Monday, March 29, 2010

Felted Balls

To make Betz White's Pussy Willow Rainbow I needed felt balls.  Betz suggested buying from Ornamentea or from Wooly Fabulous

Wooly Fabulous is based in Toronto, but currently only has a pattern for making felted balls available.  I am interested in her ideas, but not ready to purchase the pattern yet.  Ornamentea has felted balls in many colours and several sizes.  Their prices seem to be fair and shipping is not too prohibitive.

Being adventurous, I decided to at least try to make my own.  I have a lot of different colours of pure wool and even some wool roving to work with.  I quickly settled on using my wool yarn which I wound into tiny balls. I used a sharp tapestry needle to sew the end in.

I used a pair of pantyhose to keep each ball seperate during the wash.  Acrylic yarn was used to tie and wrap each ball in place.  This should keep the balls from felting together.

I put the whole thing in a laundry bag and tossed it in the wash on my long and hot sanitizing cycle (2 hours).

I'm not going to lie.  This whole process was a bit tedious and time consuming. I spent a whole evening making the balls and a while putting them into the pantyhose, another 2 hours on the the wash cycle as well. 

I think next time I will buy my felted balls, but I wanted to at least try this to see if it would work.

Has anyone out there tried the Wooly Fabulous pattern?  If so, I'd like to hear your opinions.  The pattern description is very cryptic.  It doesn't tell me what materials are required (ie. Can I use my front loading High Efficiency washing machine?) or how long the whole process will take.  I understand maybe she is being secretive to protect her method, but it gives me the feeling a cheesy infomercial gives...  I'd love to believe, but would also love to hear from anyone who has successfully used the pattern.

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