Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Feltmaking is a physical process. It can take a long time to make a wool layout and then when we are tired, we need to start the real work; felting. According to Google, Feltmaking is an ancient process for making a dense, durable and warm fabric which was used for clothing and to insulate homes such as the Mongolian yurt. The process uses wool fibre from sheep which shrinks and mats together when moisture, friction and heat are applied. Adding friction is a physical process and takes time and patience to turn fibre into a beautiful fabric.
How do you make the felting process less physical? It starts with materials and organising your space. Make sure you choose the right type of wool for your project. Different types of wool felts differently. Merino wool felts faster then Corriedale. I prefer Merino wool for my wearable projects, while Bergschaft wool is great for hand bags and thick felt. This wool is easy to felt and keeps shape well. Use my methods to refresh wool if it felted during storage. I share this in Video 1. Please check the video for more tips.
I hear many times, felting process puts strain on my wrists and my back. How to avoid this? There are so many ways. The most important is to make sure we roll our felt correctly. Make sure your table is raised. When you are ready to roll, put one foot in front of another and when rolling step from one foot to another. This is the rolling dance and do not forget to put some music on. It is not a speed which makes a good felted project, it is how much pressure you are putting on your roller. I use a plastic pipe as a rolling aid. When I roll, I put my rolled layout inside of a towel and roll with my arms rather then wrists. Please check my blog, Rolling felt avoiding a back pain.
The sander is my greatest helper. It really helps to felt those stubborn places without putting much efforts and reducing the number of rolls. If you work with lots of fibre like silk, bamboo or viscose, heavy or synthetic fabrics, then a sander is a must. If you would like to learn more about using a sander, then please check my blog, Using sander for felting.
Fulling is another physical process. It can be great exercise and fun, 'bushing' felt. It is exiting, we are nearly there. Fulling does not just includes 'bushing' felt. You can use a combination of different techniques, such as kneading, rubbing and throwing or like I said, 'bushing' felt. Do a few cycles of fulling, a combination of different techniques. Keep warming up felt in between fulling process. Take breaks, have a cup of tea. Do not forget, you can leave your felt till tomorrow if you are patient enough. The video below has more tips on making felting process less physical.
Each of my online pre-recorded classes has more tips on how to make beautiful felt. For more information, please check my online classes website, Felt with Lena.