Wet Felting

Wet Felting
You spin and you spin, but if you are like me, you inevitably end up with some leftover bits or even bags of roving that never get spun. Well, as the old saying goes: “waste-not, want-not”. So, lets make something from these bags of fluff.

To wet felt roving, begin with a work table and work area that won’t be harmed if they get wet. Not just a little wet, but really soaked. I find it best to cover the table with a plastic drop cloth and work outside. That way if a project needs to be moved, it can be.

Gather all of the fiber you want to felt. I find it inspiring to dump them all into big laundry baskets. Color blends that you might not think of on their own can manifest themselves in the basket. Also, if you have fibers that aren’t teased open, or easily pulled apart, this would be a good time to open them up a bit.

Draw a large bucket of very hot water. Arrange the fiber to be felted on the plastic sheet. Keep in mind that this is a fluid operation so colors are going to blend and the fiber is going to move about on the table. Once the fiber is arranged, give it a topping of dish soap. Ladle enough water carefully onto the fiber to thoroughly soak it being careful not to wash away your design. Place another sheet of plastic over the entire sheet. Agitate the fiber by rubbing the top sheet with your hands until it bonds together and forms a sheet. This can also be done with a rolling pin.

Next, remove the top layer of plastic to reveal the felt sheet. If it is to your liking, proceed to the rinsing step. If there are thin or bare spots that you aren’t satisfied with, add more fiber to those areas, wet them out, cover, and agitate them again. Once you are satisfied with the results, rinse the sheet thoroughly. I find that this is much faster if you remove the sheet from the bottom layer of plastic if possible. Lay the sheet on a screen or skirting table to dry.

The finished felt can be used in a number of ways. Layer it with a woven fabric to create garments that are sturdy. The felt can also be folded over to create a layered thicker felt. To increase the strength even more, quilt it together and add another design element by using a contrasting thread. The sheets, lined or layered, can be cut into mug coasters that will have your guests raving!

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