Mi Amor: Adventures in Fulling and Felting Wool
I have a confession: spinning wasn’t my first fiber love. The year was 2002, and a fetching handknitted and fulled tote bag on display in my local yarn shop seduced me. I wasn’t even a knitter yet, but the bag beckoned me to take the plunge, and I discovered the magical world of fulling and felting wool.
This flirtation became more than just a casual fling with fiber. What started with a single fulled bag snowballed into a serious relationship with felting wool. I became mesmerized by the agitation of my top-loading washing machine as it transformed my knitting into a dense, cozy, and cohesive fabric. Bags, slippers, and more began taking up space in my home and were given away as gifts.
My commitment to this craft was serious, but I longed to go deeper. Soon, I became the proud owner of a knitting machine, which expedited my fulling output. However, plain fulled cloth no longer held the same magnetic appeal. I contemplated adding needlefelting to my repertoire to spice up my fulled cloth.
Taking that next step came with risks; barbed needlefelting needles are sharp.* I bit the bullet and bought a set of triangular- and star-tipped needles in different gauges, bits of brightly colored wool roving, and foam padding for a working surface. With my knitting machine, I turned out plain-wool scarves, which I embellished with tufts of woolly fluff. With each one-of-a-kind scarf, I explored a different way to incorporate needlefelting onto the surface of the cloth. With my renewed passion, I sold the scarves for extra holiday spending money that year.
Have you tried fulling and felting wool? Share your experiences in the comments below!
To explore different types of fulling and felting, download our free eBook, Guide to Felting: Fiber Preparation and Inspiration for Making Felt. For tips on needlefelting, read the blog post “5 Needle Felting Tips & A Free Needle Felting Pattern.”
*Important safety message: Needlefelting needles are very sharp! Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date and work with clean, washed wool. Needlefelting needles are not to be shared with your fiber friends because they can carry blood-borne pathogens.
Featured Image: Get started needlefelting with just a few supplies. Photo by Elizabeth Prose
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