Experimenting with felting has been really interesting. A lot of surprises along the way, (especially with the dying bit, but that needs another post). But this project was to get a sheer sheet of felt, just wool, no silk or other fiber added, to make curtains for the two windows in my studio. Actually four panels that needed to match.
It only takes a tiny wisp of wool on each layer, of which I laid out two, in alternating directions. It’s important to card the fiber well since you don’t want the locks to stick together. One thing I did discover is different fleeces react differently. I laid out the white and the brown the same, but Solo’s fleece, (he’s a white ram, and here dyed with black walnut) wanted to migrate into a solid mass instead of creating the sheer I wanted. Fortunately that was for the border at the bottom. April, I found, was the ideal fleece to experiment with cobweb felting. I haven’t tried any other but these two, but I think I will look for fleeces that have a larger micron count but yet felt well and quickly. But who knows, maybe I’ll find that doesn’t hold true. That’s what is so fun about working with the various fleeces.
Another thing I learned, and the reason I made five instead of just four, is any holes that appear tend to get larger the more you felt and then full the sheer. Wool tends to migrate toward it’s neighbor, making the hole larger, yikes. Once I did the first initial rolling to start felting it together I took off the tulle that I was using and inspected it for any spots that had the potential of making a hole, (at least ones larger than I thought would meld into the whole piece). I then laid on a few more wisps of wool to cover those spots, gently massaging them in to start felting them to the existing pre-felt. This tended to work okay. There still are a lot of holes, but not as large as on the first one I tried. It is now in the middle of another felt project, hidden from sight.
My edges are pretty wavy. It’s difficult to get a straight edge without the cobweb becoming thicker in areas. Maybe something I can work on with future projects. I found that you need to only roll a few times and then inspect is, stretching it out in areas that have shrunk inward too much and keeping the dimensions fairly constant. They all shrunk a bit more than I anticipated, but at least I’m consistent!