Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tutorial: Foray into Felting!

So to follow up from last week, I worked really hard and managed to create this knitting sample for my classes:

1st part: 2 rows Knit, two rows purl. 2nd part: Purl. 3rd part, knit.

I thanked my table-mate again for helping me struggle through knitting last week, and assured her I got it down after practicing all week. "Great! What are you going to make now?" She smiled. (Look of horror spreading across my face!)

Thankfully, this week's class went much better for me:


Seriously, if you love felted stuff as much I do, head over to after you finish reading my blog. I salivate in this store! I love their stuff and I love to support good people! I'll be showing this site to my classmates next week.

I first became interested (Well, lets face it, obsessed) with felting on a trip to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. There was a wonderful, colourful little store called Cocoon which sold all things made of felt. Shawls, slippers, jewelry and my favourite, the hats. I bought a hat, which isn't with me at the moment, otherwise I'd snap photos of it for you. I even bought slivers and dyed carded wool and a felting book to play with. Those too, are in a box next to my gorgeous Cocoon hat. But now I know what to do, and it's dead easy. Watch out, Cocoon! (Just kidding. your stuff is still amazing.)

So a mini tutorial in what you need to become a felter.

Wet Felting

This is my instructor demonstrating how to use the carding machine- which in it's simplicity costs about 2000 dollars, so I won't be buying one anytime soon. It combs the wool so all the fibres are going the right way. Which is what you need for spinning or felting. You can also use two paddles that look like big lint brushes of sorts, but it's time consuming.

You can use the carding machine to mix your colours. I would have used it, but I couldn't get near it. So I opted for a simpler design.

You need something under your felt to add friction while rubbing. Anything with a texture will work. I used a bamboo sushi mat, which I think was the best choice. Reason to follow.

My supplies: scissors, fluffy wool, nicely carded, and some colourful carded wool. The coloured stuff was more expensive, so for a first go we used the white stuff for the background. Notice the table as covered in plastic- Important as soon this will be a soapy mess.

My daisy design (Upside down). the white wool in the back has been separated into three layers. The top and bottom layer are horizontal, and the middle layer is vertical. Once the design is completed these layers are put on top of the design and bamboo mat.

Next, you need warm soapy water. You drizzle it lightly with your fingers into the middle and pat it gently, massage it a little, sing some Barry White to it, and keep working it gently till the whole thing is sopping with soapy water and smells like a wet dog. Don't rub too hard or you'll mess up your design. Now it's time for the full on sweet massaging of the fibres, creating lots of soap bubbles and love. (about 5 minutes.)

After five minutes, roll up the bamboo mat, and knead the whole thing with the palm of your hands, adding more friction and squeezing the soap out at the same time. (I think this is the messiest part.)

My table-mate's hands in a felting flurry! Once a few more minutes have passed and it looks like you got most of the soap out, it's time to head to the sink and "shock" the felt, by rinsing it in hot water then cold, then hot again. This is where the bamboo worked better than the bubble wrap, as we didn't have to unwrap the whole thing to let the water penetrate. Once this stage was done, we were ready to unwrap the whole thing and see what transpired!

Finished projects! I did mention there are a lot of Asians in my class, right? Hence Hello Kitty and Pikachu. I'm not done with mine yet- I will do some needle felting or embroidery on mine to funk it up. But not bad for a first try!

Dry Felting

This is so easy I'm not sure I need a whole new blog to explain it. You basically get some felt, either felted felt or the fluffy stuff I used above. And you place your felt being felted on top of a block of styrofoam, or a ball of wool, in our case. Then you jab the whole thing with a felting needle. A felting needle looks like a needle with a hook on the end of it, and at the pointy part there are lots of little barbs which hook on the fibres and tangle them up hence the felting bit. The needles break easily, as I found out. I have only just begun, so I'll do a follow up blog and show you what I ended up making.

This is what I ended up with after twenty minutes of jabbing. The little white ball, a broken needle and a bleeding finger. Ouch!

Sweater Felting:

I will do a separate blog on this one, but the basic idea is that if you are an unfortunate as me and felted your new Merino wool V neck sweater in the wash machine by accident, all hope is not lost. You can make it into something. If you hate shopping as much as I do, you probably buy one sweater in multiple colours- so you can see how much this baby shrunk!

Stay tuned for the results!



  1. Who knew it could be so easy! Looking forward to seeing what treasures you come up with!

  2. Looks like felting might be a wool-guzzler. As an inadvertent sweater felter myself, I'm looking forward to seeing what can be done with the mini sweaters.