Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Felted Wool Ornaments

With the holidays here, I thought it would be a good time to repost my tutorial on making felted wool ornaments.

To make the ornaments shown in the 2008 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts, you need to make felted wool balls.

Warning: once you start making these, it may be really hard to stop.

To make the wool balls you will need:

panty hose

wool yarn- this is a great way to use up leftover yarn

colored wool roving- my favorite place to order roving is from Outback Fibers, the colors are gorgeous and it's very reasonable

Begin by rolling golf ball size yarn balls as a base for the felted ball. Wind yarn into oblong shapes to make a berry shaped ornament. I usually use wool yarn because I know it will felt better, but in a pinch I have used other yarn fibers too.

Unwind a length of roving, while holding it in one hand, grasp the end portion with the other hand and gently pull off "tufts" roughly 5-6 inches in length. Spread the fibers into a thin flat layer with all the strands going in one direction. Pull off another tuft of roving and layer it on top of the first at a 90 degree angle. Repeat this process several more times, criss-crossing 4-6 thin layers.

When lifting the blanket of roving there should not be thin spots or holes. Changing the colors of yarn in the layers will create a heathered multicolored wool ball.

Wrap the roving blanket you have created around a yarn ball, making sure there is full coverage of fluffy roving with no bare or thin spots.

Close the roving covered yarn ball in your hand and bring it to the foot of a knee hi panty hose. (buy cheap ones at the dollar store, or use those ancient ones in the back of your sock drawer) Gently remove your hand from around the ball and tie a knot with a small piece of yarn around the hose to secure the ball in place.

When all the balls have been wrapped in the hose, place them in the washing machine, set the water to lowest level and hottest setting. Add a small amount of detergent, about a tablespoon, the exact measurement is not crucial but soap is important in the felting process. I usually run it on a long cycle, the more agitation the better the felting.

When you take the chain of balls out of the machine, you will see little fibers have come though the mesh of the hose. Snip the tied yarn between the balls, gently peel away the hose removing the ball and roll the ball in your hands to smooth the fibers.

Click here to watch my video tutorial for making felted balls, just ignore the second half about turning them into pumpkins.

These make great cat toys, but dogs will want to shred them to smithereens. My chihuahua thinks there is nothing more fun than stealing felted balls when I am not looking and peel all the fuzz off.

These are some of the ornaments I made stitching wool felt on the balls with embroidery floss.

Theses ornaments make a great portable project. Everything you need fits in a baggie; a couple felted balls, several small pieces of wool felt, embroidery floss, scissors, crewel needles and a couple pins to hold things in place when you begin to stitch.

Stitched with beads.

They make great hostess gifts for holiday parties and are perfect for ornament exchanges.


  1. I wanted to make these this year and ran out of time. Love them.

  2. It's not Christmas yet! :)

  3. I have some of these and I love them.

  4. so fun and beautiful. oh yea, so are the ornaments........ahh...

  5. oooo, thanks for posting this!! I wanted to make these and couldn't remember where I had seen them! should have known it was you :o))

  6. I have made these every year since 2008 and enjoy every minute working on them. They are great anytime of the year. Last year I made kits for my sis and best friend for Christmas so they could play along. They were thrilled and we had fun creating together. Thanks always for inpiring me. Oh, the deer pillow isn't happening this year due to life getting in the way. It is at the top of the list, after I watch your new video, it make move down a slot or two.;-0 Have a wonderful holiday season and thanks again.

  7. Oh Judy, they are so lovely! It doesn't feel like Christmas in my house this year, perhaps in the new year I'll get some made!

  8. Thanks for the tutorial, I would love to make some felted balls!


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