Welcome to the second episode of the Q&A sessions.
Today I have an important question about the basics of wet felting. MorningCoffee left this comment on my YouTube video “Felting sheets with wool batting”. Even though I’ve already given her a short answer, I’d like to say something more about it, since it’s a very frequent question. So, MorningCoffee says:
“I have a question. I don’t know if it was covered already, so sorry if it has. But is wool batt the same as “pre-felt” sheets?”
And the answer is NO. The confusion might come from the fact that they look similar, but they’re actually very different products.
I’ve already spoken a bit about wool batts and pre-felts in a couple of my blog posts and I’ll include the links to those below. But I’ve never addressed this directly.
Now, I avoid using a lot of technical terms in my videos because I don’t want to overwhelm you. Especially if you’re just starting out. But using the right terms for the different wool types is really important. That allows you to distinguish them right from the start, and to make the right choices when buying the wool for your projects.
This is also the reason why – when I offer live courses – I always include the wool. I don’t want to risk that people don’t get the right results from the course due to working with a wool type that is inadequate for what they’re felting.
Anyway, back to the question.
Now, I’d rather compare wool batts to wool tops to start, and then go over to the pre-felts.
Wool batting looks like this. It’s been cleaned, dyed and carded. You can get it in big sheets or rolls. The fibers haven’t been straightened and they run in all directions.
Wool tops look like this. They’ve been cleaned, dyed and carded, and then combed. That means the fibers have been straightened and are aligned in one direction. Usually you get them rolled up into balls.
They can both have exactly the same quality. They’re just processed differently. To wet felt them, you also lay them in different ways. If you want to know more about how to use both types, please refer to the links to the videos below.
A pre-felt is something entirely different. It’s already gone through a process of partial felting. It can be bought in sheets or made by hand.
The type you buy is sometimes also called needle punch pre-felt. It’s produced by machines that use lots of felting needles to entangle the fibers. It looks like this. If you look closely, you can see the holes made by the needles.
A handmade pre-felt is a piece of wool that’s been partially wet felted. For more information on how to prepare one of these, please refer to my video “How To Make A Pre-felt”. You can find the link below.
In both cases, the wool is only felted enough, so that the fibers hold together, but it has to be sufficiently loose to allow new fibers to bind to it. Pre-felts can be used in a lot of different ways. For example, to make patterns that have straight lines. I give you a couple of examples in my blog post “What’s a pre-felt”. You can find the link below.
I hope this video has answered your questions, and you can now distinguish between wool batts and pre-felts.
Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment if you have any questions about wet felting. I’ll be happy to help.
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