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A History of Felt

Given the nature of our business it is understandable that here at World Of Wool we are interested in the history of craft and textiles, especially feltmaking.

For example according to Wikipedia there are many legends from different cultures as to the origins of feltmaking. *Sumerian legend claims that the secret of feltmaking was discovered by Urnamman of Lagash. The story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher relates that while fleeing from persecution, the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters. At the end of their journey, the movement and sweat had turned the wool into felt socks.

Feltmaking is still practised by nomadic peoples (Altaic people) in Central Asia and northern parts of East Asia (Mongols), where rugs, tents and clothing are regularly made. Some of these are traditional items, such as the classic yurt (Gers), while others are designed for the tourist market, such as decorated slippers. And as we know, in the Western world felt is widely used as a medium for expression in textile art, as well as design, where it has significance as an ecological textile.

There are different types of felting - wet, needle and nuno. Wet felting is 'the interlocking and compacting of wool fibres by using warm water, soap and rubbing motions.' Needle felting is 'the process of interlocking wool fibres by stabbing it with a barbed needle. The barbs catch the scales on the fibre and cause them to tangle and bind together.' Nuno felting is a technique developed by Polly Stirling - a fibre artist from Australia. 'The technique bonds loose fibres, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt.'

Our admiration for the skills of our feltmaking customers is reflected in the vast range of feltmaking fibres we offer, from natural and dyed wool tops and pre-felt and felt, to speciality fibres - including bamboo , angoraand alpaca - and angelina , viscose and tencel from our synthetic collection.

We also offer feltmaking fibre kits including the fantastic wet felting kit, needle felting kit, and the nuno felting kit. Each kit comes with the equipment required, as well as an instruction manual to help beginners get started.

We always want to see the results of your efforts and love to receive photos of your beautiful felt artwork, which we add to our fantastic gallery of images on our website so everyone can see how talented you all are!

* Source: Wikipedia

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