EXTRA 2: FELT MAKING

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EXTRA 2: FELT MAKING


Introduction

My original plan for one of the viridian green squares in my Resolved Sampler 2 was to couch textured threads, but the ones I had in mind were very turquoise, and I’d made such a hash of the couching in Resolved Sample 1 that I wanted to try something different…. But what? Then I remembered that somewhere up in the attic was a big of little balls of dyed but unspun wool, left over from felt making left over from the days when I was a crafty mum helper in my elder daughter’s infant school and I did felt making with the kids. The wool must be around 20 years old (Elder Daughter is now 27, and she was about six when her class did this), but it’s still perfectly OK, all wrapped up as good as new – and there are colours that are just right.  

So I racked my brains to remember what I did all that time ago. 

·         I pulled out strands of green wool and laid them on an old raffia table mat, all pointing in the same direction, and put a few strands of white wool on it, to look a bit like the white gap in the viridian square, and added a couple more layers of green wool, going up and down in one layer, and across in the next. You can make really thin felt that you practically see through, or keep building layers for thicker felt. And you can sandwich small scraps of fabric or ends of thread between the layers. 

·         Then I rolled the wool up in the tablemat (like a Swiss roll), and tied it closed with some thread. Then I stuck it in the old washing up bowl, and poured boiling water over it, with a little bit of Stergene, and pummelled it with an old wooden spoon. Actually, when I did this with the school years ago we only used cold water, and it still worked. Boiling water is better but you need to wear strong rubber gloves to protect your hands). I kept tipping the water out as it cooled, and adding more boiling, and every now again I took the roll out and twisted and turned it, and I also whacked against the wall outside the backdoor. 

·         It’s a bit hit and miss knowing when the felt is ready, but of you unroll gently, and the wool is obviously not felted, you can roll it up again and have another go. 

·         When it’s ready, lift it off gently, rinse it, and spread it to dry. It gets firmer the longer you leave it – if you rush, the felt can be quite soft, and more difficult to work with 

There you have it. Dead simple felt making for very small quantities. And I do have photos, and samples of the wool and the felt, but can’t get them to upload. So I’ll post this this and try again later.
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About chrisharding53

I'm a former journalist and sub-editor who loves needlework, reading and writing, and is still searching for the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything. Until I find the answer I'm volunteering at an Oxfam Book Shop and learning about Creative Sketchbooks!

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