I am getting ready for the Holiday Festival on Saturday. So today I made two more felted fleece rugs (I already have two made). I used two partially felted mioget (golden brown) fleeces from Wilma, one of our Shetland ewes. They are from two different years. I had already washed and carded the moorit (chocolate brown) fleece of Huey and the mioget katmoget (cream) fleece of Jemima into batts.
The first step is assembling the work space. I used a plywood board covered with a tarp propped on the corner railing of our back porch. I have an old washer tub near by for rinsing and can run a hose of hot water from our laundry room through the back door. Otherwise all I need is dish soap and a net shower curtain. Here is the board all set up.
The fleece is then skirted and then scrunched tightly together but still flat with the cut surface up. Then batts are placed. Two layers are perpendicular to each other. Here is the first layer on and the second layer halfway on to show the fiber directions.
Then I added the net shower curtain, dish soap and hot water. I slowly began rubbing my hands on this, felting the batts. I slowly added more pressure as well as more hot water and soap for 10 minutes.
Then I carefully flipped it over and felted the lock side for 10 minutes. I did 5 minutes with the net on and five with the net off. You need to dig your fingers into the base of the locks to try to felt them to the batts,
Then I folded it up, placed it on the porch floor and stomped the dirty water and suds out. I then put the rug in the metal tub and soaked it twice in hot water until I got the dirt and suds all out. I stomped it again and then used the spin cycle of the washed to get the rest of the water out. I then repeated this whole process with the second fleece. The two rugs are now drying. Once they are dry I will need to address any poorly felted areas, usually with needle felting.
I learned how to do this from Leigh Abernathy on Dirty Fleece, done dirt cheap’s Facebook page.
So now I am exhausted. This is a lot of hard work, and I doubt I am being adequate reimbursed for it. But this is a good use for the wool I have that is not great for spinning. And it is a way for these sheep to help pay for their upkeep.