When I go to make my felted figures, is it best to have wool or merino for the core and what is best to use on the outside of it? I have wool (100% wool) readily available right near me in quite a few colors, but I want to use what works best. What would be the best result for felting figures?
I like to use Merino for my surface - it makes a very smooth, fine surface. I never use Merino as a core fiber. I think it is too expensive for that purpose and it also doesn't felt up as fast as some alternatives.
A good natural color core or stuffing wool should be used for the core. It is less expensive and I figure why waste those fabulous merino colors where no one will see them!? NZ Corriedale felts well for the outside too, sometimes it needle flet a little easier than merino. I also mix them to get just what I want.
I use a coarser fibre for the core, less expensive but i usually use a merino cross lambswool for the outer layer. I find that with needle felting the shorter the fibre the better, i dont like all those lines you get with a longer fibre. I also love to use the Norwegian c1 , that felts perfectly everytime.
Norwegian C1 is a gorgeous fibre and perfect for needle felting, Kay uses it for all her dolls and i've been using it lately for the skin color on my dolls, but since i cant get it in Australia i usually get some from Patti at Dream felt. http://www.dreamfelt.com/
for core wool if you go on ebay you'll find lots of different types, i just use a coarser fleece like merino cross or fleece from meat sheep, its less expensive, you dont want to use your good stuff for the core
Has anyone used the Ashford Corriedale Tops for felting with? I've seen those a couple of places and there's someplace up here that sells them. I see the appeal of the short fibers, but would the Ashford be okay to start with or is it better to start using the C1 at the get go?
CarolBe I have and their quite nice, does take a little longer cause its quite a soft
I use merino batts plus merino roving over the top if I want a softer feel to it. If I don't have the batts I tend to use whatever courses wool I have.
Currently I'm loving a merino/corriedale cross batt which basically sticks to itself, its what I made my latest cat out of and I didn't have to cover it with anything over the top and it felts nice and hard without too much effort.
I find merino roving good after its been felted a little then its easier to shape. But courser wool works such as romney and corriedale and I've tried alpacca and that's quite good as well
Hi Carol, i dont think you can start with the wrong thing, not everyone likes using the same fibre so whatever you start with is good. Its just that the less expensive coarser fibre is better to use as a core so as nice to waste your nice fibre by hiding it.
its all a matter of personal choice so trying a couple of different fibres is good, then you'll eventually be able to choose your own favorite because nothing will go to waste
Frankenmuth Woolen mills sells wool batting that is wonderful as core fiber!! Their batting isn't always 100% clean - sometimes there is vegetable matter still in the fibers, but it is still terrific! A batting for a crib provides a LOT of core fiber! I also like the way you can tear it off in measurable chunks - very useful!
Different felters like different fibers. Merino, because it is so very fine, is more difficult to needle felt, but it produces a very beautiful surface. Corriedale, being a bit coarser, felts more quickly than does Merino. I don't like Norwegian C1 at all.
Coarser fibers in general NEEDLE felt fast - just the opposite is true for wet felting, finer fibers felt faster.
This is all very good advise and I'm writing it down so as not to forget before ordering or buying something. I found online a lovely little store in a town just between here and Niagara Falls and my husband said we can take a trip there in two weeks! Can't wait! Until then I bought some 100% wool roving that's undyed at my local yarn store and it takes FOREVER to felt up, but some green batt (it's actually green and grey and black) that my mother had given me that's a wool and something mix felts up REALLY well, I took a small piece off and tried it and it felted up MUCH faster than the stuff I bought. Hopefully I'll find a use for the stuff I bought, I'd hate to waste the money.