Though crunchyparent.com appears to no longer be in existance, the video at http://www.youtube.com/user/CrunchyParent#p/a/u/1/Ydfz8JG_3UA is quite wonderful. So after successfully creating my core ball, I decided I'd do another and take pictures so I finally post a tutorial! While the creator of the tutorial used wool batting, I used wool fiber that I purchase on etsy.com from Dreamcrafter last year. With the kind I used it did not hold onto itself very well, but it still worked just fine as you will see.
So here is my pile of wool fiber and the ball core that I already felted.
I took about a three foot length and rolled it up.
As you can see in the last picture it doesn't hold together well. I just held it firmly but gently in my hands to keep it's shape. I followed the instructions per the video and took photos for you of the stages of felting. It really took no more than maybe ten minutes of gently rubbing and massaging the wool in a circular motion. Sorry for the "fancy" lighting, the weather today is rather autumn like actually and the wind blew some clouds to block majority of the sunlight.
When it was rather firm and obviously felted into a ball, I then rinsed it a bit and squeezed out the excess water. The trouble with the video tutorial is that she gives you no finishing instructions beyond using the washing machine.
Mischief requested a purple ball and Drama Queen wanted a pink one. Mischief had trouble keeping her hands off the unfinished balls.
For the colored layer I used some carded fleece I purchased last year from 7 yaks on etsy. I took a wad and smoothed it out a bit then rolled the fleece around the ball. I did two layers so it would be fully covered.
Having no other idea on how to finish the balls, I scrounged up a worn out pair of tights from Drama Queen's toddler days. The purple ball, which I did attempt to hand felt, went into the tights much more easily than the pink did. I slip knotted them into the tights, and threw them in a small load of whites in hot water. I realized at the beginning of the first cycle that I didn't stick them in a pillowcase, and pulled them out to remedy that.
That part of the crunchy parent tutorial is in a second video.
When the washer was done I threw the pillowcase alone into the dryer so it'd dry faster. The purple one, which I slightly wet felted by hand before giving up and stuffing it in the tights, turned out better than the pink. So I recommend slightly hand felting the colored part before sticking it in the tights/nylons. As you can see I ended up with bald spots on one side of each ball. I'll needle felt over them.
Once I locate my felting needles I will felt each girls initial onto their own ball.
And there you have my tutorial on wet felting a ball.