All About Felting Wool: Batts / Roving / Tops / Locks / Curls

All About Felting Wool: Batts / Roving / Tops / Locks / Curls

Felting Wool: An introduction to Batts, Roving, Tops, Carded, Combed, Locks, Curls

Felting Wool has many names - here is a quick guide to what each means and their uses.  

Batts / Carded

The fleece is washed, teased out, and carded into batts (large thick sheets of wool). The short fibres go in different directions and the wool can be broken off in handfuls, thin sheets, or a long strip.

Great for 3d shaping, 2d (pictures / butterflies / flowers), a good all rounder! 

Can also be wet felted.


Core Wool

This tends to be a cheaper and not necessarily such nice looking wool which shapes quickly and easily, so that you can make the inside of the project from core wool, and then use your nice wools for the top coat.

Our Shetland: a light white which shapes quickly and easily and is nice enough to leave showing for a top coat.

Our Basic Core wool: A cheaper alternative, good for adding bulk.

Our Lanolin Rich Core Wool: A brilliant sticky wool, great for quckly making shapes, wrapping armature, and good for your hands!

Tops / Roving / Pencil Roving / Combed

The fleece is washed, carded, and then combed to align the fibres into the same direction (they look like combed hair) and remove shorter fibres. The wool looks like a long snake or rope and is broken off in lengths, which can then be split apart into thinner lengths. This is most commonly found as Merino wool which is a very straight, fine fibre, but could be any breed.


Merino Tops: Great for wet felting (with soap and water), surface colouring, our water soluble paper flowers (free flower tutorial here)

Ryeland / Texel Roving: We get this from our local farmer and is amazing for wrapping armatures (free tutorial here), we have found nothing better!!


Curls / Locks / Fleece

This may be washed or unwashed. Some breeds such as Cotswold, Teesdale, Blue Faced Leicester have beautiful big long lustrous curls or locks, while others have a more frizzy-looking fleece. A whole fleece refers to the entire fleece as shorn from the sheep and can weigh a few kilos.

Long curls / locks: great for fairy hair, unicorn manes, gnome / santa beards.

Curls add texture to a picture and make great clouds, waves, sheep etc.

Our Leicester Curls are tiny little curls and great for little sheep.

Raw / Unwashed This fleece is 'straight off the sheep' and will contain lanolin which feels 'greasy' and is great for your hands and may give the wool a darker yellow colour (lightens when washed). It may also contain slightly more vegetable matter than washed / carded / combed wool. The lanolin in the wool helps things to stick, so some spinners love it, it holds beautiful curls / locks well, and we have our Lanolin rich core wool which is gently washed to keep as much lanolin in as possible, meaning it sticks amazingly to itself and is great for quick shaping and wrapping armatures.
Other Fibres There are many other fibres used for needle felting, both synthetic and natural. Alpaca, llama, even dog hair can be felted but none have the 'velcro' properties of wool. Synthetic fibres tend to be very slippy. It helps to mix either of these with a bit of wool.

Our favourites include the sparkly synthetic Angelina Fibre, and the natural plant fibre Ramie.

We also use recycled sari silk mixed with wool to add richness and depth to the colour.

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  • Heather Franklin - July 24, 2020

    Please can you tell me the micron size of your batts? Thanks.

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