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Felting is a fantastic way to expand your artistic abilities and create great works around your home. Whether you are a beginner to felting or a pro, this needle felting wool guide to help you select the best wool roving for felting to use on your projects!
What Exactly Is Needle Felting?
So, for those of you new to needle felting what exactly is it? Well the definition is that it is the craft of sculpting a piece of wood using special “felting” needles that are barbed. Once you continually stab the wool for a long period of time, over and over again, the wool fibers begin to mesh together and create a new textile object. People use needle felting to create toys, crafts, puppets, and dolls- whatever comes to mind! What really attracts a lot of people to this kind of artistry is that it does not take a lot of space, and it is easy to learn. Once you master it, you will be able to create all types of art that can easily be placed around the house.
For a much more comprehensive background on the needle felting craft, read this: What Is Needle Felting?
The Four Stages of Processed Wool
So generally, wool can be bought in one of 4 stages of processing. It is under these categories that the various kinds of wool are housed. So, let’s go through them all so you have more of an idea.
This is the most bare-boned type of wool. It comes with all the dirt and lanolin of the wool because this is coming straight off the sheep’s back. This is the most organic and natural wool you can use for felting. However, you do need to process and clean it yourself, which can be a time-consuming endeavour. But many people do decide to use raw fleece as it is a satisfying experience, using something that is so natural.
Locks (Raw Fleece that is Clean)
This is just like the first type of processed wool, except that it already has been cleaned. All the dirt and lanolin will be cleaned off and these are some of the curliest locks that you can find for adding certain effects to your art project. These types of fleece have been washed but have yet to be combed and straightened, so you still are getting that natural sort of feeling that the raw fleece was delivering to you.
These are locks of raw fleece that have already been fully washed and combed, pushing all the fibers of the fleece in the same direction. This is some of the most used type of wool and the one that you usually would find in a store. These are also referred to as “Tops” as they come in really long lengths and are usually wrapped up in a ball. This is one that is primarily used for needle felting and since all the fibers are going in the same direction, they are a lot easier to use, especially when crafting something very specific.
The final type of wool that you can purchase has already been washed and carded. What makes Batts wool unique is that the fibers are all going in various directions, unlike the roving wool, and come in chunky sheets at the store. This type of wool is also used when needle felting as they are great for establishing a core shape. While not as popular as buying tops, batts are a great way to become fantastic at felting.
Selecting Wool Roving for Felting
When you are introduced to a new hobby, there are typically a few terms that you have to familiarize yourself with as part of the learning process. You are learning to use new tools, learning new techniques, and this can open up a fun, new world that you never knew existed before. Needle felting, sometimes called dry felting, is an easy-to-learn craft that is inexpensive and has almost limitless possibilities when it comes to potential creations.
A lot of artistic pursuits are quite expensive, but needle felting requires very few tools and the materials you work are reasonably priced, especially online. So basically, in addition to the desire, you need a few tools and you are ready to embark on a completely new artistic venture that allows you to create all sorts of three dimensional figures. Many choose to buy a basic kit when they start out needle felting, and while this often comes with all the tools and accessories you need to get started, it often doesn’t come with the material with which you will be crafting.
What follows is a guide on how to choose the right material for your project needs, as well as a brief review on three different sets of richly hued, high-quality wool fiber sets that are great starting points for material collections.
Things to Consider Before Selecting Wool
Wool is, well, not just a term that refers to one thing. It does, of course, refer to the fiber that is sheared from sheep, but it comes available at different stages of processing and production. These different types of wool are used for different purposes, but they are all included under the general umbrella of the term “wool.”
‘Tops’ and ‘Roving Wool’
For needle felting, you want what is called tops or roving wool. These terms are often interchangeable, meaning roughly the same thing, but in some places, these two terms are used for different lengths of fiber, so be sure that you are getting the right thing.
Roving wool is wool that has been washed and combed. The fibers are all combed in the same direction and are generally available in long lengths that have been rolled up into balls. These fibers can be dyed any desired hue to provide a rainbow of colors for your crafting projects.
Level of Processed-ness
It should also be noted how important it is that you ensure that the wool fiber you are getting is roving, otherwise you may end up with something that hasn’t been processed enough to be suitable for needle felting. There are different types of wool that come in basically raw form that have not been washed or combed. You want to avoid this unless you plan on processing your own roving wool.
Some people use batting wool, but this is a bit trickier to work with, so isn’t necessarily suitable for those who are first starting out with needle felting. This is why so many people recommend roving wool for beginning felters who are looking to source quality wool for their projects.
Other Feltable Fibers
It should be noted that needle felting is possible using the fibers from other animals, such as alpaca hair, but this is a lot harder to come by and much more expensive than wool.
SOLEDI Fiber Wool Yarn Roving, Set of 36 Colors
SOLEDI is a trusted and reputable maker of a variety of different fiber-based art supplies, as well as tools and accessories, and much more. They have a wide range of different sets of roving wool available in a rainbow of colors that are high quality and perfectly suited for needle felting. The Fiber Wool Yarn Roving set is a set of 36 different vibrantly dyed roving wool pieces.
This is an incredible deal for quality roving wool, which has been expertly dyed and is ready for crafting use. The wool comes stored in re-sealable plastic pouches for easy storage, as well as to make it easier to choose your colors. Each bag contains roughly 3 grams of wool fiber.
Opount Set of 36 Colors Wool Roving Fiber Yarn Roving DIY Craft Materials
Opount is a high quality maker of a wide range of trinket items and art materials that are high quality and affordably priced. Their set of 36 different colors is a great starter set of roving wool material perfect for needle felting. This is a great value for the beginning crafter and gives you access to a rainbow of hues.
The set contains 36 unique colors in rich hues with color choices ranging from vivid bright tones to pastels, as well as earth tones. The variation in colors gives you a great range of wool for different projects. The wool is soft, pre-combed, and immediately ready for use. The roving wool is Merino wool, known for its quality and softness. There is approximately 3 grams of roving wool of each color included in the set.
Zealor Needle Felting Wool, Set of 45 Colors Wool Fiber Wool Yarn Roving for Needle Felting
Zealor is another trusted brand that is best known for their lines of different art and crafting supplies. They are known for making high-quality products that are affordably priced. Their Needle Felting Wool Set is an incredibly value; it is roving wool fiber that is perfectly suited for both needle felting as well as hand spinning your own thread.
The set includes 45 different, vibrantly dyed colors, making it a great choice for those who are looking for a wide selection as a nice starting point. There are 3 grams of each color included in the set, and they are each kept in their own packaging.
A Wooly Conclusion
When it comes to wool, as you can see, not all wool is created equal. For needle felting, you want to look for a high-quality roving wool, which is wool at the stage in processing where it has been washed and combed. This is the perfect type of wool for pretty much any needle felting project.
To get started, you want to look for a quality set of roving wool that is soft, pre-combed, and richly hued. Sets of roving wool, such as those we briefly review here, are a great starting point for needle felters who want the ability to customize and create a variety of projects.