Feeling confused by the different names for felting wool? You’re not alone. Once the sheep has been shorn, its fleece undergoes lots of processing before you get your hands on it to make your wonderful creations.
Raw & Unwashed
This is the state of the fleece straight from the sheep and it will feel greasy at this stage as it still contains the natural lanolin, a great hand moisturiser but not so great to handle. Depending where the sheep has been roaming you may also find some free hedgerow and other delightful natural products!
Batts or Carded
Once the fleece has had a good wash and teased out with a stiff brush it is carded into sheets so that all the fibres go in different directions and looks matted, this is a great wool for rolling into shapes.
This is the wool that you would use as a core to make 3D projects, it is not as pretty as the other wools but is a good base to put under your tops.
Locks & Curls
So fleece from some sheep may look and feel like they have had a trip to the hairdressers, the texture may be tight ringlets or bouncy locks – these curls may come from a Blue Faced Leicester or a Cotswold but there are many beautifully styled sheep to look out for.
Tops or Roving
This is the wool that you will probably lust after. The wool looks like it is a length of rope and can be split into thinner strips. The most widely available tops or roving in the UK is merino and comes in a beautiful array of colours. You can also often find dyed Corriedale and Shetland, plus a number of other breeds in their natural shades.