Yurt Update – Felting a Wall Panel

Yurt Update – Felting a Wall Panel

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.

Respite StationI 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.

Ready to StartI started with a 12 foot by 16 foot tarp and 4 batts of wool.

Field DraggerThis 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.

Size MarkedFirst 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%.

Corners Marked

I just marked the edges and corners with blue tape.

6" ShortI was really disappointed that one batt didn’t cover the entire width. It was short about 6 inches.

Batt in ThirdsThe batts come folded up in thirds and then rolled. So I spread out the batt.

Need 6" MoreAnd then I had to take a portion of another batt and cover the extra 6″.

Cutting the BattSo I cut the batt and lined up the pieces along the edge.

First Layer Laid OutI 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.

Watering Can with SoapI filled this 5 gallon watering can with cold water from the hose and soap.

Still Adding WaterAnd sprinkled about 5-6 cans on.

Removing AirCovered it with plastic and tried to get some air out. That didn’t work too well.

Hosing It DownSo I took off the plastic and sprayed it with the hose.

As Wet as It GetsHere’s the first layer after being wet down. You can see that it wasn’t all completely wet.

Second Layer at Right AngleNext I add a second layer of batt in the opposite direction.

Finishing Off the Second LayerThat had to be pieced and cut as well.

Second Layer Complete

So here’s both layers and I added more water with the hose after this photo.

Stompin' On ItThen we walked on it.

Straightening the EdgesNext I made sure the edges were relatively straight.

Adding More WaterWhere the edges weren’t completely wet, I sprayed them into submission.

Covered and Ready to RollCovered it with thin plastic,

Folding in the Tarp

folded the tarp in on both sides,

PVC Pipe in PlaceAnd then we’re ready to roll around the PVC pipe.

RollingHere 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.

RolledWe got it all rolled up,

Cable through PVC Pipe to TowYou can see the cable that will attach the roll to the tractor,

Outer Tarp for Protectionand then we decided we should put another tarp on the outside to keep the dirt away from the felt.

Tying It UpThen I tied it with rope.

Tractor ReadyThis 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.

Attaching to the TractorThen Dennis attached a chain to the end of the field dragger,

Hooking Up the Cablehooked the cable to the chain and,

It didn’t work, sigh…

Sawing Off the End of the PVC Pipe

So after a trip to the ranch supply store, we cut off the end of the bigger PVC pipe,

Making Another Cabletook an old cable we had and made loops on each end,

Putting Cable Through Smaller PVC Pipegot a skinnier PVC pipe and put the cable through it,

Ready to Try Rolling Again

and put the smaller PVC pipe into the larger one. And drum roll please –

It worked!!

After First Roll

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.

Not Felted Yet

But it certainly didn’t pass the pinch test!

Adding Yet More WaterI 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.

The Finished Felt Wall PanelHere’s the finished piece. It shrunk about a foot in each direction which was what I wanted. Yippee! It worked.

Bringing the Roll HomeAnd 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??

24 thoughts on “Yurt Update – Felting a Wall Panel

    1. Thanks Debbie – there is a lot more to go but I’ve recruited volunteers so hopefully it will speed things up a bit.

  1. Oh Ruth – I would love to come if only you lived a bit nearer! 😉 I felt a big grin breaking out as I watched the video of the second attempt and heard “Yay!” It’s a fantastic project – thank you for sharing.

    1. It would be so cool if we could just be “beamed up” to where we wanted to go and then be “beamed” home again. I would love for everyone to come and see the project in person and of course help out a bit. That “Yay” was a spontaneous celebration for sure. 🙂

  2. That must have been exhausting and exhilarating in equal measures!
    Sounds as if the next lot will go a bit easier and faster – the first try at anything is always a steep learning curve.
    Thank you for sharing your photos – it’s fascinating to watch the making of your yurt.

    1. I was definitely exhausted but it was so great that it did work. We have about got everything worked out now so it will definitely go faster next time with the felting plus I have new recruits 🙂

  3. Congratulations to you and Dennis! Great ingenuity figuring out to make it work. It would be a great experience to help. Wished I lived closer and wasnt still recovering from back surgery. Small projects are enough of a challenge these days. Thanks for sharing. I’m learning a lot and adding new projects to my list!

    1. Thanks Marilyn. That’s what Dennis has said he likes about the project, figuring things out to make it work. Hope your back is better soon.

  4. Great Ruth. The first time is always the hardest. I wish I lived closer I would even bring another tractor and driver. Why do you have it behind the harrows instead of just attaching it to the 3 point hitch arms? Sorry, I always have questions, Just about drove my mom crazy when I was a kid.

    1. We are doing it that way because the connections are then right on the ground instead of lifting up. I suppose you could connect right to the 3 point hitch arms and it would work. This way all the energy of pulling is parallel to the ground.

      That would be great to have two tractors going, wouldn’t it?

  5. It’s great watching the progress, Ruth 🙂 Thanks for the photos and videos. Well done for working out how to get the felt rolling!

  6. I was thrilled for you too when I saw the second video and you got the package rolling. I’m like Ann, was wondering why you were pulling behind the harrow instead of directly hitching to the tractor. Horse’s butt is higher than the tractor hitch. From films I’ve seen the rolling that’s done on the Steppes, they aren’t pulling parallel. Also thought when I saw the tarp that it would be slippery and just slide instead of rolling. Maybe an old rug or sleeping bag wrapped around the first tarp would help it to roll. See, there would be too many cooks. LOL Sorry, I am so new to felting but I’m like you and like to engineer my way around things.

    1. We just thought it would work better and keep the roll from shifting. The tarp worked great and did not slip at all. It is fun figuring out all the issues.

  7. I’m so happy I found this blog as I’m looking to do the very same thing. I read all your entries on this project. I can’t thank you enough for sharing. I have a couple questions. You said your husband circled the field four times per side. How big is your field or how long was he on the tractor for the four trips? My other question is where you got you batts. Oh…also how thick was your finished product? Thank you for your time and consideration. Have a wonderful day!

    1. Kim, I’m so glad that you found the yurt posts helpful. I would love to hear about your project or see some photos. Feel free to upload photos here:

      This project was done quite a while ago so some of the details are a bit fuzzy. It probably took about 10-15 minutes for the tractor to circle the field four times. It was just guesswork that you will get the feel of once you get started. I got my batts from a local sheep owner and had them processed at Sugar Loaf Mill, a local mill.

      The finished felt is probably about 1/2 inch thick or so. Please let me know how it goes.

    2. That’s very helpful. I’m just in the planning stages right now so all I have are drawings. The yurt will be a more modern yurt, but I really want felted wool insulated walls. It will be used as a healing center offering massage, meditation, yoga, and sound healing. It will be a 30’ yurt. That makes for a lot of wool. I’m trying to find a source to bring the cost down. That has proven to be a challenge. Do you recall the type of wool? How many microns? I’ll start the felting process early next Spring and building the platform late September with installation following after that. I’ve never taken on a project this large, but it’s already been rewarding. Thanks again for your much needed advice. ~Kim

    3. Here’s a post about the wool – https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2013/03/20/wool-gathering/

      I got a mix of Targee, Black Welsh, Romney and BFL and I don’t know the micron count but much heavier than merino.

      Wow – 30′ is really big and I used about 250 pounds of wool for my 16′ yurt so you will need a lot of wool. Good luck finding your source!

      The felting process went much faster when the weather was warm/hot. It took forever when we did one panel in October as it was chilly and cold.

      If you have further questions, please feel free to email me at laneruthe @ gmail

    4. Oh my goodness! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to find 500 pounds or afford it. I’m going to keep looking. Thank you again!

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