Culture Capitol 2012 – project update 2

Yes, you slave drivers…. I have been working away…..

Last week I made a call to my friend, Bonnie – my expert resource in all things felt (and many other things!).  I told you I was going to be mixing the media up!  The problem was – I didn’t know anything about felt.  Is it hard to do?  Do you need years of practice to to make it?  What’s it made of anyway?  Do you need fancy equipment?

Poor Bonnie withstood the onslaught of questions – potentially with a chuckle at my expense!  She told me how to go about it – and assured me that even I could do it!  In fact, if you “google it” you can find some great lessons!  Woo hoo – I guess!?

Well, it turns out felt making is easy, and requires minimal equipment and some good old arm power.

When we were on our way to the Zilberschmuck show I bought the roving, which is wool that has been carded but not spun.  I went to Romni Wools, which is just an unbelievable store.  I never knew so many kinds of (knitting) wool existed!  Anyway they were very helpful and pointed me in the direction of  Corriedale roving, which apparently is easier to work with for a beginning felter.  I found some colors that were acceptable to me and away we went.

I decided to make the felt, and dye a small piece of material on Friday.  I knew the dying would be easy, but I thought if the felt making went awry I could use the weekend to make more.  As well, if it was a complete disaster I thought I could pester Bonnie again on Sunday!

First I did the dying, since the felt making would require rearranging the kitchen.

cloth going into the dye
I've never dyed anything before, it couldn't be easier.
dyed cloth on the clothesline
Look how it turned out!! I was so happy with it! Even though I grew up in the 70's and so, was part of the tie-dye generation, I had never done it before! Of course, these are colors I can get behind!

Then, after watching these videos  from Outback Fibers , a couple of times, I went to work making felt.  I only have a before and after shot since the process is very wet and a little soapy.  It also takes way more arm/upper body strength than I thought – probably because I made big pieces.  Both of the felts I made were about 15″ square(ish).

Happily, the roving actually turned into felt!  However, I now have enough roving for an army….   I’m going to have to design a bunch of green/yellow felt items!!

the roving waiting to be felted
This stuff kills me - it looks like a troll lost his wig in my kitchen. Before you separate the fibers there is a slight twist in the complete roving - it is VERY strong. It made me think of Rapunzel! It made Hoppy think of a cat toy...
drying felt and roving
My finished felt drying on the table outside. I hope Bonnie's not too embarrassed by my effort!!

Once the felt was completely dry, it really reminded me of those old fashioned wool blankets.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that when I was working it all I could think of was a wet dog.  It doesn’t smell bad, just like wet animal!  Also, one final interesting note – when I was doing the final rinse, the water still wanted to bead up due to the lanolin!  Neat, eh!

On Sunday I decided to tackle making the patterns and cutting them out.  Here is the result:

cloth and felt with patterns
Here, the cloth has been cut and I am working on the felt. That stuff is a little hard to cut, but it's done now!

I’m happy with my progress so far.  I’ve run into a minor technical difficulty with one of the other elements which I will have to resolve next weekend.  Also, even though the project beads I ordered came – some of the other (really important) supplies are on backorder.  Yikes!  I’m hoping they will come next week at the latest!

Now, back to work making jewellery….

Hope you are well on this lovely spring day!



2 Responses to Culture Capitol 2012 – project update 2

  1. Haha :) Love the bit about the troll that lost its hair 😀 You’re brave – embarking on something new & involved like felting! I’ve googled it before as well, and I’ve always closed the browser window thinking – too much hard work! 😉 And that purple tie-dye piece of fabric is amazing – what a beautiful colour! Is that part of your panel as well, or are you planning something else with it? I’m looking forward to seeing your progress – keep us posted over on the CC FB page?

    • I really was surprised how much it takes physically to make the felt – imagine making clothes or a blanket – yikes!! I will keep updating the CC fb, since this is probably all Stephanie’s fault!! ha, ha….

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