Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Wet Felt

This is by no means a comprehensive tutorial on wet felting, it is simply a chronicle of my wet/needle felting project thus far! (Read more about this in an earlier blog post: Outside My Comfort Zone) Honestly, I am still working out the design details. They are coming together...but very slowly. Actually, I'm better at the details than the big picture, so some details are coming together better than the overall design!

First I started with a very dirty fleece, which I then washed. I hand carded a bit of the wool, but left most of it in locks as I only have a hand carder - and this was a big fleece!!

Then, with the help of a fellow fiber enthusiast, I laid out the locks in a grid pattern. The bottom layer faces one direction, with the second layer perpendicular to the first, and so on. Time constraints meant we only put down three layers plus a little extra.

Then came the fun part (and my exercise for the day!!) Hot, soapy water is smished into the wool, deep down in so the wool is soaked through. Then, using some elbow grease, the whole piece was hand rubbed to start the felting process, covered with a clothlike shower curtain, and rubbed some more. She had a nifty little tool that you could use to really dig into the fiber! Then, it is rolled up, we used a pool noodle and some pool grade type of bubble wrap, secured with some rubber bands, and rolled up and down a driveway for a solid 10-15 minutes. Halfway through, the piece was flipped, rubbed and wet down a bit more before heading back out to the driveway.

The really scary part came in the rinse down - she rinsed it, then slammed it hard against the ground several times, just to make sure the felt would hold. It held, and the bubble imprints came out too!! Then a final rinse, a spin cycle to dry, and I now have a piece of felt I can hang on a wall, and needle felt. Part two will follow within the month!!

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