Got Felt?

Last weekend while I was down in Langley, I visited a really neat rug shop, Music For the Eyes.

It was chock full of rugs (and various other textiles) from the Middle East and Asia. Silk, wool, knotted pile, kilims, embroidered cloths, lots of beads, and a small collection of felted mats.

While there was inspiration in every corner the thing that really sticks in my head from the visit was the felt. It was embroidered, and in some cases combined with pieces of woven fabric to really wonderful effect (sorry- didn’t have the camera with me).

(They also had a little mini yurt there too. Like a little yurt dollhouse. It was embellished, and outfitted with furniture-like bits and everything. Very Cool)

So, I thought I would give felt a try. ( Since I happen to have (quite a) bit of wool hanging around the house.)

Now, the only felting I’ve ever done has been with things that were knitted beforehand. So I’m a compete newbie at this. And, of course, I didn’t bother to get online look for instructions.

No. That would be too easy.

Wool+Heat+Water+Agitation=Felt

How hard can that be?

Dag. Guess it all depends on what kind of wool you choose!

The very fine shetland I tried first felted really easily, but the romney and friesian in my second go took a little more work.

Here’s what I did:

First, I layered hand combed top on an old bedsheet (three layers, in different directions)

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Then I sprinkled it with hot water (and a smidge of dish soap):

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Next, I rolled it up in the sheet:

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Tied it up so it wouldn’t shift around:

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And began to abuse it.

(If the man had been home, he could have gotten shots of me whacking the felt roll on the steps outside, or trying to knead it into submission. But since he wasn’t , you’ll have to use your imagination)

As I’d been out working in the yard most of the day, I didn’t have too much energy left to give to whacking the felt roll for long, and I finally resorted to putting it first into the washer, and then into the dryer.

And here is the result:

IMG_0848 (Medium)

It’s definitely felted, though perhaps not as densely as I would have liked. I suppose I could abuse it some more, but I’m too tired.

I’m thinking that what I need is a better technique.

Any felters out there with tips? website suggestions?

I think I could really dig this, if I could find a way to get fairly consistent results….

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