Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making Felt

As the world's worst launderer, I've made felt many times before...unintentionally that is. The genius of intention-less felting is that you simply leave EVERYTHING to chance. Tell your washing machine to be kind, and with a quick wink and a dash upstairs you rush out to pet the horses or feed the chickens or do the dishes with nary a thought to the socks and silks and woolies tumbling about below.

Imagine my trepidation as we set out to make felt out of our carded sheep's wool ON PURPOSE.
The circumstances so changed, I found myself at sea. But in a nutshell, felt is wool that has been doused with hot water, agitated, and hung out to dry. It is the perfect meditative activity during the busy Christmas season...intentionally agitating something other than yourself or your loved ones...all in attempts to create the perfect homemade Christmas gift.

First: obtain some wool, fluff and card it with hand carders or a drum carder. I found that the batts obtained by drum carding made more consistent felt.
On a countertop or cookie sheet, depending on how large a piece you will be felting, layer your rolags or batts first horizontally in rows, then another layer on top vertically. Do this 3 or 4 times.
Pour very hot water with a few splashes of dishsoap in it over the wool and gently press down to saturate the pile. If the wool is sticking to your hands pour some more soap over it.

Begin on the outside of the pile and gently massage the wool in circles...keep going all around and into the center of your wool 5 minutes it will firm up and you can then rub harder.
Rinse a few times in hot water to strengthen the felt. Then rinse in cold.

Squeeze dry, and if you wish, iron it.

Lay it out to dry.
Viola. Your felt is ready for cutting up into cute little mousies, mittens,

1 comment:

  1. And wool from Icelandic sheep is positively the best for felting - it seems like the Icelandic wool felts if you even look at it funny ;)