Best Wool for Felting
What are the best wools to use for felting?
What is the Best Wool to Use for Felting?
High quality felt is only achieved by choosing the right types of wool for your felting projects. Not all wool has the same felting capacity and some varieties are much better suited for it than others. We've been researching the best types of wool to use for felting, along with recommendations for equipment and a rough estimate of how much wool to expect from the average sheep. Here’s what we’ve learned ranked from beginner to advanced.
Easy/Beginner - Merino Wool
Merino wool is a popular choice for both beginner and experienced felters because of its fineness and texture. Merino is also very soft and luxurious, which makes it perfect for creating next to the skin items such as scarves, hats, and mittens. Working with this wool does require a bit of practice and patience to get the hang of. Felting begins by laying out a thin layer of wool roving on a foam pad or similar surface. Using a felting needle to poke and prod the fibers, a mat begins to form a solid piece of felt. This solid piece of felt can be used to create anything you can imagine to sculpt with it! Merino yields stunning felted creations and is the go-to favorite of the majority of felters.
Beginner/Intermediate - Corriedale Wool
If you're looking for a more affordable but still high-quality option for felting, Corriedale wool is a great choice. This type of wool is a cross between Merino and Lincoln sheep, so it has a nice balance between softness and durability. Corriedale wool felts quickly and evenly and it's a great choice for both 2D and 3D felting projects. Felting with Corriedale wool requires a bit more effort compared to Merino wool but less effort than Shetland or Wensleydale wool. The felting process for Corriedale wool takes a little more agitation but is still approachable for both beginners and experts alike. Corriedale wool provides an excellent balance of affordability, ease of use, and versatility to felting enthusiasts.
Intermediate - Shetland Wool
Shetland wool is the right choice if you're looking for a more traditional or rustic look. This type of wool has a coarser texture than Merino wool and takes a bit more effort to felt. The end result will be a beautifully textured piece that has a lot of character, making it a favorite for creating textured backgrounds or landscapes in felted art. Felting Shetland wool requires a bit more effort and time, but the results are worth it. Tons of texture and the rustic-feeling creates pieces that feel amazing in the hand. It's a perfect wool for those looking for an old-world feel or touch to their projects.
Advanced - Wensleydale Wool
Wensleydale wool is a long, lustrous fiber that is perfect for creating flowing and dramatic pieces. The long fibers of Wensleydale wool works wonderfully for creating textures, such as curly locks or woolly clouds in landscapes, but can be more challenging to work with for those new to felting. Wensleydale wool is highly sought after and has a difficulty rating of intermediate to expert due to the length of the fibers.
Tools for Felting Wool & Getting Wool to Felt
A single Merino sheep can produce around 10-15 pounds of wool per year, while a Wensleydale sheep will likely yield between 8-12 pounds. Some breeds, such as Lincoln or Romney, can produce up to 20 pounds of wool per year, making them great choices for larger-scale felting projects or starting a home based wool felting business.
Learned these lessons the hard way. 👇
Order a few pounds of roving from a homesteader on Etsy or Ebay to try out each type. Gather up the bare minimum of tools listed below and give it a few practice runs before running out to buy sheep. 🥰
Whatever type of wool you choose to work with, there are some basic tools that you'll need to get started with felting.
First and foremost, you'll need some felting needles. Felting needles come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but for most projects, a large, coarse needle will work well.
You'll also need some foam pads or surfaces to work on, as felted wool will easily stick to most surfaces.
Other helpful tools include scissors, wire cutters and pliers.
All of these tools can be easily picked up at yard sales or junk stores. You don't need brand new, see advice above.
With some elbow grease and a bit of creativity, felting is a fun and rewarding hobby that can be enjoyed by crafters of all skill levels.
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