To get more information and photos of this project, click HERE.
Recently, I’ve been totally obsessed with felting, especially knit felting. I’ve been making purses, bowls and various children’s toys. Every time I finished a skein, I’d roll the left over yarn into a small ball and put it in a jar. The grandbabies were fascinated with these balls. With all the other toys available to them, they were always asking for the jar of yarn balls. Then I had a Eureka moment. Why not felt the left over yarn balls and turn them into…well, felted balls? I’ve used roving to make balls, but this just seemed an ecologically sound way of using up what might otherwise turn into trash.
The kids loved them! When I was a young girl, we use to while away summer hours playing marbles. These wool balls make great marbles if you use them on a hard floor. Check out Land of Marbles to learn different marble games
They are easy to make and children will enjoy helping out.
1. Loosely roll the yarn into a ball. Do not wind the yarn tight. It must be loose enough so there is room to agitate the fibers, causing felting. Tuck in the loose end or thread a yarn needle and weave the end into the ball. Balls should be around the size of a ping pong ball, but I’ve made smaller ones if I only had a small amount of yarn.
2. The first felted balls I made were one color. I started embellishing them with other yarns wrapped around them, or using a yarn needle to create designs. Just remember to keep the yarns loose enough so you ball contracts when you give it a squeeze.
3. The ball is now ready to felt. Thoroughly soak it in hot tap water. (The water should be hot but not too hot for your hands!) Squirt the ball with liquid dishwashing soap. This helps create the reaction that will felt the wool.
4. Now the fun part! Begin squeezing the ball to cause agitation. If you’re making more than one at a time, you can do this first step with several balls. You will be squishing the balls out of shape, but try to keep them as spherical as possible.
5. Continue agitating until the wool begins to felt. This will usually take between 5 and 10 minutes. Rewet the ball with hot water if it begins to feel like it is drying out. When the wool begins to felt, it will feel more solid. Also, when looking at the ball, the yarns will begin to have a “fuzzy” appearance. At this point you should only work one ball at a time.
6. Roll the ball between the palms of your hands applying a lot of pressure. As you are doing this pay attention to the shape of the ball. The rolling action should create a round ball, but occasionally you may need to squeeze the ball into shape. Continue rolling the ball in your palms until the yarns become rigid and there is very little “squeeze” left.
7. Rinse the ball in cold water until all the soap is removed. The cold water will help set the fibers in the yarn and maintain its felted shape.
8. Check the ball to make sure it is very round. At this stage you can still roll it in your palm or squeeze it slightly to guarantee a perfectly, well almost perfectly, round ball.
9. Allow the balls to dry completely before they are used. This will take 1 – 2 days.
10. Use the balls to play with, string together to make necklaces and bracelets, or as an intriguing decoration.
Notes about patterns: We are sharing patterns we have designed and made for our own children, families and friends. Every effort is made to share information in a clear and accurate manner. We offer preemptive apologies for any mistakes that may be made. Please let us know via comments or emails if you stumble upon a mistake or if you encounter directions that leave you scratching your head! We will rectify the situation as soon as humanly possible!
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