Weaving with felting wool is an adventure. I had actually purchased some balls of felting wool without realizing it, and decided to experiment. I have never felted before, so I had to do some research before I started.All the resources I used to complete the practical parts of this tutorial, can be found below in the “Resources” section of this post. Here are a few answers to questions you may have in regards to felting (at least these were the main questions that I had).
What is felting?
When wool fibers are formed together agitated, they can become felted. In this tutorial, I use a wet felting technique to hand felt the woven wool.
Can I weave with felting yarn?
Felting yarn (a yarn from natural material, usually wool) can be woven, then felted. You can use the felting wool for weft. Felting wool can also be used for warp, if the project is not too large. Felting yarn is not too strong, so it can not hold too much pressure as a cotton or synthetic yarn usually can.Therefore, I would recommend weaving with both a felt yarn weft and warp, or a felt yarn weft and a natural warp, such as cotton or wool.
How can I felt something I wove?
In this tutorial, I use a wet felting method after weaving felting yarn with a cotton warp. After weaving the felt yarn and removing it from the loom, I use soap, warm water, and agitation to felt the yarn of the woven fabric.
Is weaving and hand felting difficult?
In my experience, felting by hand takes a lot of effort to remove the grooves of the woven pattern. For one small project, it took around an hour to felt the entire surface on the front and back. However there is a faster method for wet felting, such as using a top loading washer machine. (Check out the resource section at the bottom of this blog post.)
How can I use felted materials?
Once wool is felted, it creates a stiff like material that can be manipulated, cut and formed into various shapes and material for use. Felted wool can be used to make bags, shoes, belts and much more. Once you learn the basics, you will realize soon how strong and dynamic felt is for creative projects!
Weaving and Felting Wool Tutorial
Cotton / Wool yarn
LoomA bucket or containerDish soapA mixing toolTowelWarm/ Hot water(Rubber gloves – optional)
1.Using felting wool, weave the design.
Weave a simple design that you like. This was my first attempt at this technique, so I wanted to see how the edges of the triangle would appear after felting them.
Perhaps, pick one design aspect to test out in your first weaving/felting project. Still learning weaving techniques, find more weaving techniques on this blog post: Weaving Techniques: Interlocking and Weaving Slits Guide.
I also was not sure how much it would shrink or how long it would take to felt the entire piece, so I tried to keep it at a small to medium sized project.
WarpThere are a few ways to approach the warp, using felting wool, wool or cotton yarn. In this tutorial I wove with a cotton warp. If you plan on cutting the fabric after felting it, these yarns will be exposed. This did not bother me, in fact I find it very interesting to look at. However, if you do not like this, then using a stronger wool warp could be an alternative.
2.Cut weaving off of the loom and secure the weft and warp ends.
Using a tapestry needle, send the ends back into the weaving. (A full tutorial can be found on this blog post: 7 Ways to Finish Weaving ) Securing the ends of the waving is important for keeping the design well in place.
Cut the yarn as close as possible to the base so that no extra yarn is sticking out.
Gently rub and pull to hide and secure the yarn with in the weaving.
All warp and weft ends should be secured before the felting process.
3.Fill a bucket with warm-hot water and some liquid dish soap.
Rubber gloves can be used if you have sensitive skin or to protect your hands from the warm water-soap mix.SoapFor your hands, use a non-irritating liquid soap (like dish soap) or soap that is completely dissolved before placing the woven project in. You do not want chunks of soap clumping onto the fabric. There should be enough soap in the water to make it soapy and form soap suds. Bucket sizeUse a bucket that the entire project fits into and water can cover it. The bucket should be large enough that you can mix the project in it.You do not need a huge bucket, unless you are felting a huge project. If you are felting a very large project, it might be faster to use a different method of felting, such as with a top loading washing machine. But, awesome if you like a challenge! WaterThe water should be at a hot enough temperature that you can stand mixing and rubbing in. The water should not be boiling hot. If the water cools down during the hand felting process, some cooler water can be removed from the bucket, then more hot water can be added.
4.Mix the woven piece in the water-mix.
Add the woven project into the water. Build and create friction between the water and the woven piece by mixing it with a wide utensil.
5.Rub sections of the weaving together to begin the felting process.
You do not have to rub the sections furiously, rather with some effort. Grab to ends and begin rubbing their surfaces together. Rub the entire piece together on its various surfaces, edges and corners to felt the piece completely.
6.Interchange between mixing the woven cloth in the water-mix and hand felting.
Felting by hand can be taxing on your hands and patience, so it’s important to hand felt when you are up for it. If you begin to feel a little tired, put the weaving into the water, and return to it after a short break. You can always go back and continue felting (but, don’t let it stay in the water too. Alternatively, you can mix the woven project in the bucket with an utensil to give your hands a break. When is the yarn fully felted?When you no longer see the grooves and definition of the yarns, then the piece is felted. If you can still see the definition and separation of the yarns, then the piece is not fully felted and it should be rubbed more. Has the weaving shrunk? Yes. When wet felting yarn, the yarn will shrink. Therefore you should weave a bit larger to keep the size that you want.
7.Rinse out and ring out the water and soap
Take your time running the soap out of the piece and rind all the water out. This will help in the drying process.
8.Dry the felted woven piece
Using a towel, lay the piece on top and roll it up. Apply pressure to squeeze the remaining water out.
Find somewhere sunny or warm to lay the piece on to dry (or it can be dried in a dryer). I dried this piece indoors. I put some newspaper under it and placed it near a heater to dry.
9.Trim and clean
Take a look over your felted creation and give it some love. By taking a pair of scissors, you can easily cut the felt. Check how the edges look and if it’s necessary to cut uneven parts off.
10.Design and create with your felt!
Here is the rewarding part: you are finished with felting and now you can use the felted sheet to create something! If you want to see what I created with this felting project, check out this blog post: How to Weave a Felted Cellphone Case.
Videos on Felting and Weaving
As mentioned before, I haven’t had any experience felting before, so I had to do a bit of research before starting my experiments. I came across 3 helpful videos that gave me some great tips and tricks for weaving with felting wool and after felting it. Thank you so much for sharing these tutorials- they have really helped me along the way on this project! Here is a video from Amicus Goods: “Weaving and Felting a Wool Sheet”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA5Els77xO4Here is a video from DuoFiberworks: “How to Hand-Felt your Knits”Here is a video from ChemKnitsTutorials: “UNCUT: How to Felt your knitting by hand — In a Bucket EXTENDED VERSION”
Weaving with felting yarn can change up your weaving and give another perspective on creating with another material on the loom. Once you have finished felting, this opens the next possibility to creating something with the material. Explore, experiment and have fun! If you are interested in what I create with this felted material, take a look on this blog post, How to Weave a Felted Cellphone Case. Thank you so much for visiting Fibers and Design! I hope that this post was able to help you learn how to weave with felting yarn and felt it.Gina