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Felted soap - looking for wool suppliers

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dixiedragon

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Also instructions would be nice. I've googled and the instructions I've found are kind of vague, and they aren't super specific about the wool they buy. I have never done this and I have NO knowledge of wool, so I want somebody to tell me GO HERE and BUY THIS and DON'T BUY this.
Colors I want:
Black
Reddish brown
White
Red
Orange
Blue
Purple
Green
 

dibbles

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I used 100% wool roving, and I also used a felting needle to poke in any loose flaps. Bubble wrap will work as a felting mat. I got my roving from http://www.mielkesfiberarts.com/ and there is a picture tutorial on that website. I also found that the multicolored roving makes a very pretty felted soap, but it seems that they don't have much available any more. A google search for wool roving should get you some good options.

Here is another link: http://www.pacificwoolandfiber.com/dyed-wool-for-spinning-and-felting.html I used the multicolored fine merino, and also solid colors. You mostly want to make sure whatever you order is 100% wool. And 4 ounces is quite a bit.
 
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DeeAnna

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I second Mielkes for an online source. I suggest a basic merino wool for starters -- it is a fine diameter wool that felts easily into a smooth firm felt. Corriedale would be my close second pick. The other types of wools felt too, but the finished felt tends to be fuzzier and slightly rougher feeling. They often don't come in the huge variety of colors that merino does.

My first pick from Mielke's would be the small 25-color Merino sampler: http://www.mielkesfiberarts.com/product/merino-top-sampler/
And my second would be the small Corriedale sampler: http://www.mielkesfiberarts.com/product/fiber-artists-bag-of-candy/

I usually wrap my soaps first with a plain natural color Merino, and then add thin layers and strands of colored wool over the top of that, so you might want to buy a slightly larger quantity of top in a basic color if you want to take this approach.

If you have a local knitting or fiber arts store, that's another source of interesting materials.

Don't get carried away with the idea of adding non-wool fibers, "locks", or other embellishments to the felt. You want a felted soap to have a tight, flat finish and adding non-wool stuff can result in floppy, dangling bits or an irregular bumpy surface. That kind of thing can be nice on an art piece, but not so nice on a felted soap. If you want more details, then branch out someday into needle felting.

ETA: It's easier to felt over an oval or round soap rather than a rectangular soap or any other shape with sharp corners. I do the rectangles, but it can be a challenge to keep the felt on the corners from getting too thin. Arianne Arsenault grates a freshly made bar of soap, hand forms the shreds into a flattened disk with softly rounded surfaces (exactly like the shape of a crab cake), and felts over that. Then she lets the young soap cure. I can see how this shape would work really well to felt.
 
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TVivian

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It looks like you have a pretty nice yarn store in Birmingham called "In the making" they may have a decent un spun wool selection. I bought my wool at a store like that and it was nice to get it quickly and try it to see if I even liked felted soap. The process is simple, the only unexpected thing was at how much wool it took to really cover the soap. I didn't end up liking felted soap very much (although I love how they look) so it was good that I didn't invest too much $ in supplies.
 

DeeAnna

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Vivian is right -- just a few ounces of top will be plenty to start with so you can see if you like making felted soap. Going to a local fiber arts store will be your best bet to keep the cost down in that case.

I also agree that felted soap is not everyone's cuppa tea. I make a few as gifts and to give to my honorary nephew (now going on 3 yo) who likes to eat soap. I may take one on our next vacation to the ocean to see if it lasts better there than a not-felted soap. The salt air and high humidity are not kind to my soap.

I can't say I care to use felted soap as a routine in the shower -- the feel of the felt is too soft for me. I really like the more scrubby feel of a bath pouf or exfoliating washcloth. A person who likes to bathe by rubbing the bar of soap against the skin might be fine with felted soap.
 

dibbles

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I agree with Vivian and DeeAnna - felted soap isn't for everyone. I don't dislike it, but rarely used it when I made it (this was before I made CP soap, and I bought Canus goat milk soap, which does have nice rounded corners). I made about 30 bars for gifts one year, and did the majority of them in less than a week. My hands were very chapped and sore from so much time in the hot water. Lesson learned.
 

galaxyMLP

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I agree with Vivian and DeeAnna - felted soap isn't for everyone. I don't dislike it, but rarely used it when I made it (this was before I made CP soap, and I bought Canus goat milk soap, which does have nice rounded corners). I made about 30 bars for gifts one year, and did the majority of them in less than a week. My hands were very chapped and sore from so much time in the hot water. Lesson learned.
I made 24 over the course of 4 days once and my hands actually started peeling after I did 11 the first day. I wore nitrile gloves after that but the gloves made it hard to get a good grip.

