My fiber artist friend, Megan, asked me about felting. Last spring, Jeremy and I attended a workshop to learn how to felt and made this purse and some other felted pieces that we used to make flowers. The flowers ended up as embelishments on this purse and as pins and magnets we have given to friends.
This felting was done through a process called wet felting where warm soapy water is applied to the felt and then it is massaged until the fibers begin to bind together. More soapy water, more massaging - the end result is a very strong material and very clean hands and wrinkly fingers. For more on wet felting.
Some people felt by using their washing machine, but we have never tried this method. We have been told to proceed with caution because of the wear on the washing machine. Others use a needle felting process, that uses a form and needles with little barb-like hooks on the end. We have also never tried this method.
A great kids' project is to felt a bar of soap. The end product is a bar of soap that has a soft covering that can be used in the bath. This project is easy and fun.