Woollen masterpieces. What is felting?

Artistic/Recreational activities
Chandler Lee
Woollen masterpieces. What is felting?
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Handicrafts are one hobby that has found many new fans during the isolation associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Among the areas that have seen a large increase in interest is felting. What is it about and how to start your adventure with this recreational activity?

Short history of felting

According to available historical sources, felting is one of the oldest textile arts. In Europe and Asia technique was used even before the spread of basic fabrics. Felt works – carpets, shoes, hats or saddles made by inhabitants of the Altai Mountains – date back to about the 5th-4th century BC. The most commonly used materials came from plant fibers, flax, silk or bamboo.

The art of felting came to Poland during the Middle Ages, the fastest development of this industry was in Gdansk. At that time, the profession of feltmaker was established, i.e. people engaged in the production of felt in large sheets. The popularity of the felting technique with the growing popularity of mechanical industry decreased significantly, but, like most of the forgotten handicraft techniques, it is back in favor and attracts a growing number of amateurs.

What is a handicraft technique?

The most popular techniques involved in creating felt works are wet felting, flat felting or needle felting. The variants can be used separately or combined several ways for one project. In the case of the wet technique, felt is combined with water, gray soap and bubble wrap, making it easy to create tactile clothing items or plush toys for children.

Felt can also be flat, creating horizontal decorative images, which are great as a form of warming the appearance of any room. Created works are original and unique, and therefore are small works of art. Needle felting works best when creating three-dimensional structures such as figurines, toys, decorative gadgets or covers for household items such as a vase, picture frame or sugar bowl.

Dry felting – a fantastic technique! Allows you to make, for example, such a little mesh. And it is quite similar to the real one 🙂

Published by Zosiak Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Necessary tools for felting

Felting is an activity which requires more time than money. The cost of purchasing basic products and tools is small, and they are used only for the materials, fabrics and fibers used.

Persons wishing to begin their adventure with felting should necessarily invest in the purchase of a needle holder, sponge / pad, water pear, bubble wrap, appropriate pattern forms, scissors, magnifying glass and a special needle with pips. There are several of the most popular models on the market in various sizes, and each works well with a different material. The tabs placed on the needle significantly help in grabbing individual fibers and pulling them inside the design.

Depending on the planned size of your project, you should use larger or smaller needles. Among the necessary utensils that allow you to create the masterpiece of your dreams is also the fabric. Well-chosen fabric makes the work easier and allows the implementation of even the most demanding felt projects.

What material to choose?

The most popular fabric used during felting is wool, and especially popular are natural fibers purchased in special stores, whose quality is confirmed by a certificate. Wool can come from animal hair and is usually in the form of specially created balls or curls.

On the market there is also combed or carded wool, which is more pleasant to the touch and better suited as a material for making scarves, hats, gloves, socks or thicker sweaters. On sale you can also find vegetable wool derived from flax, soybeans, Chinese nettle, cotton or bamboo. It is characterized by greater hardness and stronger weave, so it is easier to make spatial constructions, figurines, ornaments or felt pictures.

Purchased materials can be dyed by yourself or you can buy already finished colors, the choice of which is very wide.

Featured photo: Pixabay

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