Felting Techniques Series - Part 2 Cobweb Felting
A Fiberartsy.com Tutorial
Last week in Part 1, I showed you How to Wet Felt a piece of Fabric from Roving.This week, you will learn step by step how to make a beautiful cobweb felted scarf.
What is cobweb felting? Just like the name suggests it creates a felted fabric with a ‘cobwebby’ texture – thin areas and even holes!
Come back next week for Part 3 where I show you how to Nuno Felt a Shawl
Step 1: Supplies Needed
Wool or Alpaca Roving – appr. 3 ounces, a bit longer than your final desired scarf
Matchstick blind or Bubble wrap
Dish Detergent (not generic)
Plastic soda bottle
Most of you know that I usually use bubble wrap for rolling. Well, for larger felting projects, I prefer to use Matchstick Blinds. The fiber felts faster than with bubble wrap and the blind is easier to use. If you don’t have one, no worries, the bubble wrap works just fine.
Step 2: Thin Out Roving
Cover your table with plastic and lay down the blind or one strip of bubble wrap. Spread out and thin your roving by gently pulling it apart, keeping the fibers attached to each other but leaving gaps and thin areas. The width you want should be a little wider than your final scarf to allow for shrinkage. Take your time with this and try not to leave large holes. Small ones are fine and add to the texture. Do this for the entire length of roving. Lay this out on the blind or bubble wrap.
If you want fringe at the ends of your scarf, go ahead and separate the fiber now. If you don’t want fringe, move on to the next step.
Step 3: Wet the Roving
Fill your bottle with hot water and add a few squirts of soap. Partially cover the bottle opening with your thumb and generously sprinkle the entire scarf. (You can also poke holes in the bottle cap). Place a piece of bubble wrap or plastic on top of the roving and with the flats of your hands, begin working the water into the fiber. Add more water as needed. You want the fiber to be completely saturated with water. Dry fiber won’t felt!
If you’re doing fringe, make sure this is also wet and again separate the strands, if needed.
Step 4: Rolling
Here comes the workout! If you’re using a blind, begin at one end and tightly roll up your scarf. If you’re using bubble wrap, place a second strip on top of your scarf and roll it up from one end. Tie in 2 or 3 places with scrap yarn or nylon hose. Place your hands on the blind (bubble wrap) and begin rolling back and forth, all the way from your fingertips to your elbows, gradually increasing pressure. Roll about 250-300 times. Yes, you read that right! If you’re using bubble wrap, you may need to roll 400 times…sorry :/
Step 5: Pinch Test
Unroll the package and check the felting progress by doing a pinch test. Just like it sounds, with your thumb and forefinger, pinch a bit of fiber and gently pull up. Is it holding together? If yes, move on to the next step. If no, continue rolling.
Step 6: Finish the Fringe
Do you want your fringe to stay flat or would you prefer it rolled? If flat, move on to the next phase. I wanted mine rolled so I took each piece of fringe and rolled it back and forth between my hands – just like you used to do with Playdoh!
Step 7: Fulling
If you read my other felting tutorials, you know what’s next….throwing! This will full your fiber, meaning it will shrink and complete the felting process. Remember, at this point, your scarf is still very soft so handle it GENTLY! You don’t want to stretch out the holes too much. So, very very carefully, pick up your scarf, wad it up and let it fall on the table. No force here, just gently let it drop. Pick it up and drop it again. Do this about 50 times. Now, carefully lay it out and pull apart any areas that are not supposed to be sticking together. You’ll know it when you see it. Continue throwing your scarf until it’s holding together well when you pull on the fiber. It will give, but shouldn’t come apart. You will also notice that your fiber has shrunk and puckered.
Step 8: Finishing
Rinse out all of the soap and hang your new scarf up to dry! Voila! You just made your first Cobweb Felted Scarf! If any of these steps are unclear, please let me know. And if you try this tutorial, please send me a photo of your creation!