This is a project that's been taking shape in my head for a few years and I've been putting it off. It's part of a winged lion costume for Miranda
The dreadlocks are made of wool yarn, attached to a piece of elastic. I've interrupted her World of Warcraft game and was taking a quick picture, I see now that I need to move the dreads a bit to cover the elastic in a few places. It was tedious to make, but really quite easy. I've included a tutorial with photographs. The wood floor probably wasn't the best contrast for taking the pictures, but I didn't realize that until I'd already felted the mane.
You need to use 100% wool yarn in order for it to felt properly. I used some scrap pieces I had lying around. I wound it around my arm and elbow to get pieces that were about 30 inches. You want the hanks of yarn to be about 1 1/2 times as long as the finished piece, because they will shrink.
Attach the hanks of yarn using slip knots to a length of elastic long enough to make a comfortable headband
You can make the hanks as thick or thin as you want, but each hank will make a dread, the thickness of the hank will determine how thick the dread is.
Continue until most of the elastic is covered. You can stretch the elastic some while covering it, but it isn't necessary to fully stretch it.
When you have the elastic covered, knot the ends together. Now you are going to felt it in the washing machine. Put the mane in a pillow case--I have a zippered one that works great, otherwise tie it shut or use a rubber band. Don't omit the pillowcase, or you will just get a knotted mess that wraps around the agitator. Use the smallest load setting, hot water. Add a little detergent--I just use dish detergent because it's cheaper and I'm not trying to clean anything, just aid the felting process.
I've always been able to get the dreads to felt by running one load. The hanks pretty much make individual dreads all on their own, although some stick together and you can pull them apart, others kind of stuck but the effect was still okay. It could probably use a few more dreads, but Miranda likes it the way it is.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section!