It’s slow work but it is progressing. Bart’s felt covering was duly tacked back together and the final felting began. I’ve been rubbing him all over for hours each day and it is paying dividends as the felt shrinks down to his shape. The first area I felt unhappy about was the beak, I’d rubbed for ages and it still seemed way too long but this is now under control and is the correct length. It was easier once I’d thought about how the fibres were laid and took advantage of that to achieve the shrinkage I needed.
It’s been such a lovely day that Bart and I have been in the garden today. A bit of sunlight and high temperatures have helped me to keep him warm for the felting process. Shame that it doesn’t help keep him wet, as fast as I pour the water on it runs off! When wet, the felt is quite heavy and the seam began to pull apart as I moved Bart around and turned him over to work on him, so it was out with the needle and thread for an emergency repair.
Today, I’ve rubbed for over four hours but I do now have the shiniest smoothest hands I’ve had for some time. I do admit to using a net and plastic bag to rub him with. Swaledale fibres are quite coarse and there’s no way I could have worked Bart for so long had I used my hands, there’d be no skin left by now. I’m nearing the end and with luck I’ll finish Bart tomorrow which’ll just give time for him to dry before Monday