I recently became interested in felting and purchased a good book called Uniquely Felt by Christine White. This interesting trivet idea was in the beginner section of the book and it seemed like a good gift for a friend so I whipped one up this week. When I say “whipped up”, I really mean that I spent about 2 days on it, but I made the dryer do most of the work!
The process is pretty fun and easy and it’s interesting to see how it comes out because anything you plan in felting doesn’t necessarily come out the way you imagine! To start with, about 1 oz of merino wool roving is laid out in flat sheets. The layers are then rolled into a tube, jellyroll fashion. About 3 more oz of the wool is then laid out repeatedly into thin layers and wrapped around the roll. Once satisfied with the roll, it’s wrapped tightly in tulle and dampened in warm soapy water.
The felting is started by rolling the wool jellyroll back and forth on a shelf liner until it begins to compact and get smaller and harder. More pressure is applied and more rolling is done. The tulle is removed once it’s firm enough to hold together and work the roll. The book recommends doing this by hand for at least 4 hours, if not more. I lasted 20 minutes before my hands were raw and itchy so I switched to a wonderful dryer method that I learned in a recent class. I continued the felting in the dryer for about 4 hours more, checking the roll at 20 minute intervals to make sure it wasn’t getting deformed. I probably should have done a few more hours worth, but it’s hard to tell what you’ve got until it’s cut open.
One the jellyroll was very, very firm, I cut it into disks with a pair of strong scissors and left it to dry overnight. It was still pretty damp the next morning and I needed the finished trivet for a gift by the next day, so I resorted to keeping the wool disks on a rack in my oven with the light on all day. It made my oven smell a bit like wet sheep (which is remarkably similar to wet dog), but it worked like a charm and I was able to sew the disks together into a trivet by late that night. Whew! Nothing like a deadline…