Sunday, November 20, 2011

Table Top Needle Felting Machine and visit to Illinois

We had a quick trip to visit Susan and her husband Ron at Waldron Grove Alpacas in Illinois. She is doing some very exciting work on the table top needle felting machine. She is felting into all kinds of fabrics using alpaca and wool and also using her rolling machine combining with the needle felting machine.
Me and Susan
I have a pile of needle felted romney wool - natural brown color - that I can picture to become a coat. It was made while testing finished machines waiting to be shipped out to their new owners. I want to wet felt onto the needle felted fiber and see the results of a twice felted piece. Today I finally had a chance to do some samples. First I laid out different colors of gauze fabric on top of the solar pool cover rolling mat. Then I cut pieces of hard felt - sometimes called "pebbles". The pebbles were placed on top of the gauze fabric. I used gauze because I want to see the effect of the pebbles and have them stand out. I covered the pebbles with two thin layers of merino wool, some matching the fabric and some in contrast. The needle felted romney in natural brown and natural grey was placed on top and everything was wet down with cold water and liquid Dawn - soap (from a watering can), then placed on the rolling machine. I didn't use pressure, I just let it turn on the bottom two rollers checking it every 3 to 5 minutes. After about 20 minutes everything was felting together so I used hot water with olive oil soap and flipped the piece over and now placed it on the machine with 3 turns of pressure. I left it for 5 minute intervals before rolling it in the opposite direction. Everything felted together after around 20 more minutes and I rolled by hand for about 5 minutes then let it tumble in the dryer wet and soapy for around 8 minutes total. I like the results and now I can plan the final fabric color and the merino wool color I will use.  

brown needle felt on left, grey needle felt on right. Test sample in middle.

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