Thursday, November 25, 2010

The felting process

After 3 washings

Felting is what happens to wool and other animal fibers when you add moisture, change the ph, change the temperature and agitate them. It is a permanent strong process that has been used by humans since they began using animal fibers. Felt makes good strong tents (yurts).

Its what happens when you throw your favorite sweater into the washer. It is also an art form that many people use to create beautiful fiber art (sometimes using the sweater that is no longer wearable).

I've been felting my rugs for many years. It allows me to weave them fairly loose and relatively quickly with raw fleece, right off the sheep. I hate washing fleece! Then, I spend several days in the felting process with each rug. The rugs shrink, firm up and become very thick, cushiony and extrodinarily durable. And, as a bonus, they are washable. They've already shrunk as much as they are going to. They usually shrink a lot. This is Demi's rug after 3 washings. It is a little more than 1/2 the size it started out. You can see the amount of shrink by looking at it laid on the same Afghani rug in the previous post.

I don't felt just rugs, I also take those sweaters that accidentally (really it was an accident! I know you liked that sweater Shawn) get felted and make spindle bags, crochet hook cases and Christmas stockings. The one in the picture I made as a part of the Christmas give-away package that we are drawing for today at the Ozark Folk Center.

I can't decide which side I like better, but I guess the stocking's new owner can make that decision.
Stocking side A

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