WHAT IS FELT: Felt is the oldest known textile. There is a legend that the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters while fleeing from harassment and at the end of their journey, the movement and sweat had turned the wool into felt socks. Felt–making is a 6,000–year–old technique that’s entirely done by hand. Starting with high–quality New Zealand wool, artisans form the material into the desired shape, press with soap and water, then roll and wring the felt to help strengthen its fibers. After drying in the sun, each piece is stitched by hand. For details like polka dots and patterns, a special needle is used to push pieces of wool into the felt.
WET FELTING: In the wet felting process, hot water is applied to layers of wool, while repeated agitation and compression causes the fibers to hook together or weave together into a single piece of fabric. Wrapping the properly arranged fiber in a strong, textured material, such as a bamboo mat or burlap, will speed up the felting process.
NEEDLE FELTING: Needle felting is a method of creating felted objects without using water. The special needles used have notches along the shaft of the needle that catch fibers and tangle them with other fibers to produce felt.