Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Felted Wool Balls

I made some felted wool balls for Christmas presents. I gave some away before taking pictures. They had cool spirals on them. Oh well. I made matching ones for the boys, one with an A and one with an S. They are from organic wool batting and were dyed with Kool Aid.
To make the one shown here:
grab a bucket, some dish or castille soap, some hot water, and some wool. Pack a smallish piece of wool as tightly as you can with your hands, then dunk in the hot water in your bucket. Hold under the water until bubbles stop. Gently squeeze repeatedly. When it feels like a good lump, add some dish soap directly to the wool (just a drop). Rub it around gently. Dip in the hot water then repeat the soaping process a few times. Wrap another tuff of wool around this, repeat the dipping/soap thing. Do this over and over until it's about 50% larger than what you want it to be. Stick it into the bottom of a trouser sock or some old hose, tie a knot around the top of the ball and throw it in the washing machine. IF you have a front loader it takes at least 4 loads to get a good felted ball. you can pull it out and keep checking as it goes. If you have a top loader, apparently one or two washes does it, but I wouldn't know. Then you can embellish your ball. I soaked mine in lime Kool Aid, rolled it around, then rinsed. After it was dry to the touch (a day or so), I needle felted some blue raspberry dyed tuffs in the shape of an S. After it was good and on, I stuck it back in a sock and washed it two more times. Let it dry and it actually bounces! If you want to make a jingle ball, add a bunch of jingle balls at the beginning and wrap your wool around it. I found that you really need to have quite a few balls, otherwise they are too tight to rattle well. Oh, and I got creative and used some old crappy acrylic yarn that my mom gave me, rolled it into a ball, and covered it with wool. I think it saved me some wool and gave that useless yarn a purpose ;-)