Felt good

A while ago I read the interview with Jennifer Murphy in Home Companion where she says “Use the best materials. For a long time, I’d work with felt that wasn’t 100 percent wool. Once I tried the good stuff, I never went back. The quality of my work has vastly improved and the flexibility of the material has enabled me to use it in so many ways.”
This sparked my dormant interest in working with wool felt, which first arose a couple of years back when I discovered the beautiful AK in Prahran. I have no interest in producing my own felt. I did a little of this back in University and I find it massively time consuming and physically exhausting. I am more interested in taking the fabric and turning it into softies.

Ever since, I have been obsessed with tracking down a source for 100% wool felt here in Melbourne. I emailed my pals in the Craft Army and got some great tips from Miriam who suggested I try a store over in Brunswick which does indeed stock 100% wool felt. I went over there today and discovered that while the fabric is fine and tough and quite lovely, unfortunately the colours are limited to the basic black, white, bone, red type range whereas I want things like apple green and rusty gold … they will order stuff in if you want 5 or more metres of it, which I don’t. As a side line I did also find some great relatively cheap linen in slightly odd colours so it was not a wasted trip at all.

Miriam had also found a couple of other contacts – one being a guy who supplies pre-dyed felt which didn’t appeal to me on first thought, but then ideas of brewing up my own perfect colours came to me and now I am searching out prices for wool dyes and planning on finding some kind of cauldron thing for dying in the Trading Post. I am a babe in the woods when it comes to this kind of thing, but I am inspired to explore, even if it comes to nothing and I move onto another idea next week.

Mmm… felt.

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21 Responses

  1. julia@merten.com.au says:

    This may sound wierd, but my very creative sister-in-law actually collects hair from her honey-coloured dog, washes it and makes it into felt. Not sure she’s done anything else with it yet… Its lovely and soft, and very special of course.

  2. Hello Missy!I just wanted you to know that I think the best and easiest dyes to deal with are sabraset/lanaset dyes….I love them! I just mix up stock solutions that I keep on my shelf and then I am ready to go. They are fantastic and the colors are delightful….I do know of other people who have had wonderful luck with gaywool dyes. So you may want to check both of those out. Heee heee…the dying bug is a wicked one…..but oh so delightful….enjoy…any questions..don’t hesitate to email:)

  3. What fun! I love dying cottons for quilting, but find it a killer on my back. I can highly recommend Batik Oetoro which is in Sydney, but they do mail order and are so helpful – http://www.dyeman.com. Closer to your hometown though is Kraftcolour and while I have not used them I have heard good things -www.kraftkolour.com.
    Whatever you do – start small! If you can get small quantities of dyes, that is a very good thing. And most of all, have fun!!!

  4. Sorry – Kraftkolour’s website is http://www.kraftkolour.com.au
    Whoopsie! 😉

  5. Not in your neck of the woods, but they have an out of this world selection of felt in a rainbow of color.http://www.weirdolls.com/fabrics/fabrics.html

  6. You probably already know this being a local, however I simply have to let someone of the crafty persuasion know that at the chapel street bazaar there is a small “shop” which sells vintage laces in beautiful colours. I’m not a lace person, but this stuff was awesome. Apparently Alannah Hill buys from there.

  7. are there Waldorf Schools in your part of the world? They are usually very interested in crafts and working with natural materials. A school might already have the felt, know of local sources or be willing to do an order with you so you could get the colors you want.The is your “M” reader comment day!

  8. scarlson@peace.gordon.edu says:

    I fell in love with wool felt this fall because of Salley Mavor and her felt wee folk. In her “links and resources” section she lists sources for wool felt. But I think you should give it a go and dye it yourself. Good luck!http://www.weefolkstudio.com/

  9. I like your Softies designs for this month – I’m thinking about the theme and might just have a go…. as for feltmaking, I taught myself a few months ago and use mostly natural dyes as I like the shades and getting slightly different results for different dye batches.

  10. Hi. I went looking for wool felt last year. I found http://www.materialobsession.com.au in Sydney I think. Here’s part of a quote from an email I received from them: “The wool comes in a huge range of colours and is 150cm wide. We sell it by the metre for $75, or in 50cm squares for $12 or 25cm squares for $4. “

  11. sashwee@hotmail.com says:

    With animal fibers you can use kool aid for dying. There is an article in the knitty article archives. There are lots of reds to choose from.

  12. What a coincidence! I just read that very same article–isn’t her stuff great?I hope to be back on my pipe cleaners soon with a picture–
    love your site!

  13. Regarding a cauldron for dying, have a look at the giant stock pots you can get cheapish at Asian grocers. The only trouble is trying to fit it on your stove top. I’ve used one for years with Rit dyes and it’s all pretty purple and green inside now.
    Amelia is gorgoeous BTW -but you knew that, right?

  14. You sound just like me, trying everything, learning all sorts of different things. It drives my husband slightly crazy…

  15. I’m stopping by to say hi since it’s de-lurker day… so hi and Happy New Year!

  16. chantal@divaarts.com says:

    Hi Clairea dumb question but did you ever try making your own felt? I have begun recently and its very easy and the most fantastic thing to do. And you can create it to your exact specification that way! I am busy making felt with concentric circles of colour that I planned to make into some cylindrical storage but now they are just too beautiful for me to cut up! Sorry if I’m teaching you to suck eggs 😉 Chantal

  17. All Steiner toys are made with 100% wool felt so you might go to one of the school markets or contact one supplier I can think of – Sandra at Winterwood 9873 7013.

  18. Get a crock pot “cauldron”. If you use Procion MX dyes you can fix them with vinegar for wool and soda ash for cotto and then you can dye both animal and plant based fibers in one go. here is a quick link…http://home.earthlink.net/~skyvieww/sierraspun/crockintro.htm
    This also tells a bit about cool-aid dyeing

  19. Have you ever tried this simple wool felt-making trick: Go to a thrift store like Value Village and buy some old wool sweaters in colours you like. Wash them on hot in the washing machine and then put in the dryer on hot. After this (some wools may require two cycles) the wool becomes really tightly woven and felt-like. You can cut it and it won’t unravel. I think it’s nifty myself.