So before you start pulling out handfuls of needle felting wool from our glass cases or your stash, stop and think: can I use core wool? C-1 and C-1/Pelsull are both affordable options, and core wool is even more economical wool that allows you to make a needle felting base without using all of your dyed fiber. It is available in both roving and batting form, and at NEFS we carry both dark and light. You probably get tired of reading it, but the first step you have to take when choosing what kind of core wool to use is to ask: what in the world do I want to make?
Batting is spongier and is good for solid forms, and roving is great for wrapping around armature wire. Our darker wool is—unsurprisingly!—good for darker projects so that the light background doesn’t come through and distract from your final color choices. Don’t worry about the vegetation that you find in most core wool, because the more you needle felt the more the vegetation comes to the surface. Then it is easy to pick off.
If you decide to take the core-wool plunge, start out by creating the most basic shapes that are contained in your final product. This requires you to observe the form as a whole and then break it into distinct pieces. This takes practice, and starting with a sketch can help you hone this skill. It’s always good to start bigger that your final product will be, because it is easier to work with when it is soft. Once it becomes too compact, it’s hard to add on those all-important surface details that make your projects come alive!
Core wool is not recommended for the outer layer, because the color is not as vibrant and it tends to pill quickly. However, as a base it saves you time, money, and effort. We especially recommend People’s Wool and our own washed core wool, as it is smooth, clean, and spongy and felts down to a professional final product. Try it out and let us know what you think!