Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Felting with Irina

Irina sprinkles soapy water on the wool fibers
before we felt them.
Last night, a friend and I took a felting class at a little fiber studio here in the harbor. In just three hours, we went through the whole process of selecting our colors, laying out the unspun wool fibers and beating, rolling, vibrating and massaging them into felted scarves.
I pulled off whispy pieces of wool in different colors
and arranged them on the long table.
I had never felted anything by hand before. My only experience with felting was years ago when I knitted a giant wool tote bag and then felted it in the washing machine.

Detail of wet, soapy fibers during the process.
Irina explained that the wool fibers have little barbs on them that open up when they become wet. When the wet fibers are manipulated, the barbs hook together and cause the fibers to felt together.

Cheri uses an electric sander to work on the fibers.
With my tote bag, the washing machine did the manipulating. In our class, we manipulated the wet fibers by covering them with plastic and going over them with electric sanders and rolling pins. We wadded them up and hurled them against the table 90 times. We rolled them around pool noodles and then rolled them back and forth for 15 minutes, leaning on them with our forearms.
Don't mess with teacher!

Almost done!

After a rinse in warm vinegar water and then cool water, we squeezed them dry between towels and they were ready to wear! 

Cheri models her scarf beside Irina.

My scarf in my favorite turquoise-coral combo.
Irina's studio is packed with her gorgeous felted scarves and FUN hats. She's moving to Florida in a few months, but she said she's thinking of doing on-line tutorials. Here's her info, in case you'd like to check out her beautiful work.

One of Irina's felted hats.
Have a colorful day


tiedyejudy said...

Sounds like you had great fun, although it does sound a little labor-intensive! Is this something you think you will do again at home? And I'm curious how it compares to machine needle felting...

Lynda said...

How beautiful! I'm with Judy. Sounds pretty labor intensive. Is this something that can be done at home?

Cheri Patch said...

Irina's class was so fun, she's a dynamo! It is labor intensive, but when you compare it to the length of time it takes to knit or sew a garment, it's pretty quick! I shouldn't be hard to do it at home, Thanks for taking the class with me Sherrie!

Judy Ferguson said...

A really great experience. I have only done felting in the washing machine or on my embellisher with needles.

McIrish Annie said...

Looks like a real workout! can skip the gym after that class!