Thanks everyone for your comments and emails in relation to my last post, it has been really interesting studying your replies so please keep them coming! Not having a tumble dryer myself I didn’t even know that there was a ‘fluff or air only’ option but this definitely sounds like an interesting avenue to explore, thanks Dawn for that tip. I also emphathise with Liz when she says that she feels guilty if fulling in a machine. This is something that I ask myself many times every week, is an item handmade if one uses electronic equipment in the process, ie. a sander or in this instance the tumble dryer? The answer I keep coming up with is that other artists and craftspeople use tools so why should we not?? Looking at things from this angle seems reasonable but I STILL have that niggling doubt in my mind! Any thoughts? As you all know I do use my washing machine for part of the process when making felt rugs, this is as a result of Mehmet’s advice and I don’t feel a bit guilty here since he gave me the go ahead.
Now to respond to Deb’s two comments ……. I didn’t use a dryer for the felted seascape, the white fibres that crinkled nicely were either spun wool or mohair (suitable for knitting) and I just laid them on top of my wool and felted by hand as normal. If anything I didn’t roll for quite as long as normal as I wanted to keep a lot of texture in the finished piece. I also used some very fine white mohair (thanks Dawn, it was some of the great yarn from our destash swap!) in an extremely light piece of cobweb felt last week and it felted in beautifully but I did do a LOT of rolling between thin plastic sheeting to deep the felt very smooth and fine. In relation to rolling in a bamboo blind, I find them great. Usually I place my bubble wrap on the blind (bubbles facing up) and lay out my work as normal, wet out and cover with more wrap (bubbles down) and start the rubbing and rolling process. I then roll the whole lot up together as in the image below (have used laminate underlay in this piece but I am sure you get the picture) until the felt is
starting to hold together. At this stage I remove the bubble wrap and roll the felt directly in the blind, everything starts to come together much more quickly at this stage as the friction is greater with the bamboo than with the bubble wrap. I have also tried laying out the fibres directly on the blind as many people actually prefer but I find that using this method I need to unroll the package much more often. For me I find that the fibres have a habit of migrating through the rolled up layers and sticking together a bit before a surface skin has formed on the felt which is really annoying so this is why I prefer starting on plastic and then changing to the blind. Hope this makes sense! You do need to roll the blind quite firmly but once the felt starts to shrink it happens much faster than with bubble wrap alone.