The other day I got the itch to make some felted beads. The traditional way to make beads (or needle felt anything, really) is to use roving — basically, wool that hasn’t been spun into yarn. Just the fluffy stuff. Frugal lady that I am, however, I’d be damned if I was going to go out and buy roving when I had plenty wool in the house already. The only problem was that it was already in yarn form, so I came up with this technique. Each bead uses a small amount of yarn, so this is a great stash buster.
1. Cut a piece of wool or wool blend yarn about 2 feet long. You can vary this length for a smaller or larger bead. Unravel the yarn down to individual strands. That’s right, unravel it. Tedious? A bit. But remember: frugal.
2. Get a needle felting tool and surface to absorb the needle poking. I’m using a styrofoam-esque block that came in a needle felting kit, but an old pillow works just as well. Ball the yarn strands up as best you can, but avoid wrapping a strand around the ball to contain it — that strand will be difficult to work into the bead later on. Poke at it! Focus on one section until the fibers begin to interlock a bit.
3. Continue poking, rotating the wool to get at the other sides. Eventually, it will begin to take on a spherical shape.
4. Keep poking it with the needle, remembering to rotate. The wool will begin to tighten up and the edges will become less fuzzy as you progress. It’s probably at this point that you will stab your finger. Go get a bandaid, clean up the blood, and continue.
Getting less fuzzy…. keep poking and rotating…
And less fuzzy…
And voila! A bead.
There’s something very pleasing about a perfect little compacted ball of fiber, don’t you think? Well, maybe that’s just me. Surely we can all appreciate the aggression-reducing qualities of repeated stabbing motions, though?
These easily string up with needle and thread. You’ve just got to aim for the middle as best you can since there’s not pre-poked hole.