Wednesday, February 17, 2010

local wool...the results show

So, after I posted my question about local wool to the Feltmaker's list for a second time I got a whole lot of great responses to my questions. I told one of the members...the lovely Ann...that I would do samples of the wool to see how much it shrank, etc. Now, I am not a good sample doer. I am such a 'jump-in-and-go-and-figure-out-how-to-fix-what-doesn't-work' person. (Hmm...what would be the acronym for that?) Yes, it gets me in trouble sometimes. But I think I am this way because if I didn't just DO things, I would over-think them, and obsess to the point where I was paralysed and nothing got done. (Not that so much gets DONE now but that is another post.)
Here are the two wools that I bought. One is a Montadale and one is a Montadale/Corriedale cross...thanks to my memory problems I can not tell you which is which.
The 'white' wool has grey fibers so it has a heathered look. (I am sure that there is a term for this but I am off duty as far as words go.)  The white wool is not as soft as the brown and has less lanolin in it. Is it the lanolin that give the wool the 'sheepy' smell? Hmmm.
The brown is a beautiful chocolate color that does not have the grey fibers that some of the other local wools I have purchased have.  Here is a scan showing both of these wools next to a sample of a local Romney for comparison.

I did a 12x12 inch sample of both the white and brown. Now I can not remember how many times or how long I roll each side...I would have used my timer...but I forgot. So my 'samples' are basically just small pieces of felt using only that wool with NO other fibers added. (A very unusual thing for ME to do!) Both samples only shrank about an inch. The next images are all scans. First here is a scan of some oatmeal colored Romney for comparison.

I love the texture of Romney felt!

The brown wool made a much smoother and tighter felt.
The White felt is much more spongy than the brown. Both of the wools took a while to wet out...the white took a bit longer than the brown. I thought the lanolin was what made it harder to wet some wools but in this case the brown was easier to wet but has more of a 'sticky' feel. They also took a long time to felt and I had to really keep them hot to get things to happen.
The felt is rather stretchy. Chris White (of Magpie Designs Felting Studio, New England Felting Supply, AND the author of 'Uniquely Felt' ) said in a reply to my post to the Feltmaker's List that "I suggest trying this: Look at your sample and note the size (length by width). Then stretch it in all directions equally and look again. If the overall area has stayed the same, but only changed shape, it could be one of those stretchy felts. If the entire sample has grown in area, it is not fulled." I am pretty sure that this is what is happening.
I took the hat/vessel/bag thingy I made with the brown wool and some Cormo and put it in the washing machine again. This time I used hot water and only added the felt and two old towels. Unfortunately the red towel was a bit TOO old.Though the fact that bits of the towel felted in says that the piece was not fully felted when it went in the wash.
I did a bit more shaping on it and I think it wants to be a vessel. The felt does not seem to be thick or firm enough for it to be a vessel but who am I to argue with a piece of felt? Doesn't the wool have the final say anyway? I am going to try giving it one more go around to do some more shaping...IF I get a round my mom would say.
I cheated and sewed the rolled edge.

Detail of the silk and bamboo fibers I put on top. I did do some shaving as more of the blue Cormo came through than I wanted.
Here is the bottom of the vessel on the inside.

1 comment:

  1. Love the star at the base.
    Great post....I need to do some experimental work. Like yourself I don't usually make little samples of plain wool felt but it is something that would be good to do.