Saturday Afternoon Felting (how to make a major mess in your kitchen)

I jumped out of bed on Saturday and hit the ground running. No magazines, no tree-staring over a cup of hot coffee, no squishing Mr. Kitty against his will. Just half a cup of coffee over my notebook, pen in hand, making a plan for the day (really for the next couple of days, I am the ambitious type). A conversation with the hubby (making sure he was up for the day as half the plans involved him…see below)…and we were rolling…

The plan involved me working on my loom and Aaron (that’s the hubby) felting items. I have used a loom before, Aaron has not felted before. Plans changed after about 15 minutes and we were both felting away. The loom will have to wait.

The process goes like this: place cut garbage bag on table, lay down bubble wrap, place carded fleece (from an alpaca or sheep) down in one direction on bubble wrap, place more fleece down perpendicular to the first layer, add bits of colored fleece or yarn and add silk threads and bits. Place screening (like what you decorate the church with for a wedding) over fluffy pile on table, sprinkle (really more like dump, but you have to start somewhere) warm soapy water on screened fluffy pile, slowly and carefully pat down the fleece until all is wet. Add more soapy water if needed. Place towel on floor if your table is too small and water falls on floor (like us). Keep cat from jumping on table, or stealing fleece.

Now rub the wet fleece pile with your hands until lots of bubbles happen- you will work up a nice lather. If you look close, you may see the fibers starting to grab each other. And, the pile may start to shrink. This is a good thing.

Next, roll the wet fleece mess up into the bubble wrap (like sushi, or a fruit roll up), pour off excess water, place roll on a hard surface and roll, roll, roll (about 100 times). Then unroll the sushi-fleece wrap and roll it back up from the other side. Roll, roll, roll. Unroll and check to see if it has started felting. How to do this? Pick up a bit of fiber, if it lifts freely, rewrap and roll again, if it brings its neighbors, you are almost done. Roll it up again and roll another 25-50 times, unroll and check. It should be smaller now. If you can pick it up without it falling apart, things are looking good. If at any time during the process, the felt gets dry and soapless, or cold, add more warm soapy water. Now would be a good time. Squeeze out excess and slam the scarf-ball onto the table several times. This tightens up the cloth. You are almost done.

Rinse the scarf out until the water runs clear. Plunge the scarf into a bowl or sink full of cold water with a splash of vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes- this shocks the fiber and tightens the felt cloth a bit more. Remove scarf from sink, squeeze out water, lay on towel, roll up and squish to dry. Unroll and lay the scarf out on the table, gently stretch and tug the cloth to the shape you want (but not too much). Let dry. Done! Have fun cleaning up…

A table full of scarves. Aaron and Mr. Kitty made most of these!

P.S.- If you see a scarf you like, or are dreaming up a color combination you want, contact me and we’ll chat about a custom felted scarf…

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