Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wool Felted Soap

I need to preface this post by admitting that I am decidedly NOT crafty.  I wish I were, but I'm not.  I can sew on a button, but thats about it.  I tried to quilt for a while.  I got three baby quilts made for friends and family.  They weren't pretty.  I can't seem to get the sewing machine adjusted correctly.  The thread always either breaks or bunches up under the fabric.  Over and over.  I break needles.  John comes home to find the living room COVERED in scraps, thread, etc. and my with my hair standing on end.  I always end the project, without finishing, and tell myself I just can't sew.  Until I think of another project.  It is a vicious cycle, I tell you.  Finally, John planned an intervention and I sold the machine on craigslist.  Best decision ever.  However, this left me craftless and a bit uneasy.  

I started learning about felting wool online and came across a tutorial for felting over soap.  

Wool felted soap is just a bar of soap that is wrapped in wool and 'felted' so that the wool outer covering becomes like a washcloth.  Its a bar of soap and shower poof in one!  Wool has natural anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties as long as it is properly cared for and kept dry between uses.  I chose a soap with tea tree oil as it has antiseptic properties.  

For this bar, I am using a pink and a green dyed wool roving.  

You wrap a thin layer in one direction, then in the next direction.  
This gives the fibers something to 'felt' to.  

Keep going until you have the bar mostly covered.  It will be loose.  That is OK. 
On this bar, I twisted a length of wool into a tight yarn for decoration.  It is not attached or tied.  

Next you will sprinkle the wool with hot water.  Have a bowl of hot water handy for rinsing.  

Now, you start gently rubbing the soap.  Rather than rubbing the fibers with you fingers, you want to use your finger to rub the fiber against the soap.  The friction should be between the soap and fibers, not your fingers and the fibers.  
Things will get foamy and start to tighten up.  Once things start feeling less 'loose' and the whole deal is covered with lather, you can dunk and swish in the bowl of hot water.  Things will loosen up temporarily, but now is the time to use friction between your hands and the wool.  You use the exact same motions as washing your hands with a bar of soap at this stage.  Things have felted enough that your wool won't shift too much.  Just keep rubbing until the wool has tightened around the bar and things are nice and lathered.  Once more dunk and swish, then pat it dry on a towel.  
It will need to dry and cure for about 24 hours.  As you use the soap, the wool will shrink and will always fit the soap perfectly!  

How cool is that?  

1 comment:

Funder said...

That's totally crazy! I love it, really pretty colors.

The first thing I wondered is if you can felt wool over saddle soap - it looks like it'd be perfect to clean my saddle seat.