I had a bag of raw fleece leftovers which gave me much to ponder on through the long winter evenings of not paying full attention to Six Nations Rugby. I ended up trying my hand at felting. Having looked at various websites, I really fancied
In retrospect, I think error number one was vaunting ambition, I should think it would be easier to begin by making one thin layer of felt than a great thick bag. This morning, being on holiday, I had a try.
First stages seemed straightforward, I didn’t card the wool as the staples from the fleece seemed well aligned and quite easy to tease apart. They flattened down ok under the old net curtain.
Then the turning over and putting in the resist. Then layers on the back.
Somehow, despite all my rolling the thing, 100 times one way then 100 times the other, the felt grew instead of shrinking.
It didn’t help that I had the bubbles on the bubble wrap facing out instead of inwards. Error number two, read the instructions properly in the first place. The whole thing was bulky, slithery and leaking grubby, soapy water everywhere as I rolled it. I began to appreciate the virtues of clean, carded commercial wool roving. Error number three was clearly using layers of wool that were far too thick and materials that were not those specified. I rolled the beast loosely and stood it on end in the sink to drain, while I mopped table, floor and self, gave it a squeeze to get most of the water out, got some fresh bubble wrap and risked electrocution trying to felt it up with the electric sander.
Don’t try this at home, I didn’t die when I switched on the power, the bag beast did not rear up like Frankenstein’s unloved monster, but it didn’t felt much either.
Back to rolling, like in the instructions.
Then shock treatment. Apparently, throwing felt on the table felts it up more and felted blankets were made by dragging them behind horses. I made do with putting in a carrier bag, walloping it against the wall of the house til the pebble dash flew and jumping up and down on it in the garden. Therapeutic and partially successful, but the bag was sadly weak at the ‘seams’.
So, I have a sheep smelling, soggy, thick, semi-felted bag with a hole in the bottom, it is mid afternoon already and I refuse to roll it any more. Radical measures are called for. It has gone in the washing machine at 95 degrees C together with an old towel, while I have a coffee and a fag and clear the decks. Will the bag beast disintegrate entirely? Will my washing machine survive? Oh no, I didn’t think of that til now. I should at least have put it in a pillow case. Peering through the door, I can’t see any loose wool in the churning brown water. Truly a cliff hanger of a first blog.