Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Fleece-In-The-Grease" Pillow

Raw Jacob Hoggett fleece--corralled and covered by a layer of merino roving.
 


Cheesecloth atop the whole shebang.
 


The back side...partially felted.
 


The front side...partially felted.
 

As you may know...

...I bought three raw fleeces at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival.

And it was with equal parts excitement and trepidation...

...that I began this project.

When I first considered buying raw fleece...

...I spent quite a few hours reading about how to clean it.

Quite frankly? It put me off...

...seeming too messy, temperature-dependent and...well...fiddly for me.

But then, everyone in blogland started making full-fleece rugs, pillows and garments...

...and I was completely seduced.

This pillow is a Christmas gift for my boyfriend, J...

...and he has promised to avoid reading my blog for a couple of days so that it remains a surprise. :)

It's not exactly an easy project...

...but it's really, really fun (and magical)!!

Nicola recommended that I start with the fleece tips down...

...meaning that the cut edges of the fleece would be pointing up.

Not satisfied that my edges would flop over, with nothing to hold them in a vertical position during the layout...

...I designed a foam floor underlayment, duct tape and tuna-fish-can corral to hold everything in place!

I have an old, round springform pan that I'm going to use for this purpose when I make another one...

...then never again for baking!!

I covered the fleece layer with two layers of merino roving...

...and topped it with a layer of cheesecloth.

At this point, the corral was removed...

...since the cheesecloth was now providing 'edge support'. :)

It took lots of rubbing and rolling and quite a while to felt...

...and don't get me wrong...it's still a pretty filthy experience!!

When it was felted to the point that you see above...

...I popped it into a mesh bag and into the washing machine for part of a cycle.

I watched it like a hawk in there...

...stopping the cycle, rinsing, and removing it when it seemed adequately felted.

Next time...

...the finished pillow.

(Wait 'till you see what I used for the back!!)


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10 comments:

Patty Biermans said...

Like it already!!. Mis one thing in your story.... how did it smell? I can imagine that it was not very nice. Can't wait to see the finished project. Wish you luck....greetings Peebee

Kelly said...

Great idea to use the merino and cheesecloth! I wish I would have thought of that when I was making my rug! I cannot wait to see the finished pillow! :)Your BF is a lucky guy!

Heather Woollove said...

Peebee--It's funny...'cause I thought the same thing before I bought the fleeces, but it turns out that I really like their smell after all! It's kind of earthy and sweet...hard to describe.

Kelly--Yes...the cut edges really felt well to the merino layer, and the cheesecloth provides some structural support and a base.

vilterietje said...

what an adventure you had, felting the fleece. I woder what the result will be?
love, riet

Jeanette said...

Oh I love raw fleece. I have two gigantic bags full of the stuff in my garage and I wash it a bit at the time when I plan to use it. My opinion is that once you get the hang of it it`s not that much of a problem.

1. 30 minutes in hot water with a drop of detergent.
2. 30 minutes in cold water
3. 30 minutes in hot water with a tablespoon of white vinegar
4. 30 minutes in cold water.

tadah! Done!

It takes a bit of time of course but it manages itself. No need to stand and watch over it! And the joy when its done! So great!

The hard thing is the drying for me. It takes 3 days aprox - and it is SO hard to wait that long before using it ;-)

And the smell? Lovely of course!Speaking as a true sheep & wool lover!

Take care
Jeanette

Heather Woollove said...

Jeanette--Thanks for your concise fleece-cleaning tips!! I'm going to refer to your steps and try it sometime.

Kelly said...

I'm so glad to hear others like the smell also...I think in another life I lived on a farm...lol

Dawn said...

He! He! The old duct tape and tuna fish can method...Ahhhh yes...Can't wait to see that in your future book...You always make me chuckle :-) Chapter 2, perhaps toilet bowl plungers would be a fun addition:-) All kidding aside, I am so impressed and can't wait to see the finished gift for the mysterious Mr."J". It's a good thing that he's so trustworthy...I'd have never been able to resist the urge to take a peek.

Love this post (and you:-),
Dawn

Heather Woollove said...

Yes, Dawn-
My upcoming felting book will be titled "Goldfelter".
I love you too, dear friend!

Vilt à la Kim said...

wonderfull work Heather!! what is great about felting with raw wool is because there is still a lot of lanoline on the wool you really don;t have to use much soap at all. Using water of 60 degrees Celsius makes the lanoline get "active" :)
I will never ever wash my wool before I start felting as that means I also need to card it afterdrying... now I just use the rawunwashed uncarded fleece, "crad"it with my fingers and felt it (I think it saves me time)