I am still shaving Sylvia’s rug in preparation for delivery on Monday, this time the wool fibres coming through the cotton on the back. At one stage I thought that I wouldn’t remove these ‘hairs’ but eventually decided that because the rug will be lying on a carpet base probably with time the fibres would pill so it would be better remove them now rather than later. My finger is a bit of a worry, not sore at all but when I knocked it again the other day loads of blood from such a small cut! Obviously I am being really careful because the last thing I want is red all over the white in the rug!!! Now I am looking forward to seeing the rug in situ and taking some photos but I am also a little aprehensive as I still have a few cms all round which I would like to shrink but just don’t seem to be able to achieve, Sylvia’s initial measurements were approx so hopefully approx will still fit the bill!
Apologies to anyone who might be waiting for an email or a reply to a comment, golf duties have totally taken up any other available time these last few days and what with my finger and the rug computer activity has rather taken a bashing until tomorrow. I am just off now to a Visiting Captain’s Day in Kilkenny, tomorrow it is the Captain’s Prize to the Ladies in Borris and I have meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, an Open Day on Thursday and a big in house competition on Saturday, phew.
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.