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New Year, New Hobby ? An introduction to Felting

Wednesday, 28 January 2015  |  Sarah

With Christmas now a dim and distant memory and New Year celebrations long gone, we still have to contend with a number of winter months and dark evenings before Spring decides it will put in an appearance.  But worry not !  There are lots of fantastic crafty hobbies that you can try and which will fill those evenings.

One of the most popular crafts at the moment is felting.  There are 3 ways you can make felt.  The first is known as “wet felting”, whereby you use unspun wool (more typically called wool roving or wool tops) which are layered on top of one another.  These are then soaked with warm soapy water and “agitated” until the fibres begin to knit themselves together, creating a sheet of felt which can then be used for all sorts of projects.

The second is called “needle felting” and this takes 2 forms – one is sculptural felting using (again) unspun wool and a felting needle which has tiny barbs on the end.  By stabbing the wool (try to avoid your fingers) with the felting needle, the fibres “felt” together and you can create all sorts of wonderful pieces – think birds, animals, people, food etc.  You can also create pictures by needle felting.  You just need a high density foam sponge or pad, a backing piece of felt and wool roving or wool tops and you can then create beautiful pictures on the backing felt using just the unspun wool and your felting needle.

The final way to create felt is by a method called “fulling”.  This is a very simple way to create felt and you’ve probably already done it numerous times (by accident) in the past.  Fulling is when you shrink a lovely wool jumper in the washing machine !!

So, now that Christmas (and the relatives) have gone you can put that hideous jumper that Aunt Agnes gave you as a present, into the washing machine with your usual washing powder.  Turn up the temperature to 90 degrees, shove a tennis ball in with it (to create friction) and watch that jumper shrink beautifully into an amazing piece of felt that you can use in all sort of crafty projects !

We sell all of the wool and tools you'll need to begin needle felting or wet felting on our website.  You can buy them all individually, or we offer starter kits which means you'll save a bit of money when trying out your new hobby.

If you’d like more detailed information about any of the above ways to make felt or would like advice on the best items to purchase (only you can decide whether Aunt Agnes’ jumper is hideous though), you can email us, call us on 01245 471690 or visit our “Shedquarters” in Essex (see website for details).