least 4 layers. Each layer is laid down 90° to the last layer. I pulled 2 lengths for the length of my pattern. 2 lengths to go from bottom to flap line and 8 lengths to go side to side. Of course each piece had the required extra length.



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The roving is sort of rolled together. Pull on it to unroll it and then (with your hands flat) pat and gently pull out to spread the fibers. Be careful to keep the thickness even and do not tear. This could create thin spots or holes in the felt. You want each batt about 1/16" thick.

Felting process

Now lay out the batts for the back, lay the cloth pattern on top and then lay out the batts for the front. If the batts are not wide enough to go at least 1" past the pattern, you will have to make a seam. Either overlap the two batts at least a couple inches or butt them together and lay a 4" batt on the seam. Don't let subsequent seams lay above another.



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The project is put in a dish drainer to be used at the sink because a lot of water will be used and it will be quite messy.



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Put HOT water and soap in a pan. Use a measuring cup to pour the water on the wool and pat it down. Pouring the water over your fingers as you pat will prevent the wool from sticking to your fingers and pulling away from the project. Wet the wool on the front only to the edge of the pattern and to the line for the flap. Wet the wool of the flap from the flap line to the edges of the pattern.



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The dry wool along the edges is folded over the wet wool, watered and patted down.



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Pat until you can make circular motions without pulling the wool away and then start rubbing in all directions. The wool will shrink in the direction that it is rubbed. The direction rubbed is how the form of the project will be controlled.



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Pull the pattern out and rub the inside then turn the pouch inside out (the seams will look better) and continue rubbing it.



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Rub the back, bottom and sides on a washboard or other ribbed surface to harden the felt and rinse. Lay out to dry.

You now have a felt pouch.
Enjoy



Last updated: 1/31/2005