Tactile felt hearth rug!

I forgot to mention yesterday that I did weigh the Icelandic wool and divided it into two piles.  There was just over 400g per layer and interestingly enough not much shrinkage overall by the time the rug was complete, possibly even less than 20%. 

Starting to lay out the Jacobs fleece

Cotton fabric between the layers of wool

I should also have said that I used green silk hankies both within the fleece and at several points near the edge of the rug but that the white silk tops around the outside might not be silk at all but is more likely to be tencel.   It felt quite different in the hand but as I don’t know where I got it from so this is just an uneducated guess!

Initially I worked the rug hard (several hours) by hand and sander on the reverse and eventually was brave enough to turn it over and work directly on the top.  It took ages for the fibres to start coming together, possibly if I had laid two layers of wool on top of the fleece and then the fabric as the last layer it would actually have been a lot quicker.  Whatever, another couple of hours later and things were beginning to hang together nicely.  When I was absolutely sure that the fleece was not going to come apart I chanced wrapping the rug inside a piece of cotton and putting it through a wool wash in my washing machine!  With the exception of rinsing Osman technique rugs or making beads from waste felt I never use my machine for felting, I prefer to do everything by hand.  This time however since I was in an experimental mood and the Jacobs is extremely slow to felt I decided nothing ventured, nothing gained.  After it came successfully out of the machine I worked it by hand again without any soap.  Another while later I put it through a 40 degree wash and again worked directly on the surface by hand for approx another 45 minutes. 

My finished hearth rug!

The finished rug is extremely tactile and will make a great fireside rug or else something to keep my toes warm during those cold Irish mornings!  More detailed images of the final result are available in my Flickr photos.

4 thoughts on “Tactile felt hearth rug!

  1. Hi Nicola
    Chrissie here ,did a retake seeing another Chrissie very confusing can you tag me with Chrissie Day now ,Looks great fun and the toes will stay warm,a good week for experiments did you see my strange people from my needlefelting attempts must say though it is addictive you just want to keep going .
    Chrissie Day

  2. Good morning Nicola,

    Well it’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S. today and I’d dare say that if I were to attempt a rug like this, that I could eat a whole pie with absolutely no guilt of the caloric content! What a workout, but well worth the effort. I absolutely love all of that texture. You may have already mentioned this, but my poor brain is not quite awake yet…What size is this? And you’re right…It just beckons to have you run your toes through it. Great job Nicola.

    I have to say that your dog must be much better behaved than mine. If I were to put a beautiful rug down like that, he’d claim that in no time flat. I’d never get a chance to run my toes through it!

    Well, I know it’s not Thanksgiving in Ireland, but just wanted to tell you since it is here, how very thankful I am for your friendship. Have a great day Nicola.


  3. oh, I am so in love with this rug!! It is inviting, so textural and I can barely imagine how luscious and soft it is. You are an incredible, felt-maker, Nicola —-always an interesting project on the burner. Beautiful and I am inspired to get back to the studio working.

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