I've often heard children say, "There's nothing to do today". I beg to differ. I'd like to inspire you to do something. Anything. Read. Bake. Hike. Fish. Plant. Sail. Climb. Play. Reach. Move. Laugh. Dream; and take time to sit with me on The Old Granite Step.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Felted Soap

I’m guessing that most of you have washed and dried a favorite sweater at least once….you know, the lovely wool pullover that you purchased on your last trip to England?  You toss it into the laundry basket thinking you’ll remember to hand wash it when…uh oh….you pull it out of the dryer?!  Now it’s small enough to fit your five year old niece!  Yes, that sweater.  That process of shrinking is specifically called felting and when things are felted on purpose, it can be very useful!

Felting is often used in knitting. The result is similar to the old boiled wool jackets that we all wore in the 80’s!  When felting a hand knit item, the item is first knitted, then tossed in the wash.  The combination of hot water and agitation felts the item.  It could be a handbag, hat, jacket, scarf; there are felted toys and felted bowls…just about anything can be felted!  Keep in mind, there are other types of felting as well.  Wet felting, dry felting, needle felting; all different forms of art that enable you to create!

I’d like to introduce you to the idea of felted soap.  That’s right; soap.  You’ve probably seen it before; perhaps at an artisan’s guild, a country store, a farmer’s market or a craft show.  Felted soaps come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  They make fabulous gifts!
You'll need wool roving in several different shades, soap (I like to use Pears or Ivory), a bowl of hot water (as hot as your hands can stand) and a bowl of cold water for rinsing.
Roving is wool that has been washed, combed and carded into a thick, continuous “strand” ready to be spun.
Roving pulls apart easily so begin by pulling your roving into thin pieces that will wrap around a bar of soap.  The pieces don’t have to be the same size.  You can wrap your roving around the bar of soap in any arrangement you like just make sure that the entire bar of soap is covered!
You're ready to begin the felting process.
Submerge your wrapped bar of soap into the hot water and begin rubbing it gently.  You are now felting the roving!  The more you rub it and work it, the more it will shrink.  You are smoothing it around the bar of soap.  The fibers are bonding together to form a tight fitting cover around the soap.
Don’t worry about the suds, you’ll wash them away with the cold water rinse.  When the roving has felted to your satisfaction, dip the felted soap into the cold water rinse to remove any excess soap.  Let it air dry and that’s it!  
You have a beautiful bar of felted soap.  It will look wonderful in the soap dish next to the bathroom sink or tie it in a pretty ribbon and give one as a gift.  The newly felted bar of soap has terrific exfoliating properties as well!  It’s a built-in wash cloth that you can toss when the soap is all gone.  Just make sure the recipient of your gift isn’t allergic to wool! 
Wool roving is not hard to find.  You may find it at your local yarn store, craft shop, farmer’s market or even local farm.  Just make sure you are purchasing wool roving for your felting project.  You may prefer to use a beautifully hand made soap for your felting project.  The soap guild has soap makers listed by state!

No comments:

Post a Comment