Felt: but what is it?

from Gaia Gualtieri - 17 October 2014

Gaia Gualtieri

CEO at DHGshop
CEO of DHG DyeingHouseGallery
Gaia Gualtieri

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What is felt?

Most of you will probably think I’m crazy and you’ll ask yourselves why on earth did I get this idea in my head today to explain to you of all people who know and love felt so much, what it is.
I haven’t gone crazy and I think it really is necessary, because an ever-growing number of people are fascinated by felt (both the artisanal and the industrial product) and they contact us, asking us an impressive variety of questions.
I often realize that many questions and doubts arrise from a total lack of basic knowledge and so I hope that this post can fill in the gaps. I will be brief, I swear. I will explain only a few basic principles.

Felt

Felting

The ability to felt is one of the most important characteristics of animal wool and has been well known since ancient times (some scholars even date the first appearance of objects made with felt around 5.800/5.700 B.C. in Central Asia).
The felting of wool fibers, both those created with artisanal techniques as well as industrial ones, takes place following a mechanical action of compression combined with head and humidity or through pricking with needles.
In both cases, what allows the felting to happen is the structure of the fiber and its flaky surface (visible under a microscope) which during the fulling process (which is the process of felting) rub against each other and they “hook” securely together, giving life to a textile surface.

Felt and boiled wool fabric

One of the most common misunderstandings is that felt and boiled wool are more or less the same thing. I may be a bit harsh but, please… ENOUGH!!! They are two products very different in structure.
Felt is not a fabric in that it does not have a warp and a weft, rather it is a “non-fabric fabric” created by directly working with the fibers.
Boiled wool is a fabric that is indeed created thanks to a fulling process just like felt, but the structure of the material on which this process is carried out is a knit (therefore made with yarn).

I know that for most people this information is too technical and boring but I believe that it is important to have a minimum of knowledge that will help you to choose the best materials suited to your specific creations.
Come on, allow me to give you just a little bit of information!
I one of our next posts perhaps you will have to put up with the explanation of carded wool and combed wool…NO, they are not the same thing and NO, there is no such thing as combed carded wool…it’s either carded or combed!

If you liked this article maybe you would also enjoy How to create a perfect nuno felting.

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