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What is Felt?
Felt is basically the controlled interlocking of animal (protein) fibres, usually wool. This can be done using varying tecniques to achieve a variety of different effects for a range of purposes.....a very versatile craft. Below is an overview of the varying forms of felt making to help you understand our craft & its product a little more.
Wet Felting:
In the process of Wet felting we basically interlock the fibres together using a combination of moisture, heat & friction. The moisture helps to relax and swell the 'scales' on the wool fibre (*see below for a close up picture of wool fibre), the friction (which causes heat within) produces the action that interlocks the fibres together. This produces a non woven fabric that can be varying strengths & thicknesses for a range of applications. To achieve a very fine gossimer effect in wet felting we incorporate a fine open weave fabric such as tissue silk in a technique called nuno felting. This enables us to achieve a extremely fine cloth delicate in appearance but with a high strength and beautiful drape, making it ideal for scarves & garments. Alternatively at the other end of the spectrum we can purely use fibre (i.e wool fibres) and lay the fibres in such a way that we have 4 layers of fibre crossing over one another to build up a 'weight bearing' felt. This is extremely strong but does not have the same drape as nuno, however it still has the lovely tactile feel of a natural fibre product making it ideal for things such as handbags, hats, glasses cases, book covers etc etc etc................
                                  *Magnified picture of the surface of wool fibre  
Needle Felting (Dry Felting):
Needle felting is another way of interlocking the fibres. In this technique a very fine needle with barbs formed along the blade (See picture below) is repeatedly pushed into the fibres. It is the barbs on the blade of the felting needle which carry and interlock the fibers during the stroke of the needle and the penetration of fiber web. Needle felting can be done using a hand needle felting tool with needles in it or using a needle felting/embelishing machine. The embellishing machine is like a sewing machine with no thread, instead it has usually 5 needle felting needles installed in it and acts just like the hand felting tool, interlocking the fibres, without the physical effort required by the user. Needle felting can be utilised both in sculpture work to build up 3D creations such as animals or people or for embelishing or flat surface work such as pictures or garment decorations. The list of things you can create is really only limited by your imagination & often there are even ways to get around that! For more on needle felting go to  Needle Felting.
                                                Close up of needle felting needle
                                  Embellishing Machine (Needle Felting Machine)