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What’s A Pre-Felt? The Q&A Series

Aug 17, 2016

Am I happy to be back!!!

What started out as a couple of technology problems, ended up as a great example of Murphy’s Law. After having taken my tablet – where I store eBooks, notes, my calendar, and all sorts of information – to repair, my Internet stopped working, I had huge difficulties in getting it fixed because it’s August (and everything stops in August), and – last but not least – my laptop started giving me problems.

So, I convinced myself it was time to take it easy, and just let things take care of themselves. And, in the process, I had to skip a week of posting here.

But I’m back to stay! And I’m back with something new. I wanted to try a new format to answer some of the most frequent questions about felt, that don’t require showing a process on video.

So, today I’m going to dive into the following questions:

  • What’s a pre-felt?
  • How do you make it?
  • Why does it matter?

A felted piece that isn’t completely felted is called a pre-felt, so it’s just the stage before the wool is fully felted.

You can buy it ready for use or make it yourself.

The industrial one you can buy is also called needle punch pre-felt, because it’s made with machines that use a lot of felting needles. But it is also produced with wool fibers. It’s not synthetic. It has two great advantages: 1) it comes in a lot of different colors and 2) it’s thin and very easy to use.

The handmade one is crafted with two or more layers, using wool tops or batts, and exactly the same process I showed you on the videos on how to felt a sheet (check it out for wool batts and for wool tops). Of course, it involves more work than an industrial one, but you can make it in any color variation and the thickness you need.

A pre-felt can be felted to different degrees. But there are two important things to take into account:

  1. It has to be sufficiently felted, so that it doesn’t fall apart
  2. It has to be sufficiently loose in order to allow more wool to bind with it.

The degree to which you should felt it depends on the project you’re planning to make.

If you’re going to use the pre-felt to cut and make patterns on another piece of felt, it just needs to be strong enough to be cut.

If you’re planning on a project that involves techniques like fabric manipulation, you’ll need a stronger pre-felt.

Here are some great ways you can use pre-felts:

Photo 1: On these bags I’ve applied a white pre-felt to make patterns that have straight lines

Photo 2: I’ve used pre-felts to make the flower pin in my last video

Photo 3: Annette Quentin-Stoll uses pre-felts that are manipulated to create a lot of different and interesting structures

Photo 4: Some of Masha Ginsburg’s nuno felted work is made with pre-felts

And I could go on and on, because the possibilities are endless.

If this is a topic you’re interested in, I suggest you check out the details, because very soon I’ll be presenting new projects that are exactly based on pre-felt. I’m really excited to bring you new ideas on how much you can do with them 🙂

What about you? How do you use pre-felts in your projects?

I’d also be really grateful if you can share your preferences about the formats I’m using to bring you information. Do you prefer video or would you rather read a blog post?

See you soon!

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