Roz’s Recipe for Pre-felts

Note: These directions are for the merino roving. Other wools will require adjusting. I make four at a time, laying them out on one blind.

For each use about ¾ of an ounce of wool, in one or more colors, to yield piece about 12” x 12”

Layer:
bamboo mat or bubble wrap, bubbles down; I use bamboo.
sheet of thin plastic
wool in two layers—note: can be three thinner layers, layers can be different colors for a blended effect; lay out about a 16” x 16” piece.

Wet out:
I use plenty of water and soap; can be room temperature or pleasantly warm.
I spray it on, but putting in on through net or poly curtain is fine, whatever your usual method.

Roll:
5 minutes, starting slowly; unroll carefully and roll from opposite end
5 minutes, unroll carefully and turn 90 degrees
5 minutes, unroll and roll from opposite end
5 minutes.

The wool should be felted enough to be removed from the mat and the plastic.

(Note: I find that it works best if I stop here, rinse and dry the pieces, and return later for the next step. Maybe someone knows why this is true. Obviously the pieces have to be wet out a second time before proceeding.)

Palm the piece; also called spot-felting or hand-felting:

Place the felt between your palms, starting in one corner, and massage it in small sections, each for about 10 seconds, until you feel it tightening up and can see it shrinking.

At this point the emphasis is on pressing the wool between your hands with minimal rubbing. You can think of it as just rocking the wool between your palms. The heat from your hands and the minimal movement will continue the felting.

Palm the entire area of each prefelt, paying extra attention to the edges and corners. (Hmmm, yes, this is boring…)

Stretch, rinse and dry. Overall shrinkage will be about 25% in each direction.