Ive always been in love with the look of felted wool garland, but depending on how the sheep are raised, wool isnt always the most ethical of textiles. I couldnt bring myself to spend over $100 to get the amount I needed for my tree as well. I started knitting about 12 years ago, and throughout the years have aquired some yarn as hand me downs, garage sales, etc. I took a look and turns out I had quite a bit of wool yarn already so I figured I would take a stab at using it up and seeing if I can make these little balls to make my own garland.
All the tutorials on line say to use roving. But I wanted to see if there was someway to I could make these out of what I already had. It took ALOT of patience, time and trial and error, but in the end I’m pretty happy with what I have!
You will need 100% wool yarn in order to make these. I used a combination of this and another kind, that was much thinner.
Long, thick needle
Decide how big you want to make your balls. Take them and roll them up into about 1/2 inch-1inch balls and use the crochet hook to pull in the end. (watch this video here) You do NOT want these to come unraveled when you wash them. This is very very important. They should be nice and tight and very round. Much like that first green ball below.
Once you have all your balls made, You are going to put them, one by one into a pantyhose and tie them off at the ends. I tried a sock and a I tried just throwing them in a pillowcase. Just putting them in a pillow case WAS my best result, BUT on my second batch a bunch came unraveled and all clumped together, so I found the pantyhose method to be the next best option.
Once you have them all tied up, you want to throw them in your wash machine. I put mine in a pillowcase first, so they didnt get all tangeled within the washing machine. Set the settings to the smallest load size, and use the hottest water cycle. Add about 2 tspn of detergent and let it go. It will wash them with hot, and then rinse with cold. That is what you want. I usually did this 3-4 times, and then threw them in the dryer too for about an hour or so.
Once i cut them free, your balls should be felted. Alot of mine still had yarn definition but the yarn seemed clumped together so i went with it. Mine is far from perfect, but I dont mind at all. Im sure doing this with roving makes much nicer balls, but I wanted to use up what I had so this suited my needs!
Once you are all done with felting your balls, its time to string them along onto the embroidery floss. I got my needle ready and tied a knot at the end and just strung these along. I made each one about 6-7 feet. I Had just enough to cover my tree and I absolutely love it!