For this month's ATC (Art Trading Card) I decided to try and use up some yarn scraps. The theme was color my wprld so iused all sorts of colored yarns to make a felt panel that I cut into the appropriate size. It's quite simple actually as documented below. I have documented the process with a very small portion since I did not think to document it until after I was finished with the large.
Materials: wool yarn scraps and a wire brush. These are small yarn scraps from a few different tye-dyed yars that i had but never really liked. What I do is run the wire brush over the small pieces on top of a cutting board until the yarn has been shredded apart. You can buy the wool already "carded" as it's called but this is a good way to use up scraps.
This is what you will end up with after the scraps have been brushed. In order to get a 1/4" thick panel, you will need to start out with a pile og carded wool about 4"high.
Next you place the wool into a tray or large baking dish and pour very hot water with about 1/4 teaspoon of dish washing liquid in it over the top. Then "work" the fibers of the wool together by pressing up and down on the wool creating bubbles. It is very important to work fast before the water cools. The hot water and the motion along with the bubbles force the fibers to meld together. Do not over work or you could end up with holes or thin spots. I still don't really understand how it works.
Once you have completed working the wool, roll it up and remove from tray and run it under cold water to shrink the fibers...almost like shocking the fibers. The hot water expands the fibers and the cold water shrinks them quickly. You can repeat the process of hot and cold several times depending upon how tight you want the panel. On the second round of hot water, just place itt back in the tray and pour hot water over without working it.
Next, place the panel on a towel and roll the water out of it. Here I am just pressing the water out for illustration's sake.
Allow to dry thoroughly before cutting or sewing. You can also press with a hot iron while wet to further the shrinking process.
The final ATC cards. Pretty cool that the entire process (excluding dry time) took about 2 hours. If you used carded wool, it would go much faster.