Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Back to Alpaca #2

Now for my second alpaca rug :)  This one is made from the coarser parts of the brown fibre.. the leg and neck hair which is shorter and hairier.

Cutting the design from white commercial prefelt
Using the box picker.. close-up of the 'out tray'
Finished batts.. I made 6 really thick, dense ones.
I used my new drum (thank yiu Classic Carders :) for these,
with the extra long pins so I got really fat batts!
Worked upside down again.. laying my prefelt design straight on to
the bubble wrap - back to front so it would be the right way round on the finished rug
Covered with batts.. then a layer of purple cotton scrim on top
Folding the wetted edge over the scrim
Partway through.  The design was incorporating really well.. 
see the brown fibres creeping through?  There was still quite a long way to go at this point.
I worked this rug in exactly the same way as the white rug.. being careful to ease out any wrinkles before they could get set in (the white one didn't try to wrinkle, for some reason this did).  I needed to be careful that the design didn't wrinkle too.. my felting needle helped here.

I did have a panicked moment when I took it out of the washing machine (cool rinse & spin only).. it had become insanely hairy, the design was almost obscured by it.  My initially moderate panic was made worse by my lovely husband :) being convinced that I had ruined it!  I forced myself to stay calm and proceeded to SHAVE the rug.. I have never needed or wanted to shave my felt before.. but boy did this piece need it.  I didn't take photos at this point, but really wish I had now.  I carefully shaved the whole front surface of the rug using a new, and very sharp, stanley knife blade.  Several hours and aching fingers later..

Finished.. very slightly shorter than the white rug,
but a little wider and thicker - this one is just over 1cm thick
Another Nordic petroglyph inspired piece..


For the two rugs, taking both directions into account it averages out at 30%
For this one it was 28% in length x 33% width

I was wondering why the shrinkage rate was greater in the rugs than in the sample and trivets... I think it's because I folded the edges in on the rugs thereby reducing the size more than if I'd left the edges natural (the edges of the sample and trivets were not folded in).


At one point there was a possibility of me getting 15 whole alpaca fleeces.. which I was a little unsure quite where I was going to store them and just how I would manage to get through them (though I'm sure I could of found good homes for a few of them :)  Luckily my sister in law has found a buyer, so I can take my time and finish these 2 off as and when I fancy.

Just to finish off I wanted to share with you these gorgeous flowers 

Aren't they lovely?  I love sunflowers and snap dragons -
and this is the first time anybody has given them to me :)
These were a gift from Gill - local blog reader and new friend - who came for a visit this Monday to talk felt, eat cake and drink tea.. we chatted like we had known each other for years it was lovely :) 




I absolutely love the brown rug best.. Love the design too. Does it have a meaning??? Does your friend Gill have a blog??? You Sunflower are gorgeous. Hugs Judy

Unknown said...

Well done! My that's a lot of work, and I can appreciate what you've done!! To do a large piece thick enough for a rug...whew!! Both rugs are very nice!!

zenitude said...

That rug is fantastic! Thanks so much for the inspiration, I would love to attempt making one of those for myself!

Terriea Kwong said...

Your two samples are gorgeous. Simply neat and nice. What's the word or symbol of the prefelt? Looks some meaning. Thanks for explaining the box pinotcker. Sounds interesting I imagine how it works.

Gill said...

Thanks for a fab time Deborah - I'm pleased the flowers are so happy in your lovely home! I had forgotten to ask about the box picker and so much more - the alpaca rugs are wonderful and well worth the effort - although it's easy for me to say as I didn't have to do the work...!

FeltersJourney said...

Thanks folks :)

CJ & Terrie, the design was inspired by images of Nordic petroglyph's found on Pinterest. I love the stylized longships.. unfortunately I couldn't find information where exactly they were from.

CJ, Gill doesn't have a blog :)

You are welcome Terrie, I'm pretty sure there are videos on youtube of people using box pickers too..

Nancy, I think I get 'rug shoulder' (as opposed to tennis elbow) from doing them.. I'm still planning more though lol.

Zenitude you should absolutely go for it! That would be fantastic to have a rug made from the fleeces of your own alpacas'! Imagine the designs you could do with all the different colours..

Gill you'll have to come again to catch up on the bits we didn't get round to :)

Heather Woollove said...

Deborah--It's a huge undertaking (such a large and thick rug!) and a really wonderful design. I'll be curious to see how it 'wears' underfoot! XX

Terriea Kwong said...

Thank you Deborah for the explanation. Just watched YouTube how the box picker works. You're very professional to have all the equipment.

FeltersJourney said...

Ah Terry :) The picker isn't mine, it belongs to a friend who loaned it to me! xx

Heather your not kidding :) I thought about starting another one a few days ago and my shoulders twinged just thinking about doing it again lol.

It should wear well I think, I've seen quite a few felters in the US, who also keep alpaca, felting the coarser hair into rugs.. so I'm guessing it must be tough enough. xx

Abigail Thomas said...

Yeah I had to shave felt before when I mixed long and short fibres, used a bic razor, was great! Love your design and how the rug turned out. How much did the alpaca shrink? X

FeltersJourney said...

Thanks Abigail :) I searched high and low for a bic razor (know I used to have one just incase) but couldn't find it.. I'm sure it would of been easier to use than a stanley blade :)

Glad you asked.. I'd forgotten to include the shrinkage info! Over the 2 rugs / both directions it averaged out at 30%. And I just noticed a mistake on this post too.. it's not an inch thick it's a cm thick. Going back to make changes right now.