Making felt from scratch aka what to do with raw unprocessed wool

I went for my walk this week to visit my friend with my emergency rice-pudding cake. On the way my other friend and I decided to collect the wool which we kept discovering caught on thistles and hedges. This was a successful venture and we collected far more raw wool than we initially expected.

I decided that this was my opportunity to card and comb my own wool, dye it and then make my own felt from scratch.

Feeling ambitious I did some research and decided on the steps I was going to take.

1)      I knew I needed to clean the wool first.  This would involve washing and removing any stray pieces of straw or thistle that had got into the wool. I got advice from this website on the best way to wash wool before combing.

http://www.newenglandsimpleliving.com/processingwoolfibersbyhand.htm

2)      Combing I needed to comb or card the wool after washing in order to prepare it for felting.

The steps of cleaning the wool:  I placed the wool in my clean crafting bucket along with warm (not boiling) water.  I had also dissolved the remainder of a bar of gentle strawberry soap in the water before adding the wool.   Then I left this overnight to soak.

I changed the water that was filthy 3 times before splitting the wool into four smaller batches. These batches were soaked again until the water was clear.

Once the water was clear excess water was gently squeezed from the wool. The wool was then laid -out on a towel to dry.

After the wool had partially dried I began to tease it (pull it apart) to prevent unwanted felting.

Bag of raw wool

Bag of raw wool

Raw wool in bucket before adding water

Raw wool in bucket before adding water

wool in bucket first soak

wool in bucket first soak

The last batch to soak

The last batch to soak

a batch of clean wool in tea towel

a batch of clean wool in tea towel

Clean wet wool in tea towel ready to squeeze some of the water out

Clean wet wool in tea towel ready to squeeze some of the water out

some of the clean wool drying on a towel

some of the clean wool drying on a towel

Damp wool teased out left to dry on towel

Damp wool teased out left to dry on towel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other useful sites

http://knitsnthings.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/combing-wool/

http://sweetleafnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/washing-wool-fresh-off-sheep.html

http://www.ranching-with-sheep.com/wool-processing.html

http://members.peak.org/~spark/PDF_files/Preparing%20Wool%20for%20Spinning%20or%20Felting.pdf

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6 thoughts on “Making felt from scratch aka what to do with raw unprocessed wool

  1. Pingback: Link-Clickers Paradise 10/25/16 | BlueHouse Garden

  2. When layering the wool, does it make any difference if the fibers are aligned with the tips pointing in one direction and the shorn ends in the other? Is it correct that the layers are crossed at right angles to each other?

    • Hey, thanks for your comment. As the wool i used was collected from fences and not shorn i couldn’t say. however i found that i got best results when laying a layer vertical and then a layer horizontal. I don’t think it matters which end the tip is at as long as you dont make each peace too thick. good luck and please share how you get on.

  3. Pingback: Felting a bag. | frogandcount

  4. I’ve cleaned and carded fleece too, great fun. You might find our welsh sheep’s wool a bit difficult to felt because it’s so ‘springy’ but I really loved it. I see you’re from Wales, I’m based in the Model House, Llantrisant if you’re ever in the area. Ann 🙂 sfelthandmade.wordpress.com

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