Lets start with a sheep….
Traditionally sheep’s wool has been used for felting due to the way that it ‘entangles’ itself – which is what we need when we felt!
Other fibres that can also be used are:
- Angora rabbit
Other animal fibres that could be used are dog, cat and human hair (dreadlocks!).
With my felting the primary fibre used is sheep’s wool.
There are many breeds of sheep, and different sheep’s wool will felt differently. Some will give a soft, delicate feel (for items such as jewellery and scarfs), others will give a more coarse and dense feel (which is good for items such as bags).
Once the wool is sheared from the sheep, it needs to be cleaned and washed to remove dirt and lanolin. It then needs to be carded / combed to make it easier to work with. Sheep’s wool can be dyed a variety of colours, or it can be used in its natural form.
The main sheep’s wool I felt with is merino – this is a fine wool that is easy to work with and can be used to make all sorts of felted items.
Others I also use are:
- Bluefaced Leicester
- Black Welsh Mountain