Mar 28, 2013

DIY | How To Not Make A Felt Ball Rug

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A few months ago I decided I wanted to make a rug out of felt balls for the nursery, after seeing one in a shop window. I researched how to make one and found very few tutorials, as it seemed to be a pretty enormous undertaking that few people had attempted. The rugs in stores all seem to have been either made exclusively by women in small workshops in Nepal, or at the very least, the felt balls were made in Nepal and then fastened together in Australia.

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I decided I wanted to make mine from scratch and started rolling felt balls that would eventually be stitched together into a round shape. I knew it would take me a long time, but I figured, what the hey, I'm pregnant and about to finish work, I have loads of time on my hands! Each ball took me about five to ten minutes to roll and I would sit and roll them while I watched a lot of Twin Peaks. It was pretty fun but really gave my hands a work out and all that dish soap made my hands so dry - not to mention - wool roving is not very pleasantly scented! I would lay all of my balls out in front of me and Atticus would sneakily come along and bat them all off the table and onto the floor and then start ripping into them. Cheek! I ended up making one for him to play with.

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The wool roving to make the balls was costing me a small fortune (I found some places that sell locally for about $7 for a 100g bag - each bag would make about 20 balls) and when I researched a bit, trying to find competitive prices for the wool roving, I found that buying the wool was more expensive than buying the balls pre-made (from Nepal). Then, when I compared the price of buying the pre-made felt balls with actually buying a rug completely made, well.... buying a rug was less expensive again.

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After a few weeks of nightly felt ball rolling, I laid out my balls and saw I had about enough for a 50cm rug (sounds big, looks small). I did some calculations as to how many more I'd need for the 1m rug I was planning and realised I was a bit out of my depth (and would never get enough made before the baby is born!). Wanna see my working out? No? I'll show you anyway!
- Total rug area (100cm in diameter) : π x r2 = π x 50cm2 = 7854cm² (to nearest cm)
- Each individual ball (3cm in diameter) : π x r2 = π x 1.5cm2 = 7cm² (to nearest cm)
- Divide the total rug area by the individual ball area = 1122 balls (approx. not taking into account the small spaces between the balls).
(Take that grade 12 general maths!) 
I realised I could continue to roll my own balls, spending a fortune, buy them pre-made in bulk online (still fairly expensive) or just buy a rug outright.

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So, I gave up. This has been a very long post to tell you I didn't make a rug. Haha.

I would really like to buy a rug and I have spotted some 1m rainbow ones on Etsy for around $200 including postage, but I'm hesitant to make such a splurge (even though I know how much time and effort goes into these things and it would totally be worth it!).

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At the very least, this was an exercise in the nature of craft - often it is far more expensive and takes a lot more time and effort to make things yourself. Sometimes, those things will be really amazing and worth the time, effort and money and become something that you feel proud of and might one day pass on - and other times the task you've set yourself is too big an undertaking and you should support some crafty Nepalese women instead.

So, what to do with my 150 felt balls? Here are some ideas I toyed with:

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1. Felt Craspedia 2. Christmas Wreath 3. Felt Ball Trivet 4. Felted Window Drapes 5. Felt Ball Necklace 6. Felt Ball Mobile

I've been feeling a bit indecisive so I decided to make a garland with them - that way if I somehow come into possession of another 900 balls to make the rug, or think up some other use, I can unthread them and use them again. I just used a large darning needle and some coloured embroidery thread. You can move the balls up and down the thread and there isn't too much movement when they're hung. Here's my garland (using about a third of the balls I made), hung up in a temporary spot:

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Please do make me feel better about being a quitter by sharing an anecdote about something you got part way through and never finished! :D

Ps. Every time I see felt balls I think about Bob from Twin Peaks. Creeeepy.

23 comments:

  1. I am sorry but there isn't ONE thing that I haven't finished!There are A LOT! AriadnefromGreece!

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  2. Your calculations made me smile.

    The best thing about this craft is that you do have lots of cool options! I do like the faux billy buttons!

    Is is still always disappointing when you can't make lovely things cheaper than you can buy them.

    Also, the nursery is looking great!

