Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cobweb felt curtains

For awhile I've wanted to make felted curtains for the bathroom in my 1920's California bungalow.  I tried nuno felted curtains but I wasn't too pleased with them since I wanted something more lace like.  I decided on cobweb felt.  

Cobweb felt using Wensleydale wool roving
Cobweb felt using Merino wool roving
Before making the final curtains, I experimented with both super fine merino wool roving and also Wensleydale.  I added silk and other fibers as embellishment.  I really liked the look of the Wensleydale which is a long staple fiber and creates a large curl cobweb when felted.  The merino was nice too but felted more closely together than the Wensleydale.

To make the cobweb felt , I took a hank of the roving and placed it on the bubble wrap on my work table with the bubbles up.  Using my hands I spread out the wool to a size 35% larger than the final size I wanted.  I made sure that the wool was spread fine with lots of open spaces. I added embellishments to the top third of the each piece including using pieces of wool yarn hanging off the edge.

Using a ball brauser, I wet out the wool with warm water and liquid soap.  I covered it with another piece of bubble wrap with the bubbles down.  I rubbed the package with my hands and then used the electric sander to agitate the package. When using the sander, I always use caution, wear rubber soled shoes and use one of those heavy duty orange electric cords.  

I then used a pool noodle and rolled the package for 2 minutes.  I opened the package and rotated the two curtains and rerolled.  I repeated this for all 4 sides.  I then rolled without the pool noodle but with the bubble wrap, then rolled it on it's own.  I then used hot water to bunch it up and throw it on the table periodically opening it and re-stretching it.

Once felted and fulled, I rinsed the two curtains and put it in the spinner to remove the excess water.  I then ironed them. I hung them in my bathroom on thin rods.  I was going to sew a pocket to thread the rod through but decided to just loop the curtain over the rod with the yarn pieces hanging loose.

 I am so pleased with the curtains.  They let in so much light and although they have holes, they still allow for complete privacy.

Roman glass used for embellishment

A fish trying to swallow a bead.  I left the threads hanging to resemble a fishing line.

Dyeing white silk and wool roving

And baby makes three.  Oh no, not me!  It's for my nephew and niece in law who are expecting a son, their first baby, in April.   I am so excited to become a great aunt for the first time too and super excited for my brother and sister-in-law to become first time grandparents.

For this project, I first dyed super fine merino wool roving and various types of silks, mainly 3 mm silk gauze and 5 mm silk habatoi with Dharma acid dyes.  I soaked the silk in the sink with a cup or so of white vinegar and enough water to cover.  I did not soak the roving since I did not want it to felt.  I added the vinegar to the wool roving later.  

I was careful not to agitate the wool roving when placing it in the jar with the dye liquid since I did not want to agitate it and felt it. I used a chop stick to push it down into the dye liquid.  For specifics on dyeing the silk and wool roving with acid dyes, click here.

Large steam pot used for the Ball jars
Jars are steamed

Dyed wool roving and silks
Baby blanket in process

Finished baby blanket, hat and booties.  Leather thongs used as accents.