An Ancient Skill
Felting is an ancient skill that has been used for thousands of years (at least since 6500 B.C.) to create felt, a non-woven textile that originates from the pressing and rubbing of fibers together. Felt is the oldest known form of fabric. In order to make felt, animal wool/hair is used. Sheep’s wool is probably the most used material to make felt.
I use the Wet Felting method to make felt and bring to live felting projects. On a surface, I lay the sheep wool in layers and then – very gently – I add soapy hot water and agitate the fibres with my hands. The friction together with the soap and hot water will make the fibres coarser and, therefore, entangle with each other until we have a piece of wool textile. With it, I can then craft a variety of beautiful things, such as rugs, blankets, clothes, bags, and much more. I can also felt in specific shapes. For instance, you can make a hat out of wool by felting it with the help of a resist with the desired shape; the piece will be three-dimensional and seamless.
Currently, I’m mainly working on felted collars, rugs and bags, which can be found periodically on my online shop. In my felting practice, I have been trying to use as much wool from local indigenous sheep as possible. I have been working with Churra Galega Bragançana Preta, and hope to start working with Churra da Terra Quente very soon, both native to the North of Portugal.
Wool is probably one of the most amazing materials that exists on the top of the Earth. Bellow I list some of the reasons why wool is so amazing.
- Wool is a natural fibre, being 100% biodegradable and renewable;
- Wool is fire retardant. If you enjoy sitting around fires in the evening, a wool sweater will be a better option than a synthetic one (I know this one by experience!);
- Wool is resistant to bacteria, mould and mildew;
- Wool allows the body to breathe and transfers moisture away from the skin;
- Wool is really good to absorb humidity, so if it’s raining and you have a good felted coat, it will protect you really well!
- Wool items can last a really long time, since the fibres can be bent many times without breaking;
- Wool will keep your body warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s hot. Also, if you’re using wool socks and your feet get wet, they’ll keep your feet warm anyways!
- Wool is also stain resistant (when the stain is dry, you can usually remove it easily);
- Wool is anti-static, which means it will not attract dust and other particles easily. This way, it will be kept cleaner for a long time!
- Seriously, wool is amazing! You can make all kinds of things with it, including insulating houses!
Besides felting, I have been dabbling with other kinds of wool witchery, such as learning how to card wool, how to spin yarn by hand, how to crochet, and other similar things! I feel very humbled by the teachings I receive from practising these ancient skills, and have been increasingly more thankful to Sheep, who has given and still gives us so much.
Come visit my Online shop and see my latest handmade products!