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Making Prefelts

By Fiona Duthie

How to Work With Prefelt

This article is a part of Fiona Duthie’s How To Work With Prefelt in the Fall 2010 issue of Living Crafts. The article, rich with information on What is Prefelt, how to make scarves and hats with prefelt, as well as a section on How to Work with Children and Prefelt, did not allow room for this important part, which is How to Make Your Own Prefelt. As one of our subscribers said on our facebook page: “Making prefelt is easy. It is like bad felting!” Well, it is easy, with Fiona’s instructions. At the end please be sure to leave a comment so you can win two pounds of wool from Decadent Fibers to make it in any color of prefelt your heart desires. Enjoy!

Here’s how to make your own prefelt, in Fiona’s words:

Making your own prefelts is so easy- and opens up so many opportunities for playing with colors, fibers and textures. Try using two or three different colors in layers; using wool for one layer and then another fiber like alpaca or angora for the next; or making nuno prefelt with a layer of wool and a layer of silk fabric. Handpainted rovings make beautiful prefelts, and make efficient use of the roving when layered onto solid wools. Two layers of wool will be fine for prefelts used for surface designs. For more substantial prefelt, use 3-4 layers. It is wonderful to have a collection of these made and ready to chose from, when the urge to felt arises!

Work on a sheet of bubble wrap.

Lay out a thin layer of wool roving. Use your thumbs to pull open the wool shingles. Overlap each row a little to ensure an even layer.

wool roving

Lay out a second layer of wool roving, with the fibers perpendicular to the last layer. Here you can use a different color or fiber.

second layer of wool roving

You can make several at a time, by laying out more of these squares on your felting surface.

you can make several at a time

Cover with a polyester sheer, and sponge on the felting solution (1 tablespoon dish soap + 1 quart water). This gives even coverage of soap and water, without adding too much! You can also follow the wetting instructions described in the Red Rock Prefelt Scarf.

sponge with felting solution

Press down with your sponge, and with your hands; at first pushing down and then using a gentle rubbing motion. Do this over the entire surface.

Remove the sheer. It will lift easily if the wool is wet enough.

Make sure it is good and wet

removing the sheer

Tightly roll up in the bubblewrap. Roll for five minutes, gently at first and gradually applying more pressure. You want the fibers to have entangled, creating a thin, coherent textile. It will still be a bit fragile. It is important not to overfelt, since you need those fibers to mingle with your base fibers or fabrics when using in your finished piece.

Tightly roll in bubblewrap

Rinse carefully under warm running water and lay flat to dry. Keep as a whole prefelt length or cut into desired sizes.

Finished prefelt pictures:
finished prefelt

finished prefelt

Wool Giveaway

Our sponsor for today’s project is Decadant Fibers offering two of their Gourmet Jelly Rolls, made and dyed in the U.S.A. in any color of your choice, enough to make yards of prefelt and other felting projects of your dreams! We’ve used this quality fiber for some of the projects in Living Crafts, including the Felted Farm Co-op in the Spring 2010 issue, as well as Fiona’s famous [by now] wool roving rugs in the Winter 2011 issue. Each roll is valued at $40 and is one pound in all colors of the rainbow. You choose which two color combinations! Enter a comment on this post by 8 p.m. EST, Tuesday, March 1, 2011 for a chance to win two Gourmet Jelly Rolls valued at $80.

And the winner is…

Joanne Libby 2011/03/01 at 10:40 am 

  I really like these contest you have. The wool looks beautiful and i would love to play with it !

Posted by Living Crafts on Feb 27, 2011 12:10 PM | 616 Comments

616 Responses to “Making Prefelts”

  1. Kim Budash says:

    Please include me in the drawing, would love to win this. Thanks for the chance….

  2. rachel steinberg says:

    really bummed I missed this giveaway! oh well – love the tutorial!

  3. Amber says:

    Who won this one? The article doesn’t say when a winner is being chosen. I’m guessing it wasn’t me, but I still like to know who did (in case it’s a friend I can congratulate!)

  4. Amy Winkle says:

    Ooh, what a great idea! And a beautiful wool giveaway!

  5. Kristin W says:

    Where is the winner posted at? I don’t see it. Thanks.

    • Living Crafts says:

      Dear Kristin, Winner is chosen and the name will be announced soon. Our original winner did not respond so we had to use the randomizer to select another so it took awhile. Thanks for checking. Pardis

  6. geraldine jones says:

    thank you – I shall now try i

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