This past Saturday, August 20, I took an all day felting workshop with Maureen Harding of Dreamspin Fibres. This and other workshops are offered through the Rose Haven Farm Store in Picton, Ontario. The store offers a wealth of materials for fibre enthusiasts, but be warned: your wallet will lose weight very quickly after entering the premises.
Magic happens when wool fibres meet water, soap and the energy of the felter. Tiny scales along each fibre open up and tangle together, pulling tightly and shrinking, forming a durable and warm fabric.
My goal is always to let the beauty of the material speak for itself, and to use the natural properties to obtain different colours and textures. My background as a sheep and cashmere goat breeder is the foundation of my love affair with natural fibres. Working with such earthy materials is a constant reminder to me of our connection with the natural world.
…….~ Maureen Harding
The following illustration shows my very first attempt at felting. We felted Merino wool roving and silk chiffon to create a scarf. It is more accurately called Nuno felting, a technique developed by Polly Stirling in the 1990’s, where wool is bonded (or felted) to a sheer fabric to create a lightweight felt.
The top edge of the scarf is a little wonky because I didn’t put wool too close to it: I was afraid of itchiness. Some say clothing made with Merino wool is tolerated by most people. I will see.
The following are close ups of the middle section and an end section of my scarf. I draped it over a railing to show how, even after felting, it is quite lightweight. If I had added less wool wisps, it would be more sheer.
By the way, felting is definitely a way to become more buff (or somewhere a long way from buff, in my case). It was a real workout for the arms and, as it turns out, the legs.