Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Entitlement

Mittens. The lovely, rescued, "spirited" kitten. 

I've never met such a naughty cat. She has knocked things off of every shelf in my house. She has shredded entire rolls of toilet paper. I search for things for days only to find that she's carried them off and left them in odd places.

Mostly, she just goes where she wants, when she wants, brushing barriers aside. I've adopted Mittens. I'm hoping to be able to adopt her philosophy.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Easy Felted Soap Project

Very recently I decided that I wanted to try wet felting.  I knew I would need an extremely easy project since I am craft-challenged. I found many methods for felted soap online and decided that was where I would start.  Here is how I made my first wet felted project.

What is Wet Felting?

Until recently, I have never heard of wet felting.  I have a very artistic and exceptionally crafty friend.  She does felting with a needle. The projects I've seen that she has in progress are going to be gorgeous. It made me want to try felting. Yet, felting with a needle seems more difficult that something I should start with.

In my review of Wysteria Editions wool roving, I write a bit about what felting is.  But as a reminder, wet felting is the process of using soapy water, compression, and friction to turn wool or woolen fibers into material.  Beginning wet felting projects include coasters, bookmarks, and felted bars of soap. 

More difficult projects include clothing items, slippers, wall hangings, blankets, and so on. I hope to make a suitable pair of slippers for myself before too long.

What is felted soap?

Felted soap is a bar of soap that wool is placed over with the wet felting method. The end result is a bar of soap with a permanent piece of gently exfoliating material over. It eliminates the use of a loofah or washcloth. 

While looking at wet felting tutorials and articles, I saw some feedback that some folks didn't like the idea of their soap wrapped in wool.  I love the idea. I prefer bars of soap over body wash, except that bars of soap seem to get used up so quickly. According to the folks who like felted soaps, the felting helps the bars of soap last longer. Once I saw the beautiful soaps by Apartment Therapy and Thistlewood Farm,  I was completely hooked. 

This video by Traditional Living is a tutorial of how to make felted soap, along with an example of what the wool is like as the soap has been used.

The process I used

I had already purchased beautiful Wysteria Editions wool roving in anticipation of having time to do an easy project.
Wysteria Editions Wool Roving
I located a bar of soap that I like but have had in storage for a long time.  You can see that a previously good-looking bar of soap has become chipped and worn by being in storage and going through moves.  What a perfect candidate for being covered in wool.
Any moisturizing and scented soap is a good choice

I pulled bits of wool roving to thin and flat sheets, and layered them over the soap. I added little bits of "twisted" roving for the stripes.

I carefully sprinkled the covered soap with hot tap water - as hot as I could tolerate safely - and patted the roving flat. Because I didn't have the end of a used stocking, as most folks use when felting soap, but had a placemat that was the equivalent of a sushi rolling mat (used in other projects), I used the placement for "rolling" my soap. Counting how many times I "rolled" it and turning the soap to roll it for approximately the same number of times on the next side. Then I patted and rubbed the corners and edges; although they had already shrunk and felted nicely. 

During the process of "rolling" and rubbing it through the mat

After I finished, I allowed my soap to dry outside for most of the day, then inside on a rack overnight. As you can see, my wool felted up nicely, attaching the bar of soap even around the corners and the edges.  
My finished soap

I love my new felted soap. I am exciting about ordering moisturizing and scented soaps so that I can make more little treasures for pampering myself. 

If you are looking for an easy and beautiful craft to learn, you may want to join me in wet felting.

Wool Roving Review - Wysteria Editions

Wysteria Editions Wool Roving
I completed my first wet felting project today and am thrilled at how the Wysteria Editions wool roving performed.  Since I am an extreme wet felting beginner, I guess I should have titled this as "wool roving for beginners".  Wysteria Editions was certainly an easy and beautiful wool to use for my first project.

What is Wool Roving?

Roving is a natural fiber that has been prepared and made into very loose, slightly twisted, bundles of fluffy fiber. The same fiber that is often then spun into yarn.  Wool roving is wool that is at this point in the process and "woolen" if it is made from other materials.

What is Wet Felting?

Let's begin with the definition of the word "felt".

Wysteria Editions 
Felt as a noun:
Felt is a non-woven fabric of wool, fur or hair. Or an article made of this material.

Felt as a verb:
making the material into felt, matting or pressing the material together, or covering an item with felt.

Felting is not a new thing. In fact, it's a very old process and has been done in many cultures. There are a variety of different ways to felt.  I chose wet felting. Wikipedia gives a great description of different felting methods and the definition of wet felting. Their definition is (in part) is:

"Warm soapy water is applied to layers of animal hairs
placed at 90 degree angles to one another. Repeated
agitation and compression causes the fibres to hook together
into a single piece of fabric."  Wikipedia

As a complete beginner, I chose to start with wet felting. I have soap and water. And I can compress, rub, and agitate.  The other helpful items are things such as a sushi rolling mat, plastic bubble wrap, and the ends of recycled pantyhose.

Wysteria Editions Wool Roving

I knew that I wanted to purchase some wool roving. I looked at one local craft store and found one bag of neutral bag of roving. I didn't yet know what project I wanted to do but I knew i didn't want just one off-white item.  In order to save myself the frustration of driving around on a wild goose chase to the various craft stores, I began searching Amazon.

During my search, I found the Wystria Editions 2 oz packs of beautifully colored wool roving.  There are so many colors to choose from that it was hard to decide. I like orange, so I chose a pack with some orange in it.  My order arrived quickly and exactly as pictured.

By that time, I had continued to watch tutorials online and decided that my first project would be felted soap. It seemed like the easiest project for a first project. Frankly, I expected to not be able to successfully get the wool to felt. However, this wool roving felted very quickly and evenly.  Perhaps that is because the Wysteria Editions is "ultra fine" wool roving. I will have to do some more research and experimenting.

I expected the wool roving to have thicker and thinner sections, as yarn does. Or some discoloration since it is a natural product. But I found that it pulled apart very evenly, was without lumps or bumps, and was evenly colored.

If you want to add some color to your felted project, I highly recommend the Wysteria Editions 2 oz pack of wool roving. As I begin to make larger items, I will look for larger packs of bulk wool roving. But you can know that I will order more of this beautifully colored fluff in the future.

For more wet felting ideas, you can join me on Pinterest and check out the many, many beautiful and informative articles.

My felted soap