I get asked this question all the time. People want to know if they are the same or different.
The answer…they are two different things…let me explain!
Felted Wool: This fabric that has been woven on a loom. It needs to be shrunk so the final fabric can be manipulated without fraying. It can be easily cut and used in wool applique projects. The process is fairly easy.
How to felt wool: Whether felting wool fabric or a wool sweater from Goodwill, the process is the same. Felting wool requires three conditions — heat, moisture and friction — which can be provided by your home washing machine and dryer. Here are a few tips for successful felting:
- Use a hot-water wash, a cold-water rinse, and the usual amount (per load) of whatever laundry soap you have on hand.
- Set your home washing machine for the load setting that will allow free movement of your goods, but don’t use too much water or they will float at the top and not get enough agitation or friction. If you desire a thicker, more shrunken finish, wash the sweaters in a load with your regular laundry. The weight of jeans and towels agitates the wool and enhances the felting process.
- Dry the sweaters in the dryer on high heat. This step tightens the felt further, and sometimes makes felt that lacks body become full of it!
- If, after one cycle of washing and drying, you still haven’t achieved the desired felted texture, try repeating the process one or twice more.
- After your sweaters have felted enough to hold a crisp edge when cut, remove them promptly from the dryer, smooth them out, and stack them flat to store until you’re ready to use them. This keeps wrinkles at bay and the need for ironing to a minimum. It also allows for maximum visibility of your material palette.
When drying make sure to not dry completely. You don’t want to get wrinkles to set in by drying completely. Now you are ready to cut your material for your project!
Wool felt is not a WOVEN product. Felt is a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together. Felt can be made of natural fibers such as wool or animal fur, or from synthetic fibers or wood pulp-based rayon.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO FELT THIS PRODUCT! If you put it through the washer like wool fabric you will end up with a Brillo pad!!!! LOL
You can however create a fleece-like look by getting it wet, squeezing out the water and putting in the dryer on regular setting. Again do not over dry! You can learn more about wool felt at National Nonwovens
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When should I use wool felt or felted wool? It depends! Wool fabric is more expensive then wool felt (unless you are getting sweaters and felting them). If you are just starting out you may want to purchase a kit with wool felt. Some people just love wool and they do not want to use anything else!
Can you use both? Absolutely! There are no rules. I have used wool for the appliques and then attached them to a wool felt background.
You can also applique either on to cotton fabric and turn it into a quilt. I tend to do this a lot.
There you have it! I hope that helps! You can keep up to day on what I am doing in my studio by following me on Facebook
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Happy Creating! Anita