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felting-msg - 11/16/99

 

Felting and fulling of cloth. “Waulking”.

 

NOTE: See also the files: washing-msg, wool-clean-msg, wool-hist-msg, raingear-msg, weaving-msg, spinning-msg, weaving-