There are a few legends telling how felting started, and the one that was mentioned in our class was about a man who was carrying animal fleece on his camel, between the seat and the camel, as he rode it. When he arrived at his destination, the fleece had turned to felt through the pressure, movement, and moisture throughout the journey. There are also stories of people packing their sandals with wool to prevent blisters, and after the journey, the fleece had turned into felt. Nowadays, nomadic peoples still use feltmaking to create rugs, tents and clothing.
In our class, the first project we made to get us started was making a basic white piece of felt out of fleece. So how did we make it? Well we started off with a base to make the felt on – a table workspace covered with dishtowels laid flat, as well as bubble wrap, bubble side up, that was enough to completely fold over our project (we used 1 metre of it). And then we grabbed some Merino fleece.
Once the layers are in place on top of the bubble wrap, it’s time to gently pour the Sunlight soap mixture on top of them, ensuring that the fibers stay in place. It can be slightly disconcerting, but don’t be scared (like Elizabeth). Once the fibres are wet, fold the top half of the bubble wrap over. Now it's time to rub, smooth, pat, and massage the fleece through the bubble wrap, flipping it over and smoothing the fleece itself every once in a while. That continues for 30 minutes...
As usual, Luke finished his project way before Elizabeth so he had the chance to make a second one in the extra time.
Here are some more pictures from our feltmaking class: