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  • knitting1105 1:23 pm on August 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Felt,   

    Feeling Crafty 

    I have been on a binge with new crafting ideas (inspired by my sewing /knitting room which is coming along nicely). My latest trials were making soap with felted wool around it. Easy peazy.

    First find a nice bar of soap, I used some handcrafted ones, and some colorful roving. Note it cannot be Superwash, and must be wool to felt properly.

    Next wrap the soap tightly with some of the roving in one direction, not too thick, not too thin but making sure to overlap the edges.



    Using as many or few colors as you would like, wrap the other way around (i.e. turn the bar 90 degrees and wrap).

    The first time I tried instructions which stated to hold the roving firmly, have hot and cold water drizzling, add a bit of hot water and some soap. Rub vigorously with the finger on your other non-holding hand, and it will start to felt. Alternate between hot and cold water sparingly and rotate around the bar. Squeeze out the excess water and set to dry.


    Then I tried an alternate method. Wrap in the same manner, but put the roving wrapped soap bar inside a nylon, and I used my Grandmother's washboard. This is an all wooden one from WWII that she had, note the V for Victory, not using any metal. My dad was flying over Germany when she washed her clothes on this. I can only imagine the fear and anxiety with which she scrubbed her clothes. It is worn and well used.

    Just scrub vigorously under a bit of hot water with soap for agitation, rotating the bar around. Squeeze out the excess and set out to dry.

    These are my first few trials, Sofia is being my product tester.



    • Joan 6:53 pm on September 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I hadn’t seen the washboard version before. I love felted soaps!


  • knitting1105 1:30 pm on August 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Braid, , Felt, , shepherd's rug   

    Rug test 

    Having finally found the Shepard’s Rug book, I was anxious to try making one.  I decided to make a ‘rugette” to practice my braiding, felting and sewing.


    First I gathered my roving.  My inspiration for wanting to make these rugs is 3 boxes like this of roving (see this post).  All you newbie spinners, heed my advice and do not randomly take wool from the person who has a friend who has some sheep.  The staple length on this was not great, nor was the crimp, and I was not enjoying spinning it when I tried it.  The wool is from Suffolk and Hampshire lambs.  Options were to give it away to the school perhaps for an art class, or to try to find something that I could make from it, I had paid for the processing after all.


    Start by picking your 3 strands, all should be of different workable lengths, and secure the end with a rubber-band, clamp to a secure surface and start braiding, making sure not to twist.  When you need to stop, secure it with a clothes pin.  Overlap at joints when adding a new section of roving, remember this will all be felted so will become secure.


    Use a chair back to collect the braided roving (my example had a very small amount)


    Braid the  length you need and then secure the other end with another rubber band.


    Put into a bag tied shut and wash in hot water for at least one cycle (I used a pillowcase and added towels to the cycle to help bounce it around).


    When it comes out, sew on a flat surface; you will need a wax-coated lined thread.



    And voila!  I see that my beginning section was sewn too tightly so it puckers up a bit.  This was a great first attempt, and it is pretty easy.  My instructions here are very rudimentary, I would suggest getting the book if you want to try this.  The book has much more detailed instructions, great drawings to illustrate every step of the process, colored photos of finished rugs, and information on several different sheep breeds that they have used.


    Here is everything that you will need to make this project, in addition to your roving.  A clamp, rubber bands, an awl (for hiding the knotted join in the thread), a spring clothes pin, waxed lined thread, a large sharp needle, and a flat surface and a chair back.


    Now on to making a big rug!!!

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