Then, I found out that highly textured thick latex gloves that fit well can take the place of a felting mat and provide the necessary protection.. Still not fun and your hands still get sore but, at least they don't get chapped and you can rub the soap in your hand for the same effect. It takes less time per bar that way too.
 

dixiedragon

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It looks like you have a pretty nice yarn store in Birmingham called "In the making" they may have a decent un spun wool selection. I bought my wool at a store like that and it was nice to get it quickly and try it to see if I even liked felted soap. The process is simple, the only unexpected thing was at how much wool it took to really cover the soap. I didn't end up liking felted soap very much (although I love how they look) so it was good that I didn't invest too much $ in supplies.
In the Making is like 3 minutes from my house! SQUEEE! I will check them out tonight! I knew they had yarn and knitting and crochet stuff, but it never occurred to me they'd have wool appropriate for felting.
 

dixiedragon

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I made 24 over the course of 4 days once and my hands actually started peeling after I did 11 the first day. I wore nitrile gloves after that but the gloves made it hard to get a good grip.

Then, I found out that highly textured thick latex gloves that fit well can take the place of a felting mat and provide the necessary protection.. Still not fun and your hands still get sore but, at least they don't get chapped and you can rub the soap in your hand for the same effect. It takes less time per bar that way too.
Where did you get the highly textured thick latex gloves? I was thinking dish gloves?
 

galaxyMLP

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Where did you get the highly textured thick latex gloves? I was thinking dish gloves?
Yeah... I needed to say dish gloves. My descriptions arent always the best...

I use these:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Playtex-Living-Drip-Catch-Cuff-Ultra-Fresh-Medium-Gloves-Medium/11027856

They are fabric lined (at least if feels like they are lined with something fabric like?), comfortable, fit very well and have diamond texturing all over the palm/fingers. You can just hold the soap in one hand and rub it onto the other to felt it. :) They also make them in small, medium and large which helps to get them fit better. Mine just broke (small tear in a finger from a soap beveler) and I've been using them for almost a year for everything soapy so they are definitely durable!

Make sure to get dish gloves that fit well and are durable though. I tried "wimpy" ones at first and they just make it worse since then your hands are irritated from water getting in them or getting a tear or other things... Plus, then they don't act as a felt mat if they aren't grippy.
 
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DeeAnna

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You know, come to think of it, I think I remember seeing small packs of various colors of wool top in Walmart of all places -- in the craft section. Or was it Target? Arrgh! If you don't find anything at "In the Making", maybe try Wally World, Target, or one of the big-name craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby?

ETA: Yep, Wally World. http://www.walmart.com/search/?query=wool
 
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galaxyMLP

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I found uncolored wool roving in the section near the yarn in both Joanns and Michaels. Michales sells 2 oz of undyed wool for $6.99. They have other fun colors too but, you get quite a bit less for the same amount of $$.

Oh, and my wally world doesn't have any. But, it might be in yours!
 

TeresaT

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I don't know about felting soaps; however, I received gorgeous Polworth top from The Woolery for spinning. They have an amazing selection of fibers (raw fleeces, too!) for every imaginable fiber-related craft. I have a wish list a mile long for their site. www.woolery.com. They have a section specifically for felting. Even if you don't buy from them, it's worth it to look. For me personally, it's the FAO Schwarz of fiber!
 

galaxyMLP

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I did have a question, I had a family member request a felted soap but is allergic to wool. Is there any way I can felt with cotton or a synthetic fiber? Its my BF's aunts husband. She loves the felted soap but wants one for her husband who its allergic to wool.
 

rparrny

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DeeAnna;544111[URL="http://www.mielkesfiberarts.com/product/fiber-artists-bag-of-candy/" said:
[/URL]

I usually wrap my soaps first with a plain natural color Merino, and then add thin layers and strands of colored wool over the top of that, so you might want to buy a slightly larger quantity of top in a basic color if you want to take this approach.
Any pics of your felted soaps DeeAnna?
 

TeresaT

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What is the difference between wool roving and wool top?

Also, did y'all see this article?
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/offbe...rth-of-fleece/ar-AAdTPpz?li=BBgzzfc&ocid=iehp
Top goes thru a wool comb and all the fibers are going the same direction.

Roving goes thru a carder and not all of the fibers (just most) are going in the same direction.

Best real life scenario I can think of is:

Top is kind of like long silky hair that has just been combed. Roving is that same hair after running to catch the bus and finger combing it.
 

Susie

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I did have a question, I had a family member request a felted soap but is allergic to wool. Is there any way I can felt with cotton or a synthetic fiber? Its my BF's aunts husband. She loves the felted soap but wants one for her husband who its allergic to wool.
No, only wool will felt correctly.
 

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