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Author Topic: Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP  (Read 518 times)

GBov

  • Joined Nov 2019
Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP
« on: November 28, 2019, 09:30:53 am »
I once saw on telly nomadic people making a new yurt outer wrapping using no soap or water - they did use a long heavy poll, the old wrapping, lots of new wool, and horses to run round dragging the wool/felt wrapped log - so I know it can be done.  After all, wool felts on the sheep with no help from soap and hot water.

What I want to produce is a felted wool rug that still has lots of natural oils in it.

Having washed the grey-faced leister fleece I am working my way through carding it now and have test felted some of it and it makes a wonderful, thick, springy, felt.  I can needle felt softer wools into it if I decide on a design or just leave it all cream colored, still trying to decide on that one.

But having tried to find anything on felting without soap online, the only thing that comes up is needle felting and that will not work for this project.

Any ideas? 
Voss Electric Fence

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2019, 09:48:23 am »
After all, wool felts on the sheep with no help from soap and hot water.

Not strictly true.  On the sheep, the sheep’s own secretions - sweat and lanolin - combine to form suint, which is (or acts like, I haven’t looked at the chemistry) a soap.

Lots of people wash their fleeces in “Suint fermentation vats”, using this natural soap to do the cleaning. 

In both cases, natural heat aids the process - in the former, the body heat of the sheep, and in the latter, the heat of the sun.   

Any ideas?

The key ingredients for wet felting are lubricant, heat (or temperature shock) and agitation. 

So, you are using unwashed fleece, which contains the lanolin and sweat, ie, the lubricant.  In theory, if you add warm water and agitation, you have the ingredients for wet felting.

Blue-faced Leicester is the prince of wet-felting fibres in my experience, wet-felts far more readily than the merino everyone seems to use in preference. 

I’d be inclined to try something like, using raw wool straight from the sheep (don’t wash it), weave a peg-loom rug then bung it in a warm bath - just warm water - and tread it, then plunge into a bath of cold water and tread it some more, or put it on a rough surface, dampen it and walk on it a lot with heavy boots.  (Yes the latter treatment will make it dirty, but an overnight cold soak and a good shake after it’s dried will bring it up pretty well.)

I’d love to know how you get on!  Please tell us what you try and what works and what doesn’t!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 12:27:28 pm »
I too saw that clip of the yurt cover being made by rolling the fleece, wrapped around a large pole, behind a horse.  However, although it was a while ago, I'm pretty sure they wet the fleece first.
You could imitate the action using a smaller log, fixing it so it rotates and drawing it behind a car or tractor.  On a smaller scale, a small stick, bubble wrap or a bamboo mat, and unwashed wet fleece rolled on a table with your hands would work too.  Or is it the water part you can't use?  Sally's trampling idea would work too - you could have a trampling party! :celebrate:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2019, 02:08:02 pm »
But won't it forever smell of wet sheep unless you wash out the lanolin? Not quite sure I could live with that in my house...

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2019, 04:55:16 pm »
But won't it forever smell of wet sheep unless you wash out the lanolin? Not quite sure I could live with that in my house...

It’s not the lanolin which smells.  If you suint-wash the rug when you’re done - and then rinse it thoroughly and dry it thoroughly - it shouldn’t smell.  Unless it’s a tup, you really need a wool shampoo for a tup ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2019, 08:06:10 am »
I too would make a peg loom rug.  Then I would put it in a washing machine without any soap and run it through a wash cycle to shrink/felt it.  Peg flat to dry.

GBov

  • Joined Nov 2019
Re: Dry/wet felting ideas for a rug using NO SOAP
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2019, 05:34:15 pm »
Thank you all for your ideas!

I did wash the fleece as it was mucky and smelly but I did more soaking than soap to get it clean.

After it is carded I will give a try to several ways and see what works best.


 

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