Felt is the oldest textile fabric dating as far back
as 6300 BC. It is created from wool or other animal fibers that
are densely matted together. Felting predates spinning, weaving
or knitting and for centuries, this non-woven fabric has been
used for yurts, blankets, rugs, hats, boots and clothing. Felt
has the ability to protect against cold and insulate against heat,
and can absorb and hold moisture, and can be cut without fraying.
creation of felt using traditional techniques simply requires
wool, water, soap and two hands. A few other items can aid in
the creation of felt - but no machinery is required to create
this amazing fabric.
Wool may be used in it's natural state, or processed, dyed and
Wool is layed out in layers with each layer going in a different
direction. Hot water and soap is added, gentle agitation begins.
The process of agitation varies depending on the methods of the
felter and the piece being created, but the result is the same.
The more agitation, the tighter the resuting fabric. Wool fibers
have scales -- the process of felting causes these scales to grab
onto neighboring fibers and interlock.
emulate what people created with wet felting, industry created
the felting needle. Thousands of these needles were used together
to "needle punch" wool into a fabric and allow the creation
of felt without soap or water. The felting needles have small,
downward barbs that entangle the wool fibers together. It is from
this process that industrial felt is made - the kind you find
in the craft store, in your car's air filter, etc.
felting" is a term for using one or more felting needles
by hand to create flat felt or felt sculpture. The first use of
felting needles in this manner that we know of was in the early
1980's by artisans David & Eleanor Stanwood who took a tool
from the woolen mill industry to use on a small scale and began
needle felting by hand. David & Eleanor taught Ayala Talpai
who then created some fun books and shared needle felting with
others in the quest to promote the craft. Needle felting is currently
less practiced than wet felting, but it is gaining popularity
amongst crafters, doll makers, bear artists, and artisans.
Once you learn some basic techniques, needle felting is really
Needle felting is a form of soft sculpture that is fast and gratifying.
Our needle felting kits and booklets are designed for complete
beginners and will get you started with confidence!
If you would like to learn more about felting either traditional
or needle felting, email
us and I will get in touch with you.