It doesn't matter whether you have spun, knitted, crocheted or woven your projects. The result of adding heat, water and pressure or agitation is the same. Your wool felt fabric project will shrink and become thicker and firmer. This can be a bonus, rather than a problem, but only if you MEAN to felt something.
There are 3 ways of felting wool into fabric - two 'wet' methods and one 'dry'. The first I will call the washing machine or 'accidental' method, as many of you will have accidentally shrunk a pure wool sweater. I have! This is the easiest, as your machine does all the hard work. Basically, you just machine wash your finished project.
The second method is 'wet' felting too. You do this form of felting by hand using carded or combed animal fibers. You layer the fibers then add soap and hot water and work the fibers by hand until you have your resulting wool felt fabric. It's fun, sometimes a bit dirty, and is great for exercising your upper body! The third method is 'dry' and has been developed from the industrial production of large sheets of felt, ie. craft felt and pool table covers. You use special felting needles, which have tiny 'barbs' on them (kind of like straight fishing hooks). You push the needles by hand up and down through layers of fibers. This bonds the fibers together. You would mainly use this method for 3D projects like dolls or soft toys. It's great for building soft sculptures.
So, making wool felt fabric is easy and enjoyable. Which method would you like to try first? If you're already experienced in other crafts, like crochet or knitting, why not try doing a project in wool and tossing it in the washer. As long as you have a
- give it a go. That's the easiest way to discover the fun of felting. Then you can progress to trying one or both of the other methods. Experiment! Discover! Enjoy!
Have fun and good luck! Remember - in the words of Bob Ross the painter. "You don't make mistakes, you have happy accidents!"
Why not try making some wool felt beads - so easy, kids can do it!