wet felting is making me grinchy

why isn't it working? I'm working on my slippers with this wool. I'm laying my roving fibers criss cross applesauce, spritzing with hot soapy water and then rubbing the heck out of it and it's doing nothing feltlike. I decided to ditch the lining color but still a disaster. I need a xmas miracle. or maybe do some googling and see if there's any tips/hints out there for me.

heading over to vintage xmas crafts to cheer up. the colors alone are enough to lift my spirits. thanks doe-c-doe!

26 thoughts on “wet felting is making me grinchy

  1. Melissa H says:

    Not sure what you’re trying to achieve here but I find wet felting by hand a pain and have started doing it in my washing machine. Hold your roving hunk in your fist. Shove your fist into the bottom of some old nylon stockings. tie off the stockings. Toss in with a hot (not warm) load of wash. Voila but it will be a sphere. If you want something flat I read that using a palm sander works for agitation (with the wet stuff in plastic and the sander in a gfci outlet) but I have had no personal luck on this. The washing machine technique works especially well if you are felting around something solid. here’s a quick tut I wrote, not that you need it http://underconstructionblog.typepad.com/under_construction/2009/03/make-felt-rocks-in-the-washing-machine.html

  2. Christina says:

    Is it perhaps superwash roving for socks? That stuff will never felt.
    I’ve had better luck with a bowl of hot soapy water than spraying it from a bottle — dunk it it and scrub, scrub, scrub!

  3. Tina @ Squirrel Acorns says:

    What exactly are you trying to make? I dunk mine in a bowl of hot soapy water too. I just use hot water and dawn dish soap. If you are trying to do something open on one side, then you probably want some sort of resist, like a balled up piece of bubble wrap. I also like to get my initial piece held together in the beginning with a tiny bit of needle felting, and then start the wet felting process. If you are doing a sphere, then I agree that the washing machine / nylon method works great.

  4. Jennifer Tyler says:

    OH I hate when this happens. Just when you have an idea and want it to work and it doesn’t. It’s not fair. My only felting experience is in the washing machine which was semi-successful. As Dori the fish might say, “Just keep felting, just keep felting.” You’ll get it eventually. Thanks for the vintage craft link….it screams your style. Love it! Good luck with the felt.

  5. Joanna says:

    I’ve tried wet felting before and it worked for me, however I used room temperature soapy water instead of hot, I heard that felting happens regardless of temperature, and heat just speeds it up – but sometimes u want to do it slowly and in control..
    I’m not sure how u rubbed it, but here are a few tips from me:
    – use bubble wrapping paper, as the pattern and lay a piece on both top and bottom of wool
    – use a sushi mat and continue rolling
    – a section those swimming pool noodles will help make the rolling easier (or try rolling pin)
    hope it helps:)

  6. Joanna says:

    Forgot the mention that once it looks like it’s “half-felted”, you can remove the bubble wrapping paper pattern and start to shape your final product while continue felting
    i hope it all make sense^^ Good luck!

  7. Joey says:

    Yep too not sure what you are making. But when I wet felt by hand I tend to dip in hot soapy water until I get a good suds going and then work it by hand. From your picture it doesn’t look wet enough.. Good luck!

  8. Peanut says:

    My experience is pretty limited but I often found that things didn’t start to look really felted until I shocked my wool (rinse in hot then cold then hot then cold …). The felting has to have started before you can do the rinsing but I never found my stuff looked or felt really solid until I did it. Something about the temperature change makes the fibres really grab onto each other.
    Good luck. THe colours are cute anyway :)

  9. June says:

    Hot and cold – think temperature shocks. Rub with hot soapy water, then rub with icy cold water. The key to felting is agitation and temperature changes.
    I thought at first that you maybe had superwash wool, but the linked product obviously says it is feltable.

  10. robiewankenobie says:

    you can always stuff the little boogers and needle felt them. worst case scenerio? it won’t felt. but you’ll still be able to stab away. stabbing is cathartic.

