If you’ve just joined us it may benefit you to know we are on part 3 of our 5 part series covering the most common questions about wool felt, so far we’ve seen aflow chart, solved a mystery and today we witness a MURDER… bum bum bum!
Question 3: What’s the difference between felted wool and wool felt?
Felt (a noun) is created by agitating fibers either by using barbed needles or by getting the fibers wet and tangling them into each other to make a nonwoven felt fabric. Non woven fabrics including felt are awesome because they require no seams and are as user friendly as a fabric can get.
To make something “felt” (a verb) or “felted” (an adjective) implies washing a pre-woven, or knitted, wool or wool blend fabric in hot water to agitate it and force the fibers to lock making it impossible to untangle or loosen the fibers. Felting the wool fibers will make them contract and give you a thicker fabric than what you started with as well as a bubbly texture.
To make this even more clear I have volunteered my husbands dress pants for this assignment*
Dressedin WoolSuit Pants 2006 – 2011 –
These amazing wool slacks lived an wonderful long life. Ahh the good times, here they are in all their pin-stripy glory, so full of hopes and dreams.
According to their owner Pants assisted in many aspects of business. Without Pants many deals simply would not have been made! In a world filled with Saggy Pants, Skinny Jeans and Culottes, Mr. Pants stood out from the crowd, a beacon of professionalism in a seemingly increasingly ill fitting world. The Pants spirit will live on in the lives of felted wool items for years to come.
Warning the following are actual pictures of a crime against wool taking place you may wish to avert your eyes.
As you can see from these photos Pants put up quite a fight, but in the end he was no match for hot water and Tide with bleach alternative.
Here’s a 9″ x 12″ sheet I cut after the felting process was complete, as you can see the felted wool still frays easily this could be because of a low wool content or they could use another trip or two through the wash cycle to really get the fibers to lock.
Sure felt snobs will argue that felted wool is not a true felt because it started out it’s life as a woven fabric rather than as wool roving or batting. But since I am the only felt freak you’re ever likely to meet you have my permission to call it whatever you like.
On a related note, I finally got around to making that felt bird!
* No actual usable pants were harmed in the making of this blog post.