Learn all about Wet Felting with Wool using the Lattice Felting Technique
Welcome to Part 4 of my Wet Felting Techniques Series! We’ve already cover the basics of felting as well as the nuno felting technique. This time, we will delve into the wool felting technique known as Lattice Felting.
FYI – this is my favorite roving for super soft, next-to-the-skin felt!
In This Article
- What is Felting?
- What is Lattice Felting?
- Wool Felting Supplies
- Laying out the Wool Roving
- Adding the Second Layer of Wool
- Sprinkling the Wool with Water
- Rolling the Felt Fabric
- Testing the Felt with a Pinch Test
- Fulling the Wool Fiber
- Finishing the Lattice Felt
What is Felting?
Felting is the process of taking loose wool fibers and binding or interlocking them into a fabric. There are two methods: wet felting and dry felting. For more about wet felting, please read on.
If you are interested in dry or needle felting, check out How to Needle Felt for Beginners.
What is Lattice Felting?
Just like the name suggests, Lattice Felting is a wet wool felting technique which produces a fabric, but with deliberate holes in it. There are a few different ways to achieve this.
In the first method, you would dampen or wet felt a solid piece of fabric using wool fiber or roving. Then you would use scissors to cut away pieces of the felt, leaving it with holes.
In this tutorial, I will show you the second method:
You will lay out the wool or roving in a lattice pattern or design and felt the wool with the holes in it.
If you’re a beginner feltmaker, you may be interested in What is Felting? A Beginner’s Guide.
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Wool Felting Supplies
- Wool Roving
- Silk Roving or Sliver for sheen (optional)
- Matchstick Blind or Bubble Wrap
- Hot Water
- Olive Oil Soap or Liquid Dish Soap
- Spray Bottle
- Table Cover
- Sheet of plastic or extra bubble wrap
Laying out the Wool Roving
First, you will want to cover your table with the plastic. Wet Felting uses a lot of water so you may want to cover your floor as well.
Now, unroll the matchstick blind. If you are using bubble wrap instead, lay out one long sheet (make sure it is longer than your desired scarf).
Okay, so before you begin actually laying our your roving, you will need to draft or thin it out first. The reason for this is because it is more difficult to get the water into the middle of thick clumps of wool which prevents it from felting.
Drafting the Wool:
Take a length of the wool roving and hold it firmly with one hand. With your other hand, take a hold of the roving about 12″ or more away and gently pull out a thin length of wool. This takes a bit of practice to get it even. If it breaks, no biggie, just overlap the ends.
Now, lay out the drafted pieces of wool, all in one direction. I used 5 lengths about 8 feet long.
Once you have finished placing the first layer of wool strips, you can add some of the silk roving on top, if using. Personally, I really like to add silk to my pieces to give them more dimension, texture and luster. However, this step is completely optional!
Adding the Second Layer of Wool
Just like before, you will again draft your strips of wool roving to thin them out. Then, you will lay them on top of the first layer, in the opposite direction. This creates the lattice pattern.
The lines don’t have to be straight and can overlap each other and the edges for a more artsy design. Again, add some bits of the silk roving for decoration and shine.
Sprinkling the Wool with Water
Now, you are ready to begin the actual wool felting process. Fill your spray bottle with very warm water and add a couple squirts of soap. Then, sprinkle the wool roving thoroughly.
Next, you will cover your fiber with a piece of plastic or bubble wrap and begin rubbing the surface with your hands. This will work the water and soap into the fiber.
You want to make sure that the roving is completely saturated (dry fiber won’t felt) so add more water, if necessary. Do this to all of the fiber, again, making sure it is completely wet.
At this point you can also adjust the edges where needed. Some of the holes in the lattice work may have been closed up by fiber. Gently, move the fiber back in place.
Rolling the Felt Fabric
Beginning at one end, tightly roll up the matchstick blind or bubble wrap. Using scrap yarn or nylon hose, tie your roll in 2 or 3 places to secure.
Now, lay your hands on the blind and begin rolling it back and forth, from your hands to your elbow and back again. Do this about 200 times.
Slowly and carefully, unroll the piece, re-wet your fiber and roll it up from the opposite end. Again, secure with string and roll it back and forth another 200 or so times.
(Did you notice that my blind looks different?? I do so many large pieces that I had to tie two blinds together.)
Testing the Felt with a Pinch Test
At this point, the fiber should be holding together well. To check the process of the felt, carefully unroll your piece and do, what we call a pinch test.
With your thumb and forefinger, pinch a bit of fiber and gently pull up. Is it holding together? If yes, move on to the next step. If no, continue rolling.
Fulling the Wool Fiber
Next step….throwing! Repeatedly dropping and throwing your scarf will full your fiber, meaning it will shrink and harden which completes the felting process.
Don’t start dropping/throwing until your piece has passed the pinch test! And, make sure all of the fiber is holding together, especially the joints where the pieces intersect.
When you are ready, pick up your scarf GENTLY, lightly wad it up and let it fall on the table. No force here, just gently let it drop. Pick it up and drop it again.
Do this about 50 to 100 times. After a while, you will notice the fibers firming up. When this happens, you can begin to increase pressure. Now, carefully lay it out and pull apart any areas that are not supposed to be sticking together.
Continue throwing your scarf until it firms up. The longer you throw it, the more the felt will harden and shrink so check it often. You don’t want to overdo this step because once it is shrunken and hardened too much, it is impossible to undo.
Once your fibers are holding together, how long you throw it and how much you shrink it, is up to you.
Finishing the Lattice Felted Scarf
All that’s left now is to thoroughly rinse all the soap out of your scarf and hang it up to dry.
If you are having trouble getting all of the soap out of your felt, you can soak it in water with some white vinegar added to it. This will neutralize any remaining soap residue.
Related Wool Felting Tutorials
DIY Wool Dryer Balls with Needle Felt Designs
What is Felting? A Beginner’s Guide
How to Needle Felt (for Beginners)
1 – Basic Felting
2 – How to Felt Wool – Cobweb Felting
3 – Nuno Felting
5 – Resist Felting