Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Felting Local Wools

I posted this to the FeltMakers List but have not gotten any responses. Maybe someone here can give me some insight.

I have been trying to work with wools other than merino and especially
with local wools. I know that the local wools, even of the same breed,
are often very different from what I buy from Ashland Bay. I just
bought some Montadale and Montadale/Corriedale cross wools. Can anyone
who has felted with Montadale wool give me some information about the
type of felt it makes? Does it remain soft and spongy? What types of
items do you use it for?

I have gotten it to felt and I am in the process of fulling it, but it
is still very stretchy. I love the texture I am getting so far. I
guess what I also want to know is at what point do you know that you
have gone as far as you can with a new type of wool. Every wool I have
tried so far I was able to get to the point where when stretched (if
it can be stretched at all) goes right back to shape. Are there wools
that will never get to this point no matter how much it is worked?


  1. Difficult question. We have very different reeds here in the UK. I'm not sure if they are available to you where you are. I like to use lue faced Leicester wool. It is almost as soft as merino and ehaves the same way when it is felted. It has the most amazing natural colours that can look so earthy depending upon the blend ut the most signficant difference that i find between merino and other breeds of sheep is the odour. Other lends may be soft but still carry a very animal like smell that I don't notice so much with merino.

    I suppose the end result will depend upon the Bradford count. Welsh Mountain Sheep will always e wiry and difficult to felt but has its uses for non clothing items.

    Not sure if any of this is a help or not as you may not even get these breeds in your neck of the woods.

  2. Sorry, the B on my keyboard often sticks. If you are not sure what a word is it probably has a mising B.

  3. HI, Is this wool your working with a cross breed or a blend? With the texture you are getting it almost looks as though you have 2 different types felting at different rates...interested to know.

  4. Hi Diane,

    I've used montadale for needlefelting, and loved it; but I don't think I've wet felted with it. It is a springy wool, and I'd be surprised if it ever gets "hard".

    Cheers, Marianne D

  5. Hi Jasmine, Thanks for your input.I have used Blue Faced Leicester. I really like the curls for a cobweb felt. I know what you mean about the sheepy smell. I don't mind it at all but I have noticed that some wools do have more of it than others. The local wools usually have not been processed so much and retain more lanolin.

  6. Andrea, I bought one pound of roving that was just Montadale and one pound that was Montadale/Corriedale cross. Unfortunately I can't remember which is which. I did layer the Montadale wool over a couple of light layers of robins egg blue cormo so that might be what is creating the texture. I should sample I know. I will have to felt the Montadale by itself to see what happens.

  7. As for what to use it for, well I like to use spongy wool for saddle pads, but seat cushions like people take to games where you sit on cold hard wood in the stands. Spongy wool is kinder on the bottom. You could make small rugs, and of course it works fine for wall hangings. You can get interesting effects by mixing the wool and if it’s thick and spongy you can get some nice quilt effects by adding hand or machine stitching.