Our dear friend and felt artist, Jenny Hill, visited with us for a couple of days after attending the Felter’s Fling. Jenny came to our farm three years ago as an intern, to learn as much as she could about homesteading and living off the land, and she left a fiber artist, specializing in felting. With one 2 hour session in my studio, I introduced Jenny to nuno felting, and she has been felting ever since. This past weekend, I introduced her to felting with Gotland curls!
Gotland wool grows in long ringlets of curls from the sheep. Each curl has lovely luster and a silky softness. When processed into batts, Gotland felts quite easily with only a little coaxing with water, soap, and agitation. The washed locks of wool can be felted on top, adding texture and a glossy smooth finish to the wool felt.
Side by side for 36 hours in my studio, we worked with our hands to create this amazing wool coat. With Jenny’s expertise and her custom designed kimono style coat pattern, we created a one-of-a-kind amazing Gotland wool coat. We used fine merino wool, silk, and the curls from our sheep to produce a soft, lustrous, seamless fabric.
We first felted two samples so that we could determine the weight of the fabric and the shrinkage of the wool. Then, we began laying the wool out on our jacket template, which Jenny designed herself. With a 47% shrinkage in our wool sample, the template looked quite large laying on the table. Jenny wanted to experiment, using a “dry felting” technique that she had learned at the Felter’s Fling, so we worked the wool with our hands as we laid it out, creating a firm layer of wool, curls, and silk.
Once all of the wool had been laid on our pattern, we began to work some soap and water into the wool, rubbing with our hands, and finally rolling it. The final fulling stages took place at the wee hours of the night-in time for a morning photo shoot before Jenny had to head back home where she will feature our Gotland coat in her next art show.
Warm greeting to everyone at Keep Calm Craft On.