Hints and tips
This page will continue to evolve as people ask questions or I think of new tips to pass on.
Do feel free to ask questions via the comment form.
Cords – keeping the ends dry
Always do shorter cords before longer ones. You can wrap the ends in cling film to help keep them dry. Don’t let cord ends dangle over the edge of the table or they’ll conduct the water into the ends. To firm the spot where dry meets wet, hold the dry fibres up and work the wet area vigorously. By holding the dry fibres up you prevent water from being pushed into them.
Dyeing without felting fibres
Change temperature slowly, don’t plunge fibres into boiling water and don’t rinse in cold water whilst the fibres are hot. Handle and disturb the fibres during dyeing as little as possible.
Pre-felt is, as it sounds, a piece of felt that hasn’t been fully felted but remains soft and can usually be cut up and put into further felting. Occasionally, if you’ve felted the wool a little too far it can be difficult to get the pre-felt to stick without stitching or needle felting it on. If it looks all smooth on the back and the fibres have formed a skin which you can’t easily disturb then, using either a hand carder or dog brush, just brush the fibres on the back of the pre-felt until they’re all fluffy. Your pre-felt will then adhere to further felt without the need for stitching.
Using up old tops
If you’ve had your wool tops a long time or they’ve been mistreated, you may find that they’ve started to felt slightly and are difficult to pull when laying out. I split the top down it’s length into as many as 4 segments. This breaks it up and allows some air back into the fibres with the result that you can now pull the fibres out. Yes it’s a narrow top but it is usable. If you can’t split it down the length then you really have left it for too long or badly mistreated it. Other uses – make it into a felt rope, cut it up into small sections for jewellery bead making, or using it for stuffing / low relief work.