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NEEDLE FELTING - Turning Wool Fibers into Felt

A Division of

Love to Sew shows you the process of dry needle felting.

Llama, Alpaca, and Sheep Fibers

Llamas fibers come in many colors, black, brown, tan, white, and more. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin-free. Their fiber is extremely delicate and soft, and highly valued for the purposes of weaving, but the animals can not produce much.

Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas and were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven item similar to wool. These items can include blankets, sweaters, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, and a wide variety of textiles and ponchos. The fiber comes in more than 52 natural colors.

The Alpaca are the most valuable fiber-bearing animals because of the quality and quantity of its fiber. Alpaca fleece is a lustrous and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep's wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which make is hypoallergenic. Without lanolin , it does not repel waters. The soft luxuious, and glossy alpaca fiber is prepared and used for spinning, weaving, and needle-felting similar to the process used for wool. Alpaca fiber is also flame-resistant, and meets the US Consumer Product Safety Commissions standards. The alpaca's fiber grows back each year.

Sheep can produce 2-30 pounds of wool a year. Unlike the soft and silky fibers found on Alpaca and Llama the sheeps fibers are coarser. Fine wool sheep have the greatest value because of their smaller fiber. Garments made from fine wool do not itch as much as regular wool. Sheep that produce very rough and course fibers are used for products like carpet wool and tapestry. Medium wool sheep produce the lightest weight wool which is less valuable. Medium wool is used for socks, blankets, sweaters, and felting.

Some of your more serious needle-felters will use wool fibers for needle-felting for the center of a big project shown below. Then use dyed wool or alpaca fibers for the beauty of the outside of the project. They do this for two reasons. One, sheep wool is less expensive, and two, alpaca fibers are silkier, prettier, and easier to needle-felt. Alpaca fibers also "felt" better too! Meaning their fibers bond better when needle felting. See how the fibers turn into projects.





Dry Needle Felting Main Page

Photos of Dry Felt Projects 1 - 2 - 3 - 4


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