Tis true! It *is* a big felt universe! Everywhere you look these days there is felt. And of course, we all know that there are lots of different types of felt. And I'll bet you've heard of and/or worked with several types, but did you know that not all felts are created equal? I've said those words a bazillion times and the truth of that statement hit home for me once again today, but in a slightly different way.
Let's talk about wool felt (ha! no surprise that I'd want to talk about wool felt, is it?!). I just added a brand new listing in my shop for a big fluffy pile of felty wool felt ***and*** Jeanette Lim's book "Big Little Felt Universe".
After browsing through the book, ooh'ing and ahh'ing over the adorable projects (at least 70 of them - all in one book!!), I decided to take a gander at the fine print. The author states 'Not all felt is created equally.' Sweet! I thought I'd found someone of like mind. However, sadly enough, the author goes on to express her opinion that 100% wool felt is 'too thick' for the projects featured in her book. WHAT??? Clearly, dear author, you have not tried my luscious pure wool felt. That comment truly does make me sad as I can completely assure you, dear readers, that my felt is the *perfect* felt for the cute projects featured in this book : )
My point is that not even 100% wool felts are created equal. "SERIOUSLY?" you may ask... Yes, seriously. How could that be? Wool is wool, right? Well, it's actually kind of simple. There are hundreds of different breeds of sheep. Each one producing a wool fiber. But different sheep produce fiber specific to that sheep. Sure, it's still all 100% wool, since, after all, that's what a sheep's fiber is.... but some fiber can be thick, or thin, or long, or short, or thick, or stiff, or curly or straight. And then you have to factor in exactly how that fiber is processed into felt. And of course there's the dyes that color the fiber that are to be considered. It all makes a huge difference in the end product.
Perhaps the author of Big Little Felt Universe used a 100% wool felt from Nepal. Holy smokes, now there's some thick, stiff felt! Totally not the best choice for the projects in the book. Or maybe she used a 100% wool felt that was hand-felted. Most likely, that would be too thick because as wonderful as us humans are, we generally can't process fiber to the extent that a machine can. Perhaps she used a 100% wool felt that was something other than merino and initially created and processed for an application other than crafting. And in that instance, the felt may have been processed harshly and dyed with environmentally un-friendly dyes. That type of wool felt wouldn't be the best choice for her projects either.
It just makes me a little sad when I read something that's just tossed out to the masses as if it were fact - something that is a misinformed generalization. Yes, it's true. All felts are not created equal. Even when they are 100% wool. Because there are several other important aspects to consider, as mentioned above.
If you're looking for a pure wool felt for hand stitching, you won't find anything better than my pure merino wool felt. This felt was specifically created for handcrafts exactly like those pictured in the book. It's created from one of the finest wool fibers available. Because it's completely natural wool, the fibers felt together with very little energy (and that's environmentally friendly!). This felt is fine, strong, color-saturated, color-fast, fade-resistant and toxin-free. Not only is my felt the perfect thickness for hand or machine stitching, it cuts like a knife thru warm buttah, holds stitches beautifully, and can be hand-washed and air-dried.
So there ya have it. Felty sets the record straight : ) I feel so much better now.