Wool Altar Bowl for Imbolc

Traditionally, Imbolc occurred during lambing season. Sheep would mate in the fall and ewes would give birth around Imbolc. The new-born lambs marked a turning point in the seasons and the hope of coming spring. During Imbolc, we honor these natural cycles and celebrate seasonal changes. Learn how to make this beautiful wet-felted wool bowl to use for offerings or to place on your Imbolc altar.

Wet felting is a simple process that uses natural wool, water, and soap to create a sturdy, felted wool item. You can use wool roving or wool batts, but it is important that you use 100% natural wool without any synthetic fibers. This tutorial is for wool roving.


ITEMS NEEDED

  • good amount of wool roving (100% wool with no synthetic fibers)

  • hot water and dish soap

  • scissors

  • balloon, ball, orange or other item to mold the wool

  • nylon panty hose or wig cap

  • scissors

  • bubble wrap (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Take the wool roving and thin it out so that it is gauzy and has no large clumps.



2. Layer the wool so that the fibers in each layer face in opposite directions. For example, if the first layer has the fibers facing horizontally, then place the next layer so the fibers face vertically. Keep layering the wool in this criss-cross manner until you have a nice thick, fluffy pile. There should be enough wool to easily cover the object you will use for a mold.



3. Add hot water to a bowl with a small amount of dish soap. I used about 1 teaspoon of dish soap for 3 cups of water. Cover your mold object with the hot, soapy water.



4. Cover your mold snugly with the wool. You can wet your hands with a bit of soapy water to make this easier. Make sure you thin out any corners that may form so that there are no extra thick, lumpy spots. Once covered, dampen the entire thing with the soapy water.



5. Place the panty hose (or wig cap) over your wool mold and tie it tightly. Note: I like to use a wig cap because it is smaller, but panty hose work as well. If you use a balloon, align the knot of the balloon with the knot of the panty hose (or wig cap).



6. Dip the whole thing into the hot water. Roll it around for about five minutes. Tip: Rolling it on bubble wrap works well if you have it. If not, you can use a towel. Rinse it some under more hot water if it gets really soapy.




7. After five minutes, remove the hose. At this point, you should see fiber hairs sticking out of the hose. When you remove the hose, it might stick a bit so pull it off gently. It is okay if a few fibers come off.




8. Once the hose is removed, place the wool mold back in the hot soapy water and continue rolling as before for another five minutes.



9. Choose a place to make the opening and pull up on the wool and make a small cut.

Tip: start with a small cut and stretch it out if needed. You can always cut bigger, but you can't make it smaller again.



10. Remove the mold object from the wool.



11. Rinse the wool to remove the soap. Squeeze out the excess water.



12. Shape your bowl and let it dry.



13. Once dry, it is ready to use.

Note that the flowers below do not have water as the bowl is not water proof.


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