So how do these soft fluffy fibers turn into something as solid and dense as felt fabric?
Wool fibers have tiny crimps all along their length. This is what allows them to wrap around each other and hold tight during spinning in order to make yarn. These crimps also allow them to become hopelessly tangled among each other in order to create felt. The tricky part is getting it to turn into the shape you want!
There are 2 methods that can be used to create felt. Wet felting, and needle felting. You may already be familiar with wet felting, if you have ever accidentally thrown a wool sweater into a hot washing machine! While this process is actually called fulling, (as the fabric was knitted or woven before hand from a wool yarn) all the factors needed to wet felt are there, and it's a great introduction to the process.
To wet felt, warm or hot water, agitation, and different agents (such as soap) are used to force the wool fibers to mat together into a shape. Wet felting is mostly used to create flat fabric , although you can use it to create basic forms by hand in your sink at home!
Needle felting (or dry felting) requires less mess and allows for fine work needed for something as detailed as this elephant! The needles used have tiny little barbs all around the sharp end, which grab onto individual strands and tangle them together as you work. This is done by stabbing the needle into the carded wool many times. These needles are very sharp, so a good work surface and a felting cushion are needed!
Felting is fun and relaxing, and can be done at your kitchen table! Visit our store to see our selection of felting supplies and felting kits. All of our kits include everything you will need to get started, and all wool included comes directly from our farm!