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.


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)

IMG_0837 (Medium)

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

IMG_0844 (Medium)

Next, I rolled it up in the sheet:

IMG_0845 (Medium)

Tied it up so it wouldn’t shift around:

IMG_0847 (Medium)

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….

Whidbey Weekend

Scenes from Langley, WA.

The site of the retreat-

Quilting Shop


Whidbey waterfront2



More waterfront-

Whidbey Waterfront

Yarn Shop-

Yarn Shop

Early morning grazers-

Sheepy friends2v2

My new special friend-

Sheepy friend1

And projects!

Some fiber prep-

Shetland Rolags


Hand Warmers

And re-knitting-

Experimental Sweater reknit

And a good time was had by all-


(Bears in Progress)

Meet Ted.

Ted is almost complete, except I think his eyes and nose need more work.


This is Ted’s sweater.

Ted is a bit challenging to knit for because he has a HUGE head, and no neck.  But I’m giving it a shot, because I think he’d look really sharp in a pullover.

Teds sweater in progress2

I had only planned on making one bear, but then a friend presented me with an interesting challenge.

This is a handknit norwegian sweater from the 1940’s. It’s been in her family all that time, and has seen much wear and tear (see repair work on cuff below).

Norwegian Sweater

It has some really colorwork reminiscent of viking ships and ocean waves. Think I’ve going to chart that out for future reference!

norwegian sweater detail

While it has held up admirably all these years, this friend has decided that it has lived for long enough as a sweater, and should be repurposed into a bear.

This one is still in the early stages. But at least I’ve made a start.

Meet Bjorn.

Norwegian sweaterbear head1

Wool from Afar

Some friends of our just took a cruise around South America (38 days- major trip). One of the places they stopped was the Falkland islands. While in port in the Falklands, Margaret took a trip ashore to visit a sheep farm. Here’s her report:

“Today (day 9) we are anchored in Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands, S51°,40’, W57°50’. The sun was shining, the sea slight and the wind moderate. I had to get up early for a trip to a sheep farm. Archie couldn’t go as we had to go by tender (which double as life boats) and we expected that there would be quite a bit of walking involved. The ride to shore was about 20 minutes and the drive to the farm almost an hour through rather desolate country. It is mostly barren with huge rivers of rocks. The island population is about 2500 with only about 200 living outside of Port Stanley. The islands are British and cars – of which there are very few- drive on the left side of the road. In 1982, Argentine forces invaded and occupied the islands for 10 weeks before being defeated by the British. The British still hate the Argentinians who come to the island wanting to plant their flag there only to get chased away. Not sure why they want the Falklands so badly except that there are oil deposits offshore but no one has tried to drill for any as it is too difficult and expensive.

Anyway, the sheep farm was very interesting. It is located on 2300 acres of East Falkland farmland which supports over 3000 sheep, 70 cattle, 28 horses, 7 sheepdogs, 12 chicken and 3 cats. They grow their own vegetables and use hand cut peat to fuel the house and the cook stove. They showed us how they cut the peat and then sheared two of the sheep, saddled a horse and invited us to tea and coffee in their cozy kitchen.”

And here are the sheep who “volunteered” for the shearing demo:


Falkland Sheep2


Falkland Shearing1

And after-

Falkland sheep shorn

Margaret asked if she could get some raw wool to bring back for me,, but was advised that it probably wouldn’t make it through customs. Oh well.

But, she did snag some yarn for me in Peru!

It is a big hank (10.5 oz, about 250 yards), rather rusticly spun, and still had quite a bit of lanolin in it.

peru yarn

First I balled it up,

Bruno w peru yarn

Then I re-skeined it and washed it lightly to relax it some (it was kinda kinky) and get rid of the slightly waxy feel

Here it is drying on our not-yet-blooming cherry tree-

peru yarn washed

And here it is, all freshly washed and dried.

peru yarn dried

I unspun a little bit to get a look at the fibers, and they are fairly fine, and only about 2 inches long. Don’t know what type of sheep they’d have in Peru. Anyone? Anyone?

Peru Wool unspun