While I’ve tried out all sorts of fiber arts from knitting, to sewing, to weaving, etc., until recently felting wasn’t on that list. So, when The Crafter’s Box kit of the month was a an adorable set of nesting baskets made from wool roving, I decided it was time to try my hand at wet felting. I ended up spending a very lovely afternoon outside felting my wool with two cute little baskets to show for my efforts! Read on for more about the kit I used and an overview of the wet felting process.

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About the Wet Felted Nesting Basket Workshop

The Wet Felted Nesting Basket Workshop I used is from Crafter, a company that creates high end virtual workshops and kits in a variety of different mediums. I’ve been a subscriber to their monthly craft box for years because they make it so easy to explore different art and craft techniques, while at the same time creating items I actually want to use. For example, I recently finished their Fabric Manipulation Workshop and the pillow I made looks delightful on my bed! In addition to the subscription box, Crafter also sell kits, supplies, and video workshops a la carte.

Like most Crafter workshops, this one can be purchased either as a full workshop which includes a kit or as a digital only class. The materials for this workshop aren’t too difficult to source, so if the kit is out of stock and you don’t feel like waiting, the digital class is a good option.

If you do manage to snag a kit, it comes with most of the supplies and tools you need. This includes multiple colors of wool roving. I chose the standard size kit (which makes two small baskets) Sunlit Savannah color way, which includes natural (a soft white), tan, and olive green. There also is an option to upgrade to a kit that includes a larger amount of roving. This is enough to make three large or seven small baskets.

In addition to the roving, the kit contains a templates for the finished project, a bamboo mat, a piece of mesh, a length of leather lacing, soap, a sponge, and a bamboo skewer. You need to provide a few additional things like a bowl to hold warm water and towels.

Instruction and Instructor

The instructor, Andrea Burnett, is great. Her instructors are clear and easy to understand. She makes sure to point out small details about how your project should look and feel during the process, so I always felt like I was on the right track.

The kit comes with both a 40 minute long video and a PDF with written instructions. This workshop is wet and a little messy, so I’d recommend watching the video up through the fulling stage (about 33 minutes) before starting, and printing a copy of the instructions to have next to you for reference as you work on the project..

The Wet Felting Process

It was a beautiful warm summer day when I decided to do this kit, so it seemed like a good idea to take my work outside. So I set up a folding card table and chair out on my driveway in a shady spot. This was mostly a good idea. While it is possible to do this project indoors, it was nice not to have to worry about where/how much water I flung around during the process.

In addition to the supplies provided in the kit, I had my big bowl of water and three large towels. I also decided to add a little bit of pink roving I had on had to my baskets, because why not?

The first part of the process involves carefully laying out the wool roving on the bamboo mat. There were a few close calls when the wind picked up, but I managed to get everything in place without incident. Once everything was in place I was able to cover my roving with the mesh, which eliminated my wind issue.

When laying out the colors, I kept the shape of the templates in mind. I wanted to be able to see the colorful bits! I also added a little bit of color to the inside of my baskets by adding it before the first layer.

The next step, wetting the wool, did get a little messy. At first, the water wants to roll right off of the wool. By working on a towel, this was mostly contained. However, this definitely is a project you want to do in a water friendly space.

Once my wool was damp, I used the olive oil soap and more water to create a bit of a slippery surface so that I could work on felting the wool together. This stage of wet felting took a while, because my water wasn’t very hot (it had cooled while I was arranging my roving) and because I wasn’t rushing things. If you want things to go more quickly, get your water as hot as you can comfortably stand. This will encourage the scales on the wool fibers to open up, causing them to entangle more readily.

As I worked, I occasionally checked my progress by trying to pull up a small bit of my project. I found the colored sections tool a bit longer to adhere than the white portions, so I focused my efforts on getting those to felt.

Fulling the Wet Feltted Fabric

Once my piece was adequately felted, I had to do one final process on it: fulling. While felting is the process of interlocking raw fibers together, fulling thickens and shrinks already existing fabric. This was easy to do by rolling the felted wool in the bamboo mat a few times.

The main danger here is shrinking your felted fabric so much that it’s too small for your template. I was worried that I might get my templates too wet if I brought them out, so I measured them before starting and just brought a measuring tape outside.

Once the fulling process on my first piece was complete, I repeated the felting and fulling process a second time. I probably hand enough roving left over to get a third basket, but I decided to save the extra to practice spinning. I then left the fabric to dry flat overnight.

Assembling My Felted Baskets

I used a pair of 8″ shears I reserved for paper and other tough crafts projects to cut out my templates. They were printed on a sturdy sheet of thick paper, and so felt pretty substantial.

Tracing the template onto the felted fabric was as little bit more of a challenge. It was difficult to find a tool that I could see both on the white sections and the colored areas. I have a pretty extensive collection of sewing marking tools and tried out a few different ones before settling on my tried and true Mark-be-Gone pen. I just had to remember to wait a few seconds for the marker to darken before moving on or touching up my lines. Once I had everything marked out, I used my craft sheers to cut out the baskets.

Next I had to punch out the holes for the leather ties. I found the bamboo skewer a bit weak for this, so I grabbed the tapered awl I use for inserting eyelets. Sure, I could have made the skewer work, but the awl made the whole thing easier.

In the video, the instructor simply folds over the leather lacing to get it into the holes to assemble the wet felted baskets. This is certainly possible, but also I found it a bit fiddly. Instead, I used a blunt tapestry needle to work the lacing through the holes.

Once I had the lacing in place, I was able to tie the end and finish the project! Now I just need to decide where to put my finished wet felted nesting baskets!

Have you tried the Wet Felted Nest Baskets Workshop? Or do you have another felting kit that you love? Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram!

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