Wool nepps tutorial – How to make them yourself

My wool nepps are the first 3, on the tape measure. The 4th is generally what is available online for purchase.
My wool nepps are the first 3, on the tape measure.
The 4th wool nepp, is generally what is available online for purchase.
Wool nepps a tutorial, well, a curly wool nepp. It’s a start, and just my style, easy and cute

I have searched the web far and wide about how to make wool nepps on my own. I’ve seen, where to but them how to use them, but…

I can’t seem to find a tutorial, on how to make my own wool nepps. So after my hydrogen peroxide trial went so well, it gave me an idea for another experiment.

Wool nepps are considered a by product, waste, second cuts. Naturally, the fiber folks are smart people and took those little bits of waste and made them a fun add in. I think where fiber is concerned, we find ways to ascertain nothing is wasted. Again, everything has it’s place, and these nepps become these cute, tiny wool sprinkles, by dying them bright colors, and adding to artisan batts or yarns. Maybe needle felt eyes on a toy, etc,… No waste!!

Cleaned lock with dirty tips...
Cleaned Corriedale lock with dirty tips…
I had washed a fleece, it was clean but a few locks had the tips stuck together by dirt. This time, I was undeniably, too lazy to wait for locks to take a swim in the hydrogen peroxide, and then dry. Instead, I decided to clip the dirty tip off as I spun, instantly opening up the lock for spinning. Fibers are all aligned in these locks, since they are grown side by side. That dirty tip being clipped off and gone, the lock opens up instantly, without any flicking, and ready for instant, top-like spinning.

Clip dirty tips off clean locks, and add into a tub until you have filled the tub enough to make it worth the next step... Or maybe until you are out of dirty tips
Clip dirty tips off clean locks, and add into a tub until you have filled the tub enough to make it worth the next step… Or maybe until you are out of dirty tips
I started saving my clipped tip pieces in a tub and once I had a good amount, I thought these, yes, these could be nepps.

The picture shows my little clipped lock tips next to the bright white lock it was clipped from, for reference. They were dirty, and unwelcome in my white yarn. We know how to clean these clippings effortlessly, no problem, with that hydrogen peroxide soak.

My pile of dirty tips ready for a soak, next to the white locks I'm left with
My pile of dirty tips ready for a soak, next to the white locks I’m left with
First things first, I plopped them into my hydrogen peroxide to melt off the dirt as I learned(see earlier blog here)

https://everythingfiberarts.com/2014/06/15/stain-removal-from-my-lovely-locks/

and let the magic happen, after the 24 hours were up…

Tips in hydrogen peroxide soak for 24 hours
Tips in hydrogen peroxide soak for 24 hours
I emptied the container and rinsed my little pieces of wool, in some room temp/cool water, and set them on the rack to dry.

After drying I was left with mini curl nepps - dime for size reference
After drying I was left with mini curl nepps – dime for size reference
They turned out to be mini curls, little white tips and I must say, I think they are cute as ever, not the nepp ball I’m used to seeing but an awesome add in, so next up, a quick dye job, when dying other fleece . No extra steps to dye when I’m already doing a batch of dying something and BAM!

Curly nepps
Curly nepps
I have a new add in that otherwise would have been waste, it doesn’t look exactly like a nepp ball, but I must say, just as cute, if not cuter, then the usual round balls on the market.
I adore the little curl.

Left - nepps purchased online But from the royal blue, Kelly green, and chartreuse are all mine :)
Left – nepps purchased online
But from the royal blue, Kelly green, and chartreuse are all mine ๐Ÿ™‚
Next time you are spinning by the lock, if you don’t want to wait for the hydrogen peroxide method, maybe try clipping that tip off, and saving them until you have a good amount, do the easy soak, rinse, dry, and dye (unless white is good for the project, leave as is)

Homemade nepps, the curls are darling! if I do say so myself
Homemade nepps, the curls are darling!
if I do say so myself (again nepps to the left were online purchase)
image

This is as close to a nepp as I got with minimal, very minimal work. It actually, saved time snipping the lock tip as I spun and saving up my dirty tips for future nepps, I gotta say I’m pretty pleased with myself. The hydrogen peroxide bath really isn’t work. Not quite the nepp balls that can be bought, but tiny sprinkled curls, still cute.
I bet I could run them through the dryer wet and have balls, but that’s more work then I want to put into my nepps, however, I have to say I really do like the curls I got. Although, I suspect, results will vary depending on fleece type, and how fine/coarse curly/crimpy the fiber is you try this with. All in all, should I end up with dirty tips from any fleece, they will now be trimmed for future nepp styles, colors, really the possibilities are endless…

I think they turned out awesome for a first try, again super easy... And no wasted wool
I think they turned out awesome for a first try, again super easy… And no wasted wool
I suppose I will have to show them in an art batt or maybe even some finished handspun! ๐Ÿ™‚

what do you think? Will you ever give this a try? Make your own wool nepps and save a little wool, that’d otherwise be trashed.

9 thoughts on “Wool nepps tutorial – How to make them yourself

    1. I’ve actually never used nepps yet, although I have purchased them….
      I don’t know if I’ll make a batt that’s an all natural white then add as many different color nepps I can like sprinkles or I also dyed teeswater at the same time in the same colorway, but the teeswater long locks will steal the show. I need a batt maybe a lighter color…. Oh so many choices

      1. I like to look at it awhile lol before I decide on anything… Whether it’s fiber or finished yarn. Most of the time I’m happy to let it sit there while I pet or stare at it.
        Fiber especially, it’s so pretty just being fiber I worry I’ll ruin it if I spin it in a way that feels or looks less desirable then had I kept it as fluff.
        Which is a big reason that this blog is about my trying the new things, despite being a spinner for a few years now. I still have so much to try and learn, so this has really given me the push to try more of what I love…. Throwing caution to the wind! If I’m not happy with a project, there is always more where that came from to try again ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going for it

  1. The pictures in your blog are spanking my eyeballs. I enjoy scrolling down and looking at them. I’m not sure if I would have the occasion to wear neon yarn, but I enjoy seeing it in the world.
    I see at least two of your experiments have to do with icky fleece. Dryer balls and Nepps. So you made Lemonade out of Lemons. So maybe the bad, old fleece was still good for inspiration.
    As to the nepps… Even if you never use them it was worth it to take the time to understand something. Those kind of experiences can be called on for future ideas. Isn’t it wonderful to have something you’re passionate about…
    Now if you could weave a guitar. Oh wait, it’s already been done. Carbon fiber.

    1. Not everything will be neon, but neon is so fun… And much like in the 80’s
      It seems to be ‘in’ again. Also, I’m not sure playing with black yarn would be as fun. However, when I eventually weave the neon yarn, I’ll use a black warp to help tie in the piece with an outfit of black, and make the neon really pop
      I leave the music making to my husband, he is amazing at it!!
      Thanks for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Aww Thank you. I have so much to learn myself. I have been trying new techniques, new fibers, new tools. There is so much one can do with fiber and artists always coming up with new ideas.

      With Nepps… one can spin them into yarn, or felt them, they are a little add in for texture and pop of color. I used them in this water Lilly yarn
      https://everythingfiberarts.com/2014/08/03/handspun-adventures-07162014-lily-scrapbox/
      And in my Shanghai yarn you can see in the pics
      https://everythingfiberarts.com/2014/09/24/spinning-adventures-shanghai-scrapbox/
      The yarn is red but the nepps are pops of yellow.
      I’m hoping to see new ways they can be used

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