K@ (sparkly_spike) wrote in woolhead,


hey, I'm new here. My name is Kat & I'm looking to get into dread making for myself & to sell on if they're successful.

A while ago (about 3 years now) I started experimenting with making fake hair out of wool and then I gave up because I sucked. I sold all my wool and just put it all behind me. Now the craving as come back.

I bought some roving wool off ebay (linkage: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=004&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=140086090158&rd=1&rd=1
so you know what type of roving I'm using)

I found a tutorial on a website (linkage: http://www.angelfire.com/freak2/rovingtutorial/) which suggests soaking the wool with hot water & *any* soap with a high pH (does this mean clothes-washing-detergent liquid, hand-soap, fabric conditioner?) to let it "felt" before twisting/moulding it into dread shapes. I did that, and it worked on the day but the next day it'd poofed out a bit so I resoaked and it stayed...now I'd like to know is this the best way to make wool dreads? The tutorial says to use hot water. I tried luke warm and then gradually got hotter until I settled with using boiling water (obviously with a bit of cold in it to avoid melting my hands) and then I wondered how can I make it keep its shape? Is using hair moose advisable? I thought maybe it'd help them stay smooth and stuck together. AS I said, I'm new to this and I can't remember how my friend used to make them - we've lost touch over the 3years so I can't ask her.

They seem okay for today (did them yesterday & day before) but obviously using straighteners will flatten them & I'm worried a hairdryer will make it all fluffy. (Am I making sense?) I was wondering if a) anyone had any technique for treating and using this wool or b) if there was another way that might be better. Also, how do you stop the ends fraying? One bit of dread is twisted and I'm worried it'll untwist and look stupid. I'll post pictures of my creations later but any help would be amazing!!

Thanks very much for sticking with this post for this long!
~ K@

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I am completely not a professional at wool dreads, but you didn't mention part of the felting process, which is agitation. Were you rolling each length of roving between your hands while in and after removing them from the hot water? Often you have to give it a lot of agitation before the "tube" of roving felts solidly. And if you roll and rub the ends into points, they shouldn't fray.
I was pinching them tightly, rolling with my fingers as i gently pulled them out the hot water rather than rolling with the whole of my palm. I didn't think to roll them *in* the water either! I'll give it a go! thanks very much for replying!!
I think after taking them out of the water, rolling them vigorously on a towel should help too.
won't that pull the wool apart?
how long do i let them soak for?
You might want to check out:


I'm not a pro, but I think this is a decent tutorial. I hope it helps!
yeah if you look at my post that's the tutorial I used. thanks thou!
the water doesn't have to be that hot... but yeah, you've got to really rub them! don't be gentle! And the rolling in the towel (like she said above) really helps finish them off, and make them even.

Once you get one dread done right -- it will be really packed solid -- you'll figure it out. Done right there's NO WAY they'll unroll or fray... I couldn't tweeze one of mine apart if I tried!

I'm pretty sure if yours are half-dreaded now, you could just dunk them back in water and keep working on them until they're finished.
I'll start being rough with them! Thanks!
Yep, rolling on a towel is definitely an important step, and no it won't pull them apart! even better than a towel though I have found is a textured rubber bath mat or a highly textured coy or jute mat, both of which work wonders for really tightening up those dreads :) also, often instead of dipping the roving in the water straight up I dry felt it a bit first (just roll it on the mat or towel), which helps a lot with the folds that tutorial talks about the dreads getting sometimes. oh yes, and to answer your other question, pretty much any soap will do, though I don't know about fabric conditioner. I mainly use a bar soap or detergent of some kind.