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wetroling.jpg

feltedsomethingplusballs.jpg

What felts?

It depends on the smoothness of the hair. Human and cat hair do not work. Those microscopic hairs do not open up enough. They slide away from each other.

What does work is, sheep ( also wool yarn), alpaca, goat and dog hair.

BUT…not every breed , nor layer is suitable.

Outside hairs are made to be smooth so that rain and snow falls off. Carding mixes the outside hairs with the easy-to-felt under layer. If you don’t do that you can create a “shepherd’s bag. They stay fluffy on the outside. Beause those outside hairs don't felt.

I also depends from individual to individual. Some just have “bad hair” and don’t felt that good.

You can always mix bad felters with good felters. Some hairs and fibers don't  felt at all. Human hair is one of those hairs. Thank Gods it doesn't. It would have been a mess every time I would wash my hair. But what you could do is  mix human hair or synthetic yarn in with wool, so it will be kept in place by the felting wool.

 

Test:

Take a short length of yarn or fiber, from 6 inches to a couple of feet in length depending on the weight of the fiber and the desired ball's size (small balls are easier to handle). Roll the yarn between the palms of your hand to form a loose round clump of fiber. Add a little soap. Wet the yarn with soap under warm running water. Knead and roll the sudsy ball of yarn between the palms of your hands. You will likely have more soap than you need so rinse it under warm running water periodically.

Continue rolling and kneading your fiber ball until it begins to stick together and felt into a ball shape. It will likely take only five minutes or less. If the fibers do not want to stick together after just a few minutes you will know this fiber doesn't want to felt or it will require a very long washing and felting cycle to achieve a felted fabric.

felting.jpg

Felting is the matting process of wool. Do you remember when you washed your woolen sweater in the washing machine and it shrank and became tight? Well, that is felting. To be correct, that was fulling. A part of the felting process.
 

What is Felting?

Felting happens because wool is sheep hair, and like human hair each strand is covered by microscopic scales (you have probably seem vivid pictures in shampoo commercials). The primary mechanism of felting is abrasion, as the individual hairs get rubbed together the scales catch on each other, and the global effect is that the whole thing shrinks in a irreversible way to make a mat that can't be separated.

Fulling is the process that follows felting where you add more pressure so the hairs are forced together even more. This results in more shrinking and increases the density of the felt.

Felt can be made from very thin layers ( on silk shawls)

to thicker ( socks and bags)

to very thick (hats and coats)

brown bearded bag
not carded felting.

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