  11. jen says:

    a friend of mine recently taught me wet felting and i must say, it was a whole lot of work (hard work) and all i ended up with is a mostly felted squiggly blob. i’d much rather sew existing felt fabric together!
    that being said, i hope you figure out something!

  12. marybeth says:

    My mom could tell you. She’s super at it. Maybe try putting them on Phoebe’s feet and then putting them in a tub of water and rub, rub, rub away like that- then they’ll start forming around her feet. Oh and I’d say add more water and soap, too.

  13. Ingrid says:

    The only felting I’ve done is by crocheting or knitting giant slippers and hats and felting them in the washing machine. I’ve not tried it with roving, but it looks like a lot of work. All of the suggestions here make sense, whether felting with roving or a knitted/crocheted item.

  14. Becka says:

    I wish I could watch what you are doing so I could offer better advice! I teach wet felting all the time.
    Looks like you’ve got Corriedale roving. That’s my favorite for beginners. You’re on the right track there.
    Make a few simple felted beads/balls to get the hang of it before you try to tackle slippers. Then your hands can get a feel for what the wool is doing.
    Hot soapy water is the best. Use nice soap rather than dish soap and your hands will be happier – I chop up a bar of handmade olive oil soap, dissolve in hot water and use that. Sprinkle water on with your finger tips rather than misting or spritzing. It needs to be pretty wet, but not dripping/sopping – I tell the kids I work with to “give your wool a shower not a bath”. Also use plenty of soap, the water should feel slimey and you should have lots of little bubbles as you work.
    I also think you have to work up to the point where you can rub the heck out of it. Start by squishing and patting. Get the fibers to start shrinking and felting by using just your finger tips. I tell my beginners to imaging you are patting a baby bunny. Once the fibers start to hang together, then you can start rubbing and eventually pressing harder and harder. It’s a process. If you start to rub it right away, sometimes the fibers just slide around because they are all slimey with the soap and they don’t get agitated enough to felt.
    If I had to make a guess just looking at your “disaster” photo I would say you were working too dry.
    Good luck! Hope some of this helps.

  15. Courtney Russell says:

    I think the slippers are too ambitious for a first wet felting project. I have a hard time getting things completely smooth wet felting. A quick and easy first project is to felt a bar of soap. That way, you have the suds built in.
    I always thought needle felting would be harder, but tried it recently (the second to the last post on my blog) and thought it was MUCH easier than wet felting.
    Good luck!

  16. Queen of Procrastination says:

    Beautiful colors you are using! Sorry you have to fight this cute project. It looks like it’s definitely fighting back. Best of luck with it. :)

  17. mamie says:

    wish i had tips but the only felting i have done is of the knitted kind and that went so so. i do hope it works because your tink deserves some faerie slippers. good luck. :)

  18. Nikki says:

    I hope you figure it out because those slippers are oh so cute! I had the some problem when wet felting and I haven’t given it another go since. I am saving some advice from these comments so I’ll have more success the next time around. Good luck!

  19. Caitlin Betsy Bell says:

    My favorite soap to use while wet felting is Murphy’s oil soap, it works a lot better than just dish soap and it is in the cleaning section at the grocery store. Shocking it between hot and cold water definitely helps and instead of just rubbing it with your hands using something textured like a rubber mat or bubble wrap helps. Also, Merino wool tends to felt quicker because of it’s longer fibers. It is just one time intensive process!

  20. Anita says:

    I hope you haven’t given up on your wet-felted slipper project. I agree, the slipper in the photo looks a little dry, but perfectly shaped. I like to use olive-oil soap in hot water, like a gel. I also like to use a glass washboard to scrub on. Bubble wrap, bamboo mat … all these work well, too. It is a lot of arm work, but it is worth it. I don’t think it’s too ambitious for a first wet-felting project for you! You are very talented. All your projects are lovely. Maybe you just thought it was going to take less time! Wet felting does take a long, long time!

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