More Samples with Interesting Results

More Samples with Interesting Results

We’ve been talking on the forum about how important it is to make samples, especially when using new fibers or unknown fabrics.  It’s better to take a little time to make a sample, than to waste a lot of time and fiber.

I still had one fiber from WOW I hadn’t tried.  It was actually a Jacob batt.  The batt was very uneven so I used two layers and still ended it up with a couple of sparse spots.  I only felted the samples to the prefelt stage so I could use them in another project.  The end result of the Jacob was it was very loose and spongy.  I’m tempted to full it to see what happens.  It is very similar to the Black Welsh I featured in a previous post.


I recently did an experiment with one of Fiona Duthie’s 15 minute projects called Mountains.  It’s lost it’s bowl shape a little, but I really liked the curliness of the base, but couldn’t remember what fiber I used.


I have been trying to use more of the coarse fibers I have.  But I have been terrible about remembering to write down what I’ve used.  I thought Icelandic was harder to felt.  It has a very long staple, dyes well, and whenever I use it in has to be shaved when finished. So, I decided to make a prefelt of this as well.


What I discovered is it is soft at this stage, but felted easily.

So, have I been badmouthing the wrong fiber? I have a fair amount of Cheviot so I figured I would experiment with that as well.  The Cheviot had a shorter staple but the resulting prefelt was soft and a little lighter in color than the Icelandic which I thought was a lighter color. Hmmm.


When I went with Cathy to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, I purchased some Navajo Churro which I have never used.  It had a short staple and was coarse to the touch and filled with little knots.  The resulting prefelt was very hairy and much flatter than the others.  It reminded me of Gotland I had made a sample of a while back, but while they look similar, the Gotland was very smooth to the touch. It also had been fulled, so that may make a difference.  The Churro was very hairy.  I have some white Churro I will try dyeing later on.




Last but not least, I made a Romney prefelt and found my curly fiber.  (its more noticable at the sparser edges. It is rougher to the touch but I like the cobweb wavy type look.  It also has a long staple.


I had done similar samples using habatoi silk, mulberry silk fiber and yarns on each of them a while back, fulled, dyed and then stitched them together. Here is the Four Day Dye Experiment

These samples were fully felted and it is hard to tell the difference except to rub my hands over them. The Icelandic and Domestic 56 are coarser to the touch than the Cheviot and the Romney.  Different than at the prefelt stage.  I think in the future I may take a smaller sample to full and compare obviously they are different.


Now as a preview to some more future sampling on a pile of fabric samples to test.


What is your experience with sampling?


16 thoughts on “More Samples with Interesting Results

    1. Thanks Karen!. It’s good to do them yourself as well. Just to know how your environment and technique affects the end result. It’s always a learning experience. But if you don’t care for certain types of wool like spongy, you know what to avoid. 😉

    1. That’s a great idea Ruth. I need to keep better notes. Although I always start out with the same size sample and felt several at a time, it does show how quickly or easily or not the fiber felts to compare.

  1. Sampling is a good way to get ideas for projects because sometimes the result you get sparks an idea. It makes sense to sample before tackling a larger project – saves frustration!

    1. You’re absolutely right Lyn! It also save money in the long run. I try not to buy large amounts of fibers I’m not sure I’ll like or use. I’ve had some big disappointments.

  2. I think most of us have had those fiber disappointments, Marilyn. The sampling is important for current needs and future reference, but I am not great at being consistent with labeling and dates. And I’ve discovered there are different grades of each fiber, for instance, Shetland and Icelandic. They are not all the same! Thanks for sharing your samples.

    1. Thanks Cathy! You’re right there are different grades of fiber which is yet another reason to do samples especially when ordering from different suppliers. 🙂

  3. Sampling in wet felting reminds me a lot of swatching in knitting – so important to make sure the end result is what you expect!
    How do you store your samples, Marilyn? I’d love to see how you ladies keep your records to inspire me to do the same 🙂

    Also (daft question alert!) what’s the difference between fulling and having something completely felted?

    1. Haha Leonor, Ruth has a better system, mine is called a pile in a drawer. I do put a label on each sample and always follow the same process, two layers, ten inches square to start. I wish I had wonderful advice. 🙂

      Felting is getting the fibers to start to entwine which is where you stop when you make prefelt. Fulling is finishing the process and hardening the felt. I hope that helps.

    2. Ah, I see you’re still better organised than I! I would just keep my samples in a random place and then obviously lose them…

      Got it! Fulling would be the same as my “finishing” in needle felting 😁

    3. Haha, Leonor. I could easily lose them in all these drawers. 🙂 I didn’t know there was finishing in needle felting. Learned something new.

  4. I catalogue all mine in a box 😉 It helps to have records on the blog or flickr/ipernity too though. I’ve not seen Romney like that before, it looks really nice.

    1. That sounds like a good idea, too, Zed. I have all my pics, but I rarely put names on them. I should do that, too. I’ve had the Romney for a while, this is the first time I’ve used it. I was surprised at the curl, too.

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