I know it’s barely Thanksgiving, but it’s time to start making felted wool ornaments! They make great hostess gifts for holiday parties and are perfect for ornament exchanges.
Warning: once you start making these, it may be really hard to stop.
Decorating felted wool balls with felt cutouts and embroidery floss makes for the perfect portable project. I’ve often kept a baggie of the supplies in my purse to pull out and work on when waiting for an appointment or watching tv.
After making the felted wool balls, everything you need to decorate the ornaments fits in a baggie; a couple felted balls, several small pieces of wool felt, embroidery floss, scissors, a crewel needle and a couple straight pins to hold things in place for stitching.
To make the wool balls you will need:
wool yarn- this is a great way to use up leftover yarn
colored wool roving- my favorite place to order roving is from Outback Fibers.
Washing machine, laundry detergent
Step 1: Roll yarn into golf ball sized yarn balls as a base for the roving to be wrapped around. I usually use leftover wool yarn for the center because I know it will felt better, but in a pinch I have used yarn of fibers too.
Tip: Wind yarn into oblong shapes to make a berry shaped ornament.
Step 2: unwind and pull off a tuft of roving, by holding the bulk of the roving in one hand, grasp the end with your other hand and gently pull off “tufts” roughly 5-6 inches in length. Spread the fibers into a thin flat layer with all the strands going in one direction.
Changing the colors of roving in the layers will create a heathered multicolored wool ball.
Step 3: Wrap the roving blanket around a yarn ball, making sure there is full coverage of fluffy roving with no bare or thin spots.
Step 4: Close your hand around the roving covered yarn ball and slip it into a pantyhose, bringing it all the way to the toe.
Gently remove your hand from around the ball, pulling the hose tightly around the roving ball, then tie a small piece of yarn to secure the ball in place. Place the next ball into the pantyhose after the first and repeat the process.
Step 5: place the pantyhose wrapped balls in the washing machine, set water to lowest level and hottest temperature setting. Add about a tablespoon of detergent, the exact measurement is not crucial, but soap is important in the felting process. I usually run the wash on a long cycle, the more agitation the better the felting.
Step 6: Snip the tied yarn between the balls, gently peel away the hose removing the ball and roll the ball in your hands to smooth the fibers.
Set the felted balls to dry on a towel before stitching or pop them in the dryer for about 15 minutes.
Use wool-rayon blend felt to cut shapes of leaves, flowers or any other shapes to decorate the balls.
I like using wool-rayon felt because it feels wonderful to stitch, it also comes in rich and beautiful colors. Wool-rayon felt is not as common in stores as acrylic felt and if you don’t have a source for good felt nearby, you can choose from 56 colors at Prairie Point Junction.
They even look pretty simply stitched with beads too.