Waste Wool Felt Experiment

I don’t even like the term “waste wool.” If I paid for a fleece I want to use all the fleece! But whenever I’ve used wool combs or flick carders there is some short, neppy, and…I admit it, kind of dirty wool fiber left after pulling all the lovely long fibers. Should I throw it away?

The one I used in the video was a dollar store special and it kept losing metal teeth while I flicked. I’m gonna get me one of these self-cleaning beauties from Amazon for next time!

Here are some ideas for using up short, “waste” fiber:

  1. Make wool balls for the laundry.
  2. Give it to the birds to make nests, (although I’d rather use it myself at least it’s beneficial!)
  3. Use it as the core in a needle-felting project.
  4. Use it as padding inside stumpwork embroidery.
  5. Use it as a pad to spread furniture oil.

Or….

Felt with it.

I’ve always heard that the quality of the felt depends on the quality of the fleece and that you’ll get waste felt if you use waste wool. I set out to find out just how bad it could be. 

Taking the wool “waste” from my inexpensive dog brushes after flick-carding merino locks, I made a small sample piece of felt with it. Watch the video to see how it went!

My conclusion? The felt fabric made from the waste has smaller patches of color, with some of the neps felted right in. There are even some bits of vegetable matter — bits of straw —  which poke out here and there since I made no effort to remove them from the wool.  It’s not quite as smooth and elegant as the felt made with the long, smooth fibers. It is not, however, something to be ashamed of because of the obvious low quality of the fibers. In fact, it felted quite easily, had little shrinkage, and looks pretty nice to me!

 

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