Felt Samples Notebook

Felt Samples Notebook

Recently, Jan posted about the documentation being done in her guild about weaving. When I commented that I had created a felt sample notebook while writing the book The Complete Photo Guide to Felting, Jan asked that I share the notebook. So here it is!

I want to thank all the people and companies that donated to this effort as I had asked for samples of different breeds of wool, other fiber that felts and different embellishments. That’s how I got a wider selection of fiber. For each sample, I documented the type of fiber, the type of processing (batt, roving, raw wool etc.), how long it took to felt, the amount of shrinkage and any comments about the felt that I thought were good to remember. Each sample started with the same size layout and were all felted in the same way. I guess I should have documented exactly what I did but this was in 2011 and now I can’t remember exactly how they were felted or fulled.

I put all the samples on black construction paper with a small piece of double stick tape and a label beside each piece. These were put into plastic sleeves and stored in a large loose leaf notebook. You can easily slip the pages out of the sleeve to be able to touch the samples and look more closely. Most of the felt samples (without embellishments) are the natural color of the fiber. You can click on any of the photos to get a closer look and be able to read my documentation about each fiber.

Pelsull/C1 Blend and Dorset

Blue Faced Leicester and Corriedale

Falkland and Finn

Gotland and Icelandic

Merino and Norwegian C1

Pelsull and Polwarth

Romney and Wensleydale

Alpaca and Angora Goat

Angora Rabbit (smaller sample due to limited amount of fiber) and Bison Down

Camel and Cashmere

Llama and Yak Down

The second part of the notebook is about embellishments. I used a merino wool and applied the embellishments to the surface. I didn’t do much documentation on these except to state what the embellishment fiber is.

Silk Top and Silk Cap

Silk Throwsters Waste and Silk Hankie

Silk Carrier Rods and Silk Noil

Rainbow Nylon and Angelina Fiber

Fake Cashmere and Tencel (viscose)

Banana Fiber and Sea Cell Fiber

Flax and Wool Nepps

Wool Slubs and Wool Locks (flat on surface)

Wool Locks (ends loose) and Pre Yarn

Specialty/Novelty Yarns and Cotton Fiber

Soy Bean Fiber

I have always been an advocate of doing samples before starting a project. I think it really saves effort, time and money so that you have an idea how something will work before doing a larger project. Do you make samples? Do you document the results? We’d love for you to share your sample process over on the forum.

If you have any questions about the samples above or about using a specific fiber, feel free to ask in the comments below.


22 thoughts on “Felt Samples Notebook

  1. This looks really useful, thanks for sharing it with us.
    Samples? To be honest I tend not to make samples, simply because I always seem to try to make something actually larger than I should for the amount of fibres I have, and can’t bear to “waste” any on a sample, as I’m sure I won’t then have enough for the actual project. Consequently I do have a number of UFOs as a result of running out of fibres, despite not “wasting” any. The answer of course is 1 – do a sample to see how far what I have will go; and 2, only then pick a project which is small enough for what is left. But I never learn!

    1. Thanks Ann, I was like that in the past but doing a sample can be really useful. You can always use the samples in another project or make them into something. That way it doesn’t feel wasteful.

  2. A great document Ruth. You mention that you wished you’d put more details such as how you felted the samples, and I hope new felters take note. Right from your first piece, take photos, take notes! I wish I had.

  3. They are great samples Ruth a great visual aid when deciding what to use. I am terrible about making samples but mostly I use the same wool most of the time so I know what it will do.

    1. Thanks Ann, I use mostly the same wool all the time too. So I actually haven’t referred back to these samples for a while.

  4. Ruth
    This information is unbelievably important to all of us who don’t do organizational things very well. I’ve made the samples but without labels and suggestions. Thank you Thank you!

    1. Thanks Sally, I’m kind of an organization freak so that part wasn’t hard. If you can still remember the information about your samples, you should definitely record it somehow. You think you will remember but I certainly don’t 😉

  5. Very interesting, Ruth. In part you’ve answered my question in another reply but I wondered if you refer to the samples when thinking about a project or if you feel you’ve learned what you need already.

    1. Thanks Lindsay, I should refer to it more often. I have occasionally looked back at it for certain fiber information. But like many people, I tend to use the same fiber again and again. This reminds me to get out of the rut and sample more fiber again.

  6. Thank you very much this is very helpful !! I have been given several of these fibers in bits and full fleeces Wich need to be cleaned . Now I know what is worth the time to clean and prosses for my projects 🤗 lol my fingers twitched with wanting to touch each sample stay safe may 2021 bring the world to a better place xo canada .

  7. That is Fabulous!!!! what a tome of reference! that is a lot of work but absolutely worth it. Thankyou for sharing it with us!

    i wonder if you would like to start another book? sort of like the fleece and fiber sourse book but focusing on felt-ability of the fiber rather than spin, knit or weaveability. a wool that is rite for one project can be less so for a difernt project. having sampled options when you want to make boots or cat caves would be vary handy. since trying to buy a sample size of the likly supspcted fleece breeds could get quite pricy. (Finn worked well but its good to have other options)

    thanks vary much again for showing us your refernce binder!!

    1. You’re welcome 😊 I think a reference book about feltability would be great. The amount of work, cost and time it would take are a little off-putting though. It would be a great group project though, wouldn’t it?

  8. Ruth your collection is enviable in terms of the volume & detailed info.
    I have tried to keep notes with my samplers because as you rightly say we do forget over time….or should I say we have added more information into our cells 🤪
    Note to self – must do more samples & improve on my notes.

    There is only one extra on my few samples….I add a marker (a line of thread) to indicate the top left corner. This tends to be useful to gauge directional shrinkage.

    1. Thanks Antje, I actually haven’t done hardly any samples or documentation since I created this in 2011. It’s easy to get lazy about it. Good idea about marking so you can gauge directional shrinkage, thanks!

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