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  3. I like the idea of making a baby mobile for above the crib kinda like one of the sample pictures you showed of what you COULD make with your current felt balls.

    A craft that I have undertaken that I was all set to do and never turns out the way I'd like is when I make stencils. Whether for painting a t-shirt or for starting a new rubber stamp. There are some designs that I thought would be simple, but was too much of an undertaking, so I stopped midway, never finishing.

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  4. Oh my, this sounds time-consuming and very expensive indeed!

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  5. hey, as I had mentioned before I love the lockers. Did you paint them that colour or buy them that colour?

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  6. I really admire you for trying, I dream of owning a felt ball rug one day and cringe at the price but now I totally appreciate it after what you have shown and will purchase when the time is right. I started making a skirt three years, even took a class, it's all sewn, I just need to assemble it and do the button holes. It's packed away somewhere! I vote for the Christmas wreath, it is special.

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  7. I have pairs of socks that remind me of tv shows. Actually most of my knitting reminds me of a tv show, live show, or experience. Even if it is just a 'waiting for the train' scarf.

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  8. I got half way through an international relations degree and am currently paying off the $10,000 in HECS debt from that little foray....

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  9. Right now,i´m undertaking making a pompom rug,wish me luck.
    i hope i can make it!

    the garland is lovely and it´s true you can have so many options of things to do with the balls you already made :)

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  10. Way to kick mathematical butt! I like the little felt ball (trivet?) thing for the kettle. But your garland is awesome and so happy! I have heaps of those acrylic pompom ball thingies and never know what to do with them...so I just chuck them in and on peoples packages like confetti (is that mean?!)

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  11. I have never finished anything in my whole life...

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  14. Hi Blanca,

    Thank you for the nice post!

    It really is an incredible amount of work to make a such a rug yourself. I'm personally involved with www.feltballrug.com. The good thing of buying a rug is that you support women in Nepal. We ensure they get fair wages and good training. Moreover, we give the women who work for us the opportunity to do this from home. This way they can earn money, but also look after their children.

    On our website you can also design your own rug in any colour, size or shape you'd like (see: http://feltballrug.com/index.php/custom-felt-ball-rugs/custom-rug.html). This way you still maintain a bit of that DYI-feeling while at the same time helping an incredibly poor country.

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  15. The rug is a really cool idea but the garland looks cute too! I also like the window drapes!

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  16. It's so nice of you that you have a kind heart to promote this beautiful rug in the world. Women's of nepal really need help from the good heart like yours..
    My other suggestions will be always buy the rug from the Nepali manufacturer, it will directly help the household women's of Nepal. Middle man's are selling the rug in higher prices in abroad and paying lower price in Nepal.

    Here is the Nepali felt ball rug manufacturer, they have around 20 women working with them.

    www.feltandyarn.com

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  17. Haha such an adorable entry! I was just contemplating making a felt ball rug (pregnant and got time...), I think I would have gone through the exact same motions as you :)!

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  18. thank you so much for this, you have saved me a whole bunch of time and money!!

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  19. I think you've got tons to brag concerning! and that i would not worry about being "overly boastful" as a result of you are tooting your own horn! i prefer to listen to the great stuff that folks do. It's far better than hearing the long list of crap and ailments they're experiencing over ... and over ... and once again. Hearing dangerous stuff all the time is simply not smart.
    cricket-ball

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  20. Dear
    We do business felt products in Nepal. If you want I can provide you in wholesale price and very good quality. Website www.feltballrugsnepal.com Thanks

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  21. This is hilarious! Thanks for saving me the time and $ hehe

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  22. We are manufacture and supplier of felt products from Nepal. Like felt ball rugs,felt purse and many more felt products from Nepal. You can find various size and colors combination rug in our website. Please visit our website www.feltballrugsnepal.com

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  23. Over dyed rugs are modern rugs which are specially designed to give stylish and vibrant look to your room. They are specially weaved, treated and washed to give a unique effect to individual rugs with 80% wool and 20% cotton and combination of different techniques and best quality Indian wool. These rugs can be well used to give deep tone to ground any contemporary home.More information visit this website link : www.rugsnstyle.com

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