Felting may not be as well known as companion hobbies such as knitting and sewing, but it can be a very rewarding creative experience.
This ancient tradition creates strong and sturdy fabric from wool without weaving, resulting in a stiff material that can be moulded into all kinds of wonderful designs.
From brooches to hats or even pictures to hang on the wall, there are many beautiful ways to make use of your fabric once it’s been felted. Start experimenting and enjoy a fun way to create at home.
Getting to grips with felting
To get your felting project off to a great start, you first need to make your felt.
This is done by treating wool with hot soap water and then agitating it. This is commonly done with a small, metal felting tool, which helps you to pick out individual fibres so you can then encourage them to matt together.
As the scales of the wool begin to bind together, you’ll be left with a thick and durable fabric that’s perfect for crafting with. There’s a good guide to the first steps of felting available on Knitty, just have a look at their felting for absolute beginners article.
One of the great things about felting is the fact that you can use all sorts of wool on your projects.
If you have old jumpers or blankets that have become bobbled or ripped you can give the wool a new lease of life by turning it into felt. You can also find raw materials cheaply by choosing old woollens from charity shops.
Alternatively, if you’re thinking about making jewellery or bright designs with specific colours, you can buy wool specifically for felting with. Felt Alive has a comprehensive list of everything you need to start felting but perhaps the most useful information in its section on choosing the right wool.
Being creative with felt
Once you have your felt, you can start thinking about what you’d like to make with it.
This fabric is ideal for sewing into sturdy handbags, quilts or eye-catching items of clothing. All you have to do is cut and sew your felted squares together into the desired shape.
Unless you are already a skilled sewer, you’re likely to want a pattern to follow. There are some fun patterns and projects to be found free of charge at Living Felt, which is well worth a look if you’re keen to get started.
You’ll also find some excellent, inspirational projects and suggestions from the team at Martha Stewart, including everything from cute finger puppets to adorable pin cushions. If you’re having a lot of fun felting but you find you’re running against problems or you’re looking to share your ideas with other people, you’ll be happy to know that there are lots of keen felters online.
Have a look at sites like Craftster and you’ll soon find new friends keen to talk about their passion and share top tips and tricks.