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Felt Making Help

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Old 07-14-2015, 05:56 PM   #1
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Default Felt making help

Hello, I'm new to the forums, it's great to see so much yurt activity!

I'm building a 8 meter diameter yurt, I assisted to a yurt making course, but the felt making wasn't covered, so I need help with that.

I haven't been able to find any extensive felt making guide, can you share thy experiences with me? or refer to any good guide, video tutorial or book?

I only know the basics, my idea is to get some raw wool, tease it a bit to small bundles, cross set it tightly and thicky on a big plastic, and then apply (near) boiling water, roll it with a pole in the middle and attach it to a donkey lend by a friend, and try to make it follow with some carrots or something! O.o haha it really sounds adventurous, I kinda like that, maybe the donkey gets fed up and doesn't want to follow anymore... it worries me also.

It'd be great to have some sort of well explained and detailed tutorial, not the donkey part, I gotta try my animal handling skills, but yes, more deep in step by step procedure.

Thank you


Last edited by metzen; 07-14-2015 at 05:57 PM. Reason: misspelling
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Felt making help

I am going to tag

Groovy Yurts

on this as they have some experience with this subject..
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Felt making help

My girlfriend's family raises sheep and goats. Her mom likes the idea of processing all the wool onsite instead of sending it out. But unwashed/raw wool is stinky--you have to scour the lanolin out of it & pick out any bits of straw/manure... Then it's a lot nicer to work with. Once it's been scoured, you send it through a picker (think big shredder thingy--see this youtube video) to pull all the bits apart & fluff everything up. Then once that's done you lay it out in a layer or two, get a little bit of (the right kind of) soapy water on it, roll it in plastic (so it doesn't felt to itself where you don't want it to), tie it tightly, then roll & press it some way. You can approximate the donkey/roller press by tumbling it in the dryer with no heat for a while.

I went through some of these processes just to see what is was like. It seemed like a lot of work--I could have easily put in a full week or two's worth of work and gotten only close to a completed felt layer for my 6m yurt. So I went and spent a week's wages on woven wool-blend blanket material instead. But that was partially due to inefficiencies in that particular workshop area.

If you've been searching english language websites, you're bound to find mostly artistic/small felting setups--or ridiculously large industrial felt machines, which use an entirely different approach (needle felting). Here's a video of the traditional mongolian process you mentioned, but you've probably seen it already. I don't know the details, but I've heard that you'd need to drag your felt roll something like 100 miles--maybe true, maybe not...

In terms of machines, something like this roller setup is common for the non-industrial scale. Mind you, it's $1-5k, depending on the roller width. That particular website seems to have lots of felting tools and some books. There's websites/rollers, too. The roller limits the width of felt that can be made though, unless you are particularly ingenious with resists.

I would suggest two places for finding more info--your local library may have some craft books on felting (near sewing & crocheting); you're local sewing/craft store might have classes (or books) on it. Neither of these would have exactly what you're looking for, but they could get you started. I would highly recommend making small felts (say 1-3 ft/1 m square or less) initially to learn the process. Then decide if the donkey is a good way to go
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Old 07-22-2015, 03:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Felt making help

Metzen,
As a matter of fact I am now translating a very good article on felt making in Kyrgyzstan. Stay tuned at kochevnik.ca
Meanwhile you can take a look at this video
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Last edited by kochevnik; 07-22-2015 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Felt making help

I just posted a good article on Kazakh carpet making. Good information on felt making. Video is coming up soon also.
Kazakh carpets – History and tradition | Kochevnik
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Felt making help

Hello. I just posted a lot of pictures and a video on felt making in case you are still interested
From sheep to a carpet – Shyrdak (Syrmak) pictures and a video | Kochevnik
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Felt making help

Thanks for posting the photos and videos.
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Old 09-29-2015, 11:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Felt making help

Hello. I just posted a video on felt making with English subtitles and full transcribe for those who are interested
Decorative Arts And Crafts Of The Kazakh – Felting -Video with English subtitles | Kochevnik
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