Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 37

Needlefelted fabric

Needlefelting is an time honored way of producing a nonwoven fabric. The FeltLoom is a modern improvement on doing it all by hand. Placing the fiber in perpendicular layers helps to strengthen the fabric. After running the base layers through the machine, adding color makes the fabric even more unique. These photos are all from the same piece of fabric.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this is functional or art. Do you see this as coasters, notebook covers, the front pieces of a vest or something else? If it’s destined for clothing, wet felting will be needed to solidify the fibers to decrease the chance of shedding and pilling. Better sewing skills on my part would be helpful! The brown pencil skirt that I had to make in 8th grade still haunts me. Fodder for therapy?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 7

Good news today at my first post-op visit–both my foot and the X-rays look good. Better news is that I am able to be up a bit more–still no walking on the foot but will be able to get back down to the studio/store later this week. Yeah!!

Felting and fulling have been around for hundreds to thousands of years. Felting creates cloth without making yarn first and fulling completes the weaving process.

Anyone who has ever put a wool sweater or alpaca socks into a washing machine learned first-hand about felting. Animal fibers are made up of keratin and proteins with scales along the shaft of the wool/hair. Heat and moisture make the scales stand up away from the hair shaft and agitation cause the wool fibers to rub against each other. The scales interlock and the keratin binds to the proteins and the bond becomes permanent. And your sock will never again stretch over your foot.

Fulling is a process of cleansing a cloth and agitating it slightly to make the fibers more cohesive. Weavers are familiar with this technique since it it common practice to wash and gently agitate the weaving until the yarns/threads no longer separate. This process can be done more aggressively and continue on to felting the fabric, if desired.

The soaps today have had alpaca and wool felted around them. These not only are pretty, but the felt acts like a washcloth when using the soap. As the soap gets smaller, the fibers continue to felt and mold into the smaller shape. When the soap is gone, the felt can be used as a scrubbie or tossed outside to biodegrade.

Until tomorrow–Stay warm!!