Dennis and I started felting a wall panel this past weekend. It was a ton of work but now that we have the process down, I think it will go faster (keep your fingers crossed!). This post has a ton of photos so I hope you make it to the end.
I set up this tent and my massage table with a water thermos for breaks. I am having a few neck and back issues so I need to take frequent breaks.
I started with a 12 foot by 16 foot tarp and 4 batts of wool.
This is the field dragger that goes behind the tractor. We will attach the felt roll to the back of this to roll it around the field.
First I measured and taped off what size I needed the wool to be before shrinkage. I was working on the idea that the felt would shrink 6-10%. The sample felted down by 6%.
I just marked the edges and corners with blue tape.
I was really disappointed that one batt didn’t cover the entire width. It was short about 6 inches.
The batts come folded up in thirds and then rolled. So I spread out the batt.
And then I had to take a portion of another batt and cover the extra 6″.
So I cut the batt and lined up the pieces along the edge.
I did overlap slightly and spread the batt a little thinly at the edges so it wouldn’t be a big lump where the two batts attached during felting.
I filled this 5 gallon watering can with cold water from the hose and soap.
And sprinkled about 5-6 cans on.
Covered it with plastic and tried to get some air out. That didn’t work too well.
So I took off the plastic and sprayed it with the hose.
Here’s the first layer after being wet down. You can see that it wasn’t all completely wet.
Next I add a second layer of batt in the opposite direction.
That had to be pieced and cut as well.
So here’s both layers and I added more water with the hose after this photo.
Then we walked on it.
Next I made sure the edges were relatively straight.
Where the edges weren’t completely wet, I sprayed them into submission.
Covered it with thin plastic,
folded the tarp in on both sides,
And then we’re ready to roll around the PVC pipe.
Here I am starting to roll. I told Dennis at this point that it looks like I am all by myself and working really hard. But he helped, I promise. Just no photos as he had the camera most of the time.
We got it all rolled up,
You can see the cable that will attach the roll to the tractor,
and then we decided we should put another tarp on the outside to keep the dirt away from the felt.
Then I tied it with rope.
This was the way we tied it the first time and it didn’t hold well. After that, I cut the rope into equal pieces and just tied each one instead of wrapping longer pieces of rope.
Then Dennis attached a chain to the end of the field dragger,
hooked the cable to the chain and,
It didn’t work, sigh…
So after a trip to the ranch supply store, we cut off the end of the bigger PVC pipe,
took an old cable we had and made loops on each end,
got a skinnier PVC pipe and put the cable through it,
and put the smaller PVC pipe into the larger one. And drum roll please –
As you can see in the video, the roll of felt moved on the PVC pipe. So we unrolled to check on the felt and it had started to felt.
But it certainly didn’t pass the pinch test!
I added more water and we pulled it behind the tractor 5-6 more times around the field. I opened it and it was still not completely fulled. We quit for the day and just left the felt covered down in the field overnight. On Sunday, we started again, redid how we attached it to the tractor and found that the reason the roll was shifting was because the cable attachment kept moving. So we just attached it with chains which didn’t move and it worked great.
Here’s the finished piece. It shrunk about a foot in each direction which was what I wanted. Yippee! It worked.
And here’s Dennis triumphantly bringing the rolled felt up to the house. It took two days to dry. I have 3 more wall panels and 4 roof panels to finish. I decided I need reinforcements. The next felting session is planned for August 25th. Do you want to come help?? Please??
When I discovered felting in 2007, I finally found the creative outlet for which I had been searching. I love that the versatility of fiber allows me to “play” with a wide variety of materials including wool, silk, fabrics, yarns and threads. Creating one of a kind fiber art pieces to share with the world fulfills my creative passion.