How did the year go by so fast that the holidays are already upon us?
Well, I know for me, this time of year always gets me in the mood for making things. Whether it’s baking, stitching or simply cutting snowflakes, so I thought it would be a good time to repost my tutorial for making felted wool ornaments.
If you have never stitched a felt wool ball before, you’re in for a treat. These are a lot of fun to make.
To make the ornaments as shown in the 2008 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts, you first need to make felted wool balls.
Warning: once you start making these, it may be really hard to stop.
To make the wool balls you will need:
panty hose or tights (great use for old ones!)
wool yarn- this is a great way to use up leftover odd balls of yarn
colored wool roving- my favorite place to order roving is from Outback Fibers, the colors are gorgeous and reasonable.
Begin by rolling golf ball size yarn balls as a base for the felted ball. The finished ball will be slightly larger.
Wind yarn into oblong shapes to make a berry shaped ornament.
I usually use wool yarn because I know it will felt better, but in a pinch I have used other yarn fibers too.
Unwind a length of roving, while holding it in one hand, grasp the end portion with the 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.
Pull off another tuft of roving and layer it on top of the first at a 90 degree angle.
Repeat this process several more times, criss-crossing 4-6 thin layers.
When lifting the blanket of roving there should not be thin spots or holes.
Changing the colors of yarn in the layers will create a heathered multicolored wool ball.
Wrap the roving blanket you have created around a yarn ball, making sure there is full coverage of fluffy roving with no bare or thin spots.
Close the roving covered yarn ball in your hand and bring it to the foot of a knee hi panty hose. (buy cheap ones at the dollar store, or use those ancient ones in the back of your sock drawer) Gently remove your hand from around the ball and tie a knot with a small piece of yarn around the hose to secure the ball in place.
Add a small amount of detergent, about a tablespoon, the exact measurement is not crucial but soap is important in the felting process. I usually run it on a long cycle, the more agitation the better the felting.
This video tutorial for making felted pumpkins also shows how to make the basic felted ball.
When taking the chain of balls out of the machine, you’ll see little fibers have come though the mesh of the pantyhose. Snip the tied yarn between the balls, gently peel away the pantyhose removing the ball and roll the ball in your hands to smooth the fibers.
Let the balls dry before stitching, they’ll dry in a couple hours in the open air or if you’re impatient toss them in the dryer and let them bounce around for about 15 minutes.
These make great cat toys, but dogs will want to shred them to smithereens. My chihuahua thinks there is nothing more fun than stealing felted balls when I am not looking and peel all the fuzz off.
These are some of the ornaments I’ve made stitching wool felt onto the balls with embroidery floss.
Theses ornaments make a great portable project. Everything you need fits in a baggie; a couple felted balls, several small pieces of wool felt, embroidery floss, scissors, crewel needles and a couple pins to hold things in place when you begin to stitch.
They look pretty stitched simply with beads too.
These make great hostess gifts for holiday parties and are perfect for ornament exchanges.