Updated: Dec 9, 2017
Making felt is supposed to be therapeutic and enjoyable. We love to play with colourful wool, recycling vibrant silk we found in a charity shop adding other fibre for texture. However, when we finish playing and creating designs, the physical part of felting begins. I heard many times from my students, that they do not like this part, asking questions how to make felt, rolling hundreds time more enjoyable? Many people have various physical conditions which stop them making wet felt.
I would like to share few tips how to help making felt more enjoyable and easier. Many of the recommendations below are based on my own experience when I needed to find ways to make felt while recovering after cancer and some learning from other feltmakers.
It is very important that your felting table is raised. I use raising blocks available from Amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Furniture-Risers-Aid-raising-chair/dp/B00F64E4BQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505291690&sr=8-1&keywords=chair+raising+blocks
2. Try to make felt in a dedicated area away from children and pets. The area which you could close the door leaving your layout for felting secure and undisturbed. Create a layout, then cover with the net and wet with soapy water. Press your layout with both hands to make sure all the wool is wet. If you feel that too much water, use towel or sponge to remove water excess. Leave your layout for few hours or even overnight. When wool is wet, the scales start to open up and ready to join together. You can start felting process next morning by checking your layout to make sure it is wet.
3. Use olive soap. Olive soap helps to felt faster and it is easier to wash soap away when you finished felting and fulling. You can add soap simply rubbing your layout with soap. You also can create your olive oil soap jelly in advance.
4. There are few ways to roll your bundle with felt. You can roll with your arms while actually rocking your body. I usually put my left foot in front of right, put fast music and start felting dance, rocking my body, i.e. moving from one foot to another. This way you do not put too much pressure on your back. I am happy to demonstrate the felting dance during the next drop in session.
5. You can roll with your feet. However, be very careful not to over-felt. Check your felt after every 50 - 100 rolls. Carole Weightman loves rolling her felt with feet. It is not necessary to roll felt wearing felted shoes. However, if you would like to do so, then you have to learn how to make felted shoes from Natalya Brashovetskay, just like Carole did.
6. You also can roll the felt simply throwing the roll across the table. You might attach some rope to a bundle to make sure your roll is not going to escape. Throwing the bundle, then return it by pulling by the rob.
7. Take breaks between rolling. You also can leave your roll for few hours or overnight. If you do, then check your felt to make sure that it did not become dry. Bamboo mat can also helps to speed up felting.
8. I started to use disposable gloves to rub my felt with following an advice from Natalya Brashovetskaya. I rub felt in between rolling. Apparently these gloves not only protect your hands, but also help with felting. Make sure you use the right type. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/253018410181?chn=ps&dispItem=1&adgroupid=43183466333&rlsatarget=pla-324290124620&abcId=1128936&adtype=pla&merchantid=113070657&poi=&googleloc=9046789&device=c&campaignid=857338014&crdt=0
Some comments transferred from my previous website.