Hi, I am hoping that you can help me. I found you on Google. I'm trying to understand what is the best wool to buy to make 3-D animals, people, characters. I thought I had it figured out. Then I came here to buy wool and got 100% confused again. Please, please tell me what the best wool for needlefelting is. Not wet felting, just needle felting. I've bought so much wool and I keep buying the wrong kind. I know Merino is good, but there are so many different ones. When someone says merino, which one? The tops, the carded, I don't even know what a rolag is. Please help. After all of this, please tell me that you ship to the U.S.!?? I looked at your
flower and the Alaskan, I would have not thought that that was the correct wool to use. I read what you used and I'm so confused. Thanks so much,
Ok, let's start from scratch and walk you through wool processing so you can understand the different forms of wool;
Each sheep is shorn usually once a year and the wool goes off to be processed;
- the fleece is sorted, topped and tailed to get rid of any waste and debris.
- the fleece is washed
- the fleece is scoured - here the fibres resemble shredded cotton wool balls. You can felt with this stage of fibre as there is no lanolin. As the fibres have lots of texture still, this will remain in your felt.
- the scoured fleece is then carded - making batting. Batting is almost reminiscent of quilting wadding, but comes apart very easily. This will add wisps of fibre to your work easily, or be good for cores to sculptures.
- batts are then taken to the first combing machines - this creates 'roving'. Roving is a ponytail length of fibre which has all of the fibres going in different directions.
- Roving is then combed again to form 'Combed Top'. Combed Top is the final stage of fibre production just before yarn spinning and so all of the fibres are nicely lined up for ease of pulling apart to spin with.
All of the these stages are good for felting with, wet or dry (from #2). Your choice of what to use when comes down to your personal preference and the texture you might like for your finished piece and so I urge you to experiment... only by experimenting can you find the fibre preparation you like... there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG.
Hand carded batts and rolags by independent designers... these are mostly aimed at spinners, but can be felted with... batts more easily. I would use them purely for top layer decoration as they can be more expensive to buy and often have lots of texture and colour interest.
The perfect fibre for needle felting? All wool fibres will needle felt, every one. So there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG again here, but some will take longer than others to work with the needle. You should experiment and find what you like to work with. People often recommend Merino, but only because it is readily available on 100s of colours.
If you were wet felting then I might suggest trying certain fibres for certain felting methods, because each one felts differently... but in needle felting the needle does the felting and it only requires the fibres to have scales along the length of hair to form the 'knotting', or felting. As all wool has scaled individual hairs, all will needle felt... it's purely a personal choice as to which you prefer to work with. I suggest experimenting with what you have to see what you like so far.
I sell a range of product at www.sarastexturecrafts.com that would suit you. I ship worldwide.
I hope this helps.
Have a wonderful day,