If you want to attach the cord to a bag later then add an extra 3″ (7.5cm) at each end which needs to be kept dry. Take a length of top (roving) and give it a few twists to give you an idea of how thick the cord will be when finished. If it’s too thick, split the cord down the length, if too narrow, add some more.
2. Wetting out but keeping dry
If you want to attach the cord to a bag as a handle then you need to keep the extra fibre on each dry. You can wrap the end in cling film to help with this if you wish.
Always work on shorter cords before longer ones. If the cord is wider than your mat work in sections but make sure the ends don’t dangle off the table or all the water will be conducted into the ends you’re trying to keep dry.
3. Adding a pattern
After wetting the fibres give a very gentle roll to start the circular shape. Next, lay out some fibres at 90° to your cord then roll it onto the fibres which will be come wrapped around it.
You can add as many colours as you like and you can also use several colours in the original length of fibre. Play and have fun.
Once the fibres are wt I roll on a bamboo blind for extra friction. Don’t allow the roll to dry out though or felting will slow down and the cord will become fluffy. It’s just like working plasticine or play dough and you need to keep your hands working along the whole length. To test if you’ve felted enough try the pinch test.
If the cord flattens when you do this then it’s too soft. It will eventually become so firm it can stand upright.
5. Top tip
When we make cords often the softest spot is where wet fibres meet dry. This area needs to be as firm as the rest. To get right in there, hold the dry fibres up with one hand and then work the cord vigorously with the other. By holding the dry fibres up you prevent the water from being pushed into them.