I have had a blast playing with wool fiber! I find it rewarding to see what wool fiber, hot soapy water and a little elbow grease will create! I’ve recently been making felted envelope-style clutch purses.
In this clutch, I used Wool of the Andes Roving in Salsa Heather. (There are 10 great colors to choose from!)
Other roving choices are the neutral colors of Full Circle Roving; the multiple colors of Hanks in the Hood Spinning Batts, or get the Wool of the Andes Bare Roving and dye your own! There’s also Roving Packs by Wysteria Editions to embellish with. Below are the simple instructions if you want to make a purse for yourself.
Items needed for your project: wool roving; bubble wrap, a foam tube like a pool noodle (cut in half for a manageable size), hot soapy water, bits of wool yarn, silk or colored roving for embellishments. Also you need sharp scissors or rotary cutter, a sharp craft needle and a button.
To begin, decide on the approximate size of the purse you want to make, taking into consideration that it will shrink about 30% during the felting process. On the bubble wrap, lay the roving out in thin layers in one direction.
Then a second layer going in the opposite direction.
Reversing each time, continue to layer until you have 5 or 6 layers. (The more layers the thicker your felt will be). Add bits of wool yarn, silk or other colors of roving to the top for decoration.
Carefully wet the roving with hot, soapy water. I work in small areas at a time. Work the water into the roving so all fiber is wet, being careful not to over saturate the wool. Once this is done, the elbow grease is needed. Take the noodle and place at one end of the bubble wrap. Carefully roll the bubble wrap and wet wool around the noodle. Tie the package together to hold the roll in place. (Knee high stockings work great for this step, but you can also use string). Using your hands to elbow, roll the wool back and forth. I typically do it about 100 times. Unwrap the wool and place the noodle at the opposite end, rolll it up, and roll another 100 times. Repeat the process at least one more time. This will cause the wool fibers to mat together. To test and see if it’s ready, take a pinch of the wool and see it it’s set. Sometimes when adding yarn embellishments, additional rolling is needed.
Next step is to remove the wool from the bubble wrap. With hot water carefully rub the wool together in several directions, refolding often. Add more soap if it looks like it’s rinsing out. Continue until the wool shrinks and thickens to the weight you want.
The next step is fulling. Fold the wool and throw it into the sink, refold and throw again. Do this several times. Stretch the felt into shape and let dry.
Cut the felt into the size you want for your clutch. A ruler and rotary cutter work great here. You have lots of options for how the flap design will look. In my sample below, I chose a rounded flap and used scraps of Chroma yarn and bits of sari silk to embellish.
Determine where you will fold the wool. With coordination yarn and sharp needle, stitch the sides together. I used the blanket stitch for mine. Find the perfect button, and cut a buttonhole in the top flap. (you can reinforce the buttonhole by stitching around it.)
Here are a couple of clutches that I created. The blue one used hand dyed roving and yarn to create the plaid.
Have fun and be creative!