TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Guest Artist: Karen Hewig of Felted Style

Karen's pillows caught my attention on Etsy. I liked the clean lines, simple designs and interesting textures. She graciously agreed to do an article for Fiber Focus, explaining the felting process she uses to make her pillows and rugs.

Making Felt Yardage

I became passionate about felting a few years ago when I was determined to make a rug out of wool roving. I am currently having fun making felt yardage that I later sew into home accessories.

Felting is one of the world’s oldest forms of textile design. Felt is a non-woven cloth made from matted wool fibers.

The act of felting is very simple and requires very few supplies, many of which are purchased at the pool store. Yep, the pool store.

Here is a list of my supplies for wet felting:

  • Swim noodle
  • Piece of solar pool cover
  • Wool roving
  • Water
  • Olive oil soap
  • Muslin fabric (optional)
  • Rope

Felting Stage: This is the beginning stage of felting where the fibers become entangled, but do not completely lock down. Shrinkage has not occurred at this point.

Step 1:

Lay out the wool roving on the pool cover and place muslin fabric in the middle layer (optional). When fabric is incorporated into felt it allows you to make stronger, thinner felt.

Step 2:

Next sprinkle wool with soapy water made from olive oil soap.

Step 3:

Place the swim noodle on the end, roll it up tightly and then secure with rope. Roll back and forth and from time to time unroll and reposition the felt so it is rolled in every direction.

Here is a picture of felt at the end of the felting stage. The fibers have become entangled but the felt is too fragile to be functional.

Fulling Stage: This is the final stage of felting where shrinking occurs. The felt becomes dense and the fibers are permanently locked in place. How do I full my felt? I simply remove it from the pool cover and roll it directly on the table using a kneading action with my hands. I am also sure to roll in all directions. This is my favorite part of the process. I love feeling with my hands the soft felt gradually progress into firm felt.

This whole process can take as little as a day or well over several days. The larger the piece of felt the longer it needs to be rolled. Also, you need to take into consideration the use of the felt. A felted rug needs to be rolled much longer than felt for a wall hanging. The longer you roll the tighter and more durable the felt becomes.

The finished yardage from my roll is typically 2.5 feet by 4.5 feet after 40% shrinkage from the original size. This size of felt is manageable for one person to roll. Very large pieces of felt require more than one person.


After my yardage is made, I needle felt on a design using wool roving and yarn. These dry wool fibers are poked with a barbed needle until they are pushed down, matted and locked.

I recently took my passion for felting and started a small business called Felted Style specializing in felted pillows, wall art and rugs. My work is available through my Etsy shop where you can find felted pillows and rugs for sale. I do accept commissioned work and will soon be offering my new line of felted wall art.

You can see my work featured in the April Seattle Homes and Lifestyle Magazine.

For more information about my work or to inquire about custom design, I can be contacted through my website.


1 comment:

“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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