I gotta say… This process was not at all, what I expected. Usually, I take great measures not to felt my fiber. I’ve always been afraid of the dreaded accidental felting. I would let the raw wool sink on its own in the scour process, to avoid agitation. I actually bought a laser temperature gun to make sure the fiber I was transferring to a new tub of rinse water, it would be the same.
I was really careful. I know the mechanics of felting… agitation, temperature change, soap (change in pH). I have watched several videos on the internet showing both how not to felt and even more on how to felt.
I had my bubble wrap, mesh, pool noodle all set…
Imagine my surprise, when it took me hours and hours to felt a very thin layer of cobweb felt. No exaggeration, it took hours of full on abuse to finally get a result. I wasn’t even sure I had felted the piece when I stopped that days attempt, from pure exhaustion. I physically could not continue. I got on Facebook live to express my frustration and I said jokingly,
“Now I understand why people started violently throwing it at a certain point… because they really were pissed trying to make felt”
All the videos I had watched would say, ‘now is a good time to get out any pent up aggression’ and proceed to wad it up and slam it into their work surface. The only aggression I had was toward this scarf I was failing at felting.
Putting myself on pause was the best thing, even though I couldn’t have gone on if I wanted.
The next day, I went to check…
it was dry and damn if I wasn’t relieved, it was felted!!!
Let me just say wet cobweb felt does not feel felted. Or, maybe it does, but I just don’t have any clue what I’m looking for. I have to say I was really pleased with my result. It was light and airy and soft cobweb felt with teeswater locks dangling and silk integrated into the fabric.
Felt is the first ever cloth humans made. And I managed to make my own… barely. I didn’t know I had managed to create anything at the time, so there is still lots of learning to be done.
I really love the result. I didn’t expect it to be so soft and light. I’m into it… which is great news for all the wool waiting to be played with
4 thoughts on “Cobweb felting…”
I might be totally wrong here, but I always thought that the soap helped with felting just because it made the fibers more slippery. I don’t think the change in pH has anything to do with it. Correct me if I’m wrong. It can definitely be a pain in the butt. I’d try a different soap if it’s that hard because it really shouldn’t be. I have done a lot of feltings where I just put a screen cloth on top of my nuno felting then add some dish soap and it only takes a few minutes of rubbing by hand. I want to get a feltloom so I don’t even have to do that much. That’s what we’re saving for… hopefully next year! Yours sure did turn out lovely!
I think it was felted but I expected it to feel different but because it was so thin it wasn’t ever going to feel the way I thought.
As far as the soap and change in pH, Apparently the soap creates a change in the neutral pH to either acidic or more commonly, alkaline conditions and this enhances the fibers to felt…
I promise I didn’t make it up, this is what I read when I was doing all kinds of research to try to learn as much as I could before giving it my first go.
So while soap helps for making it slippery, it actually causes a pH change that helps wool felt. Pretty cool right?
Google it… felting and change in pH in the wool from soap.
I think it’s fascinating the science of it. So it’s not just making it slippery.
I’m also thinking my screen may be too thick…
tulle would probably work a lot better
Just loved this article. Made me laugh. Brilliant. I am going to try this. Loved your sense of humour and writing skills. Thank you.