I loved the felting class Clare Brewer led, but needed to find a less energetic version. One way of avoiding the rolling and thumping is knitting to felt, but knitting is still hard for those of us with spoon [energy] and fork [pain] issues. So I was delighted when I came across photos of Carol Cypher’s felt rock [for a write up of her workshop http://recklessbeading.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/bead-and-button-show-2011-part-3.html%5D and thought, hmmm, bet that can be done in the washing machine 😉

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The best bit of felting [to me] is the colour blending so this method makes the most of that.

Choose a prefelt [soft felt squares needlefelters use to embellish, about £3 per 50cm square] some fibres/tops, some rovings [wool that is untreated and will felt at a 40 degree wash AVOID Superwash] and prepare to have fun 🙂

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l cut slits in a 20cm square [feel free to change the size to suit you] and wove the wool/rovings through and then laid some loosely on the top of the prefelt too. The slits seemed to make no difference, so save your wrists!!

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Then l laid pinches of tops/felt fibres over the sheet until it seemed well balanced and interesting – l wanted a rippled effect when the swiss roll was sliced open. lf you want it to be more even, keep your fibres blocky and separate by rolling the prefelt sheet fully round one ‘sausage’ of fibres before moving to the next colour 🙂

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Then I rolled the sheet and all its filling up, trying to roll quite tightly – so l went back and rolled tighter after this photo!

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Next l tied the roll up as if l were tie-dying, so a lot of strings and knots to keep it all together. This was the bit that was most strain on my hands – l have damaged soft tissues from a bad fall and old bone breaks and fibromyalgia pain sneaking in where it can, and your pain will probably need you to pay attention throughout the first time.

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After this you repeat as often as you can, and then the rolls get put in the washer. TO SAVE THE FILTERS please put them in a muslin or net bag, so they can bounce around to be felted, but not clog your machine or the neighbourhood drains!

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I use an organza bag from my Love Knitting orders, but a lingerie washing bag is good too: just tie the bow! Or you too will be chasing 30+ felted pebbles round the fitted sheet when you get the washing out!

I have a setting that is Mini30, a short wash and spin, and it works fine – l get the felting out and then give the rest of the washing an extra spin. l put the towel from a sheet felting session in the wash too, so there was a LOT of washing up liquid helping it all felt, but if you use the washer balls l think that would be enough friction to felt, definitely on a longer wash, as when l wash knitting to felt it has worked. To dry them l leave them on top of a gas fire or radiator – NOT a convector heater!

Meanwhile l hope you had your feet up or took a nap – pacing! Now for the big reveal:

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You need strong wrists and sharp dressmaking shears to cut these rolls open, and if l was making a big batch l would get a friend to do the cutting. Carpet shears or electric scissors would be good – the density is like carpet and the open slice feels like the velvet of new laid wool carpet – all those fibres looking fresh and bright too, really lovely!

I hope this tempts you to have a go, perhaps invite some friends round so you can share costs for the fibres and prefelts, that’s a lot of fun for under £30 and some birthday present possibilities, necklaces, bracelets, embroidery supplies for embellishing cushions etc. Take care of yourselves and keep making!

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