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Topic: raw wool: where do I start?  (Read 701 times)
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santacruzsugar
« on: September 14, 2012 08:01:14 PM »

On a random impulse purchase this afternoon, I got two bags of local, unwashed raw Shetland wool. My idea is to make lots of little felted 1 inch or so balls, then string together and coil to make a rug.

But I don't know where to start. I've never felted before, but I have carded and have the paddles.

Do I need to wash it first? Do I just start carding away?

Once its carded, what do I do?

Thanks so much, I appreciate any feedback, advice or insight!!!!
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2012 06:26:22 AM »

Given that Shetland has a variety of different fleece types ( I personally have used the long, double coated variety -Primative- and the short ever so soft and gorgeous variety, and there is another one that is in between, and I'm sure a few more I don't know about!) Which type did you get? 
I would wash it first.  You will need:
  Mesh bags
  Cheap Bridal Tulle
  Soap - Ph matters!  do not find something with a high alkalinity level, as it will distroy your fleeces.  Old school Dawn Dish Soap is something a lot of people use.  It's blue, and does not have enzymes or power scrubbers, which could possibly also hurt your wool.
  Hot Hot Hot water
  Prefereably 2 or three bigs buckets or coolers. Or your kitchen sink or bath tub.
  Towels

There are two ways to fill you mesh bags with wool, one is willy nilly, just jam it in there and to heck with lock structure.  And the other is to take sections of locks and lay them flat.   Stick a layer of tule over top of the first layer of tule, and add another layer of wool, repeat until it's cumbersome to get anymore wool in there.
Next fill your sink/tub/cooler/whathaveyou, with hot hot water.  There are a few schools on this, It's either so hot you can barely stand it with out gloves, or it's hot enough you wouldn't mind relaxing in it yourself.  I prefer the so stinkin' hot method.  My fleeces come cleaner.  Add your soaponce the tub is full. and only swish to distribute, try not to make bubbles.  A good rule of thumb is if the water feels slimy, you have enough soap. 
Next step, submerge your wool gently! and let sit for 15 minutes.  When that time is up drain you sink and rinse in the second tub.  REfill your first tub, and use about 1/2 as much soap.  Rotate this soapy/rinse tubs cycle probably 3 times, and end with an extra rinse, with a glug of vinegar if you should choose.
Roll up in a towel, and soak up some of the extra water.  Then lay it out to dry. 
When it's dry, card away!
For the felting part, there are a good bunch of [/url=http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=140465.msg1381906#msg1381906]tutorials on Craftster.[/url]

It's a lot of work,  but it's very satisfying to go from fleece to finished item.  Good luck and I hope this is fairly clear!
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