Thursday, July 12, 2012

Portugal- Raw Fleece Felting- Part 1 of 2

Opening bundled raw fleeces...

 
...to find the ones most suitable for felting.

 
Here, Nicola and Estela debate the merits of a lovely, light-colored fleece.

 
Since there are both light and dark Bordeleria sheep...

...and because working with raw fleece can be a heavy business...

...we were instructed to consider both the color and the size of a fleece when making our choice.

 
Having found a beautiful, whole fleece to work with...

...I am all smiles! :)



Working outdoors on long, poured concrete tables (ideal!).
 
Picking out v.m. (vegetable matter) from the front (tips) side of my raw fleece.

 
Covering the back (cut) side with layers of processed Bordeleria roving.

 
Working with raw fleece is always exciting to me...

...and I was anxious to see how the wool from this unique Portuguese breed would felt!

Since I've always made light-colored raw pieces in the past...

...I was thrilled to find a chocolate brown one to felt with this time!

Finding a spot on one of the long, concrete, outdoor tables...

...I went to work, pulling out the most egregious bits of poo and vegetation.

Next, I carefully flipped the fleece, putting the cut edges 'up'...

...making sure that the wool formed a cohesive, dense mat with no open areas.

I covered the fleece with two perpendicular layers of brown Bordeleria roving...

...and despite the considerable breeze that day, I found that it still 'stuck'...

...anchored to the fleece by natural oils.

Next time: the finished rug.
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16 comments:

Becky Utecht said...

I'm glad you are posting about doing a raw felted fleece. I do mine with the cut ends up too. I wish I knew more about Bordeleria sheep, looks like they have very nice fleeces for felting.

Fiona Duthie said...

Ooooo..so fun! Beautiful dark fleeces! Is the bordeleria a more coarse fiber, Heather? What a great opportunity to play with a breed so rare to us! Can't wait to see your finished piece, as always!
xo Fiona

Rachel said...

There's one thing to be said for raw fleece - unless you happen to be one of the unfortunates allergic to lanolin, your hands don't suffer from all the water as much as they might!

Heather Woollove said...

Becky--I know...Ican't even find Bordeleria sheep in my Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, but it is lovely!
Fiona--No...it's quite soft and nice, and not at all 'spongy' like some wool...and the color is a beautiful, warm, melted chocolate brown!
Rachel--So true!!

WonderWhyGal said...

Squeal! I always love when you felt with raw fleece. I love the photos of the tables full of those fleece blankets. I can almost smell them.

Terrie said...

It's really fun to do a rug from choosing in the farm to finish. Working in the open air was fantastic. The smell of raw fleece was GREAT! If I've a chance to do again I'd do another piece of brown too.

Vivian said...

Heather, I gave you a Lovely Blog Award, because I love your blog :-) come take a look:
http://trinket-t.blogspot.com/2012/07/nightsongs-and-lovely-blog-award.html

FeltFinland said...

What beautiful fleeces - Looks like heaven!!! Can't wait to see the finished rug.

Kelly said...

What a beautiful fleece! I have to admit I went running to my book also. How was the shrinkage on this type of fleece? Was it a coarse wool?

Heather Woollove said...

Andrea--I know...we are going to have to do a raw fleece project together one day! :)
Terrie--Yes-working outside is ideal! I don't have that lovely set-up here at home! :(
Vivian--Thank you for the honor...it's so nice of you!
Amanda--They were just lovely and so much fun to work with!
Kelly--Not coarse at all, and only about 25% shrinkage!!

Voie de Vie said...

Can't wait to see the final rug ... and love those poured concrete tables! I could sure use of those around here. ;)

And ps - I've also nominated you for A Lovely Blog Award. You may read about it at http://voiedevie.blogspot.com/2012/07/embarrassment-of-goodies.html.

Heather Woollove said...

Denise--I've had a mason here all week doing different cement projects, but I can't bring myself to have him pour a table for me, as much as I love them! (Perhaps they're only romantic-looking in a beautiful setting?!?!) :)
Thanks for the honor of the blog award! XXO-

Loco Lindy said...

I can't wait to see your next step, you always portray them so nicely with your photos and text, Heather!

Heather Woollove said...

Lindy--Thanks for the kind words! XXO-

Merryn Twemlow said...

Hello, Heather,
Finally someone who understands fleece rugs !! I want to make one using your instructions, but the fleece I have been asked to use is 16 micron Merino, with up to a 15 cm staple. Do you have any advice please? Thank you, Merryn Twemlow

Heather Woollove said...

Merryn- i have used mixed fleeces in my rugs to great effect...even ones that I received for free from meat animals that looked rather pitiful, starting out. :)
I think you will be fine. Just remember to start tips down with the fleece as intact as possible (push it together if there are gaps, keeping the tips oriented down) then put two thin layers of merino on the cut side plus a layer of cheesecloth or scrim for support, and rub a LOT...much more than you think you should...and don't lift it up to peek to see if it's adhering prematurely. If it gets too wet and cold, put a pet screen or netting over the top and remove some of the water with a shamwow or towel, then add hot water and soap. Good luck and please send photos!!