A long time ago I saw this tutorial on making easy felted balls by shaking damp, soapy wool in a little container. It seemed like it had a lot of potential, but I didn’t have an immediate use for felted balls so I forgot about it until I started thinking about making myself some Christmas decorations this year. I have a bunch of needle felting wool that a relative gave me, but I never got hooked on needle felting, so a project made from felted balls seemed like a great way to use it all up.
I got it into my head that it’d be fun to make a felt ball garland, so I dug out some wool and got shaking! And then I quickly realized that a garland was unlikely to happen. Of my eight attempts, only five ended up ball shaped, and only three are really nice usable balls.
I’m not entirely sure that the technique is to blame. I think it’s the wool. The pink wool I used for these was soft and smooth. None of my wools are labeled so I’m not sure what sort it was exactly. Maybe Merino? It felted with “cracks,” and the wool felted down hard. These are solid little balls, and they’re still slightly damp even though I made them on Saturday. They’re so solid that when I tried to needle felt away the “cracks,” my needle broke instead of piercing them. There’s no way I can string these.
These three balls, however, turned out quite nice. The wool I used for these was coarse and had a lot of crimp to it. It also seemed to be a shorter staple than the pink wool. They’re light and bouncy, and although they had a few slight “cracks,” I was able to needle felt them out of sight. These should be easy to string, and the new plan is to dig out all of the wool that looks like it’s this type and only use that. Unfortunately I don’t think the majority of the wool is this kind, so I’ll probably end up making a handful of individual ornaments instead of a big garland.