It's All About The Wool!
One of the most common questions that I get while I am teaching a workshop is, "Where do you get your wool?"
It's not a huge surprise that people want to know where I get my wool since it is not something that is usually easy to find at the local craft store. In fact, I can only find some basic and limited quantities of wool for needle felting at one of the many craft stores even remotely close to me. When I got started, sourcing wool was one of my first challenges. I wanted to find a source that allowed me to support another small business, so I turned to Etsy.
Depending on my needs, I shop at one of three Etsy shops. My main source is Purple Moose Felting from Augusta, Maine. (I am located in Connecticut.) When I asked them for more information on where they get their wool, they sent me the following:
We import our batting from Dyeing House Gallery (DHG) of Italy. The wool is a blend of New Zealand carded wools (about 27 microns). The Maori batting is a blend of carded wools from New Zealand. DHG says, "When we started creating this item back in 2007, we wanted a wool that was perfect for needle felting with a nice natural colour, that would allow us to create bright colours as well as soft pastel nuances. After numerous tests we came up with this blend that is now one of our iconic products, loved by both beginners and the more experienced. We couldn’t have chosen a more iconic name: Maori. A small tribute to a great nation and to the homeland of these wools! This blend is perfect for both needle and wet felting and spinning."
Batting Versus Roving
I also asked Purple Moose Felting to help me explain the difference between Batting versus Roving. In addition to core wool, which is a less processed and therefore cheaper wool that is used for the base shapes of needle felted items, there are a couple of other types of wool, including batting and roving. Here is what they had to say:
Batting is typically made up of shorter fibers that are all mixed up and going in different directions. This differs from roving, which usually comes in "rope-like" form and is made up of longer fibers that are all "combed" so that they are going in the same direction. I love to work with batting, since it's almost as if part of the felting work has already been done for me! I find that I can get a much smoother finish with batting, since there aren't all those "directional lines" that you would see when felting with longer combed fibers."
I have to agree. I love working with batting, though I do have roving in a variety of colors for specific uses like adding hair.
It's All About The Wool
The more I get into needle felting and the more items I make, the more I learn about and respect the wool. One of my goals is to learn even more about the fibers that I work with. As I do, I will be sure to share them here with you!