Felt-ING AROUND

So a while back I wanted to make some garlands – felt ball garlands – and I wanted to figure out how to make them myself.

Felted crafts use Wool Roving –  a piece of clumped, combed, and slightly twisted wool – I made some purchases from Craft stores and a variety of places on line. Buying from locally sourced, small shops, and farms is a great start too! You can spin it into yarn, weave it, or FELT it – making something felt out of wool! If you want to check out someone weaving this gorgeous material into something cool, check out this page – bluebirdandopals! My friend is weaving out in CT and she has the cutest weaved pieces for your home!

This is wool roving!

So- felt BALLS are made two ways – wet or needle felted – I didn’t have any fancy needles so wet felting it was – I found a Youtube tutorial HERE and it was WET. Lots of water, a little bit of soap and plenty of ball shaking. {I am still talking about garlands people} Irregular sizes and inconsistent results – NOT my style. So – I jumped on YOUTUBE, got a few felting needles and started poking away!

First a bit about commercially created felt, the same wool roving we use is used to make all sorts of FELT items and commercially is mass produced using the same barbed needles! This is a great way to understand how the needles work – and if you watch, will jump right to the NPP (needle poking part).

Real talk – Poking yourself with needles hurts badly. Your fingers bleed A LOT and finger guards are NECESSARY – you can purchase at craft stores and they come in silicone or leather. A felting mat (made of felt, foam, or brush) is also helpful and keeps you from poking your furniture as well! Best advice, keep trying to lightly stab (do those words commonly go together??) the wool, the barbs are only along the first inch or so of the needle (see below) so there isn’t a need to gauge it to death.

Once I figured out the poking (which included scratching my table until I got a foam pad, AND breaking needles from poking TOO hard (and too deep 😉) like you can see above – – I started with garlands! At first each ball took 3-8 minutes and I started by collecting them in a jar until I had enough – basically kept poking until I could string enough up!

After you make some balls, you can use a needle and thread and string them up! For Thanksgiving, I went with a red to yellow ombre pattern and hung them on a golden embroidery thread. I made one to hang out on our front door and also around the house.

For Christmas, I went with a more nuetral combo of many white and a few red balls – on our skinny tree it worked out great since this meant less balls (if I tried to do one for normal sized live tree a garland would take a looooong time!) Also, I spaced them out a bit – many felt ball garlands you see have balls close together and that is a CUTE look! It was still taking me 3-5 minutes per ball and that would have tripled or quadrupled the amount of time I would take to make the garland that dense.

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Felt garlands are now everywhere in my home and there’s no turning back! Also, check out cardboard safari for all of your feaux animal head needs! The deer has a map of Chicago in the background!

After all the ball talk, I am sure you are thinking – how much more can there be to felting? I asked myself the same question and fell into a deep hole of felt GNOMES! Creating felt hats and little faces was perfect for Christmas presents and teachers gifts at school – I grew up with Swedish gnomes called TOMTES and these brought me back! To learn how to make these I found a great tutorial HERE on YouTube.

After creating the cuties above, I got into some sculpting too – there is no end to what you can make with FELT! So many tutorials and tools available online (Etsy is GREAT for both and WOOL too!!!) and on YOUTUBE – let me know if there is something YOU would want to see in felt!

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A Birthday Barn Owl

Just a few examples of the cute felting adventures I have had! The cool thing about scultping with felt is that you can always add more felt – to create the shapes you need – and you basically can attached felt to itself with – FELT! By poking the little needles into it, you agitate the wool and get those barbs to stick together! There will be more to come and there are links to learning the different basic skills above! Please let me know if you have questions!

A Christmas Caravan Tree Ornament!

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