Sheep And Felting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are nearing the end of our lambing schedule, awaiting our last few ewes to deliver. So far, we have had 9 lambs…… 6 ewes and 3 rams, all easy births and all healthy. After a long winter and tending to our original flock, it is a delight to go out and be greeted by a bunch of springy lambs frolicking about. It amazes us that within a couple of days from being born, they are racing back and forth,  jumping into the air, and chasing each other around. Wallace ( remember him?) looks around now with a dazed expression and instead of a   ” Did I do that ? ”    it’s more like a  ” what have I done ? “.  We love watching them all.

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slippers 016Indoors, these are some examples of the felting projects I have been working on. The slippers are made by a process called wet felting. I spent some time this winter working on a slipper pattern that I was happy with and then carded my wool into batts for felting.  The process involves using hot soapy water , layering the wool batts, and then a lot of shaping by hand. Wool typically felts by being subjected to three things: temperture change, alkaline, and agitation. Many of us have experienced this when putting a wool sweater into the washing machine. Usually what comes out, if the sweater is 100% wool, is a smaller, tighter,  woven version of what was put in. Well, that’s basically felting.

slippers 019The slippers I have been working on are all hand felted and dyed using some of the fleeces that best lend themselves to this process. Felt is a great fabric….warm and sturdy and tends to shed water due to the wool fibers being so densely shrunken and tightened. This resulting in a material that is perfect for keeping feet warm during our Maine winters.  Maybe next winter I’ll felt a yurt. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA