I was recently in North Carolina made a trip to a local yarn store, The Yarn Circle, where they spin and hand dye their own yarn. It was a beautiful shop, full of color and possibilities. I spent a bit of time looking around and trying to decide what to buy, talking with the women in the shop, one working, two knitting and relaxing at a welcoming table. I’m a total novice when it comes to knitting. I can knit a scarf, basically, but I had to buy something. A skein of alpaca yarn, died a gorgeous charcoal grey, a little knitting kit for Abby, with adorable hand-painted knitting needles and a sweet kitten button, and five beautiful glass beads.
I also bought several ounces of raw wool for felting soaps. The woman at the shop was kind enough to give a hands on tutorial on how to felt over soap! The plan was to felt soap with the kids, so the wool and the soaps came home with me, and this week Abby and I tried our hand at it. We didn’t use any fancy soaps, just Dove, but I’d like to get some handmade soaps at the farmers’ market and make some more. Here is short tutorial:
Bar soap, pantyhose, felted wool in fun colors, hot and cold water.
Start by wrapping a bar of soap with the felted wool. Choose the colors that you like and wrap until the entire bar is fully covered. It will be nice and fluffy.
Place the wrapped soap in the toe of a pantyhose foot. Try to keep the wool in place as you do this.
Hold the soap under very warm water as you squeeze the soap with your hands and start to work up a lather. The wool will start to cling to the soap as it gets wet and soapy.
Change the water to cold and do the same thing. This will cause the wool to shrink up a bit around the bar of soap.
Repeat this process several times, all the while squeezing the soap and working up a lather over and over again.
After you have done this for awhile, take a peek at your soap to see how well the wool has shrunk to the soap. It should be looking like the photo at bottom left. If the wool is still loose, continue with the warm and cold water process until it shrinks a bit tighter. Eventually you will have a beautifully decorated bar of soap that doubles as an exfoliating bar!
This project is so much fun for kids to do. It’s magical to see the transformation from the fluffy cotton candy type texture of the felted wool to the felted soap. The newly colored bars of soap are perfect for bath time and shower time. As the soap gets smaller, so does the wool casing… it just shrinks every time you use it. It’s just good clean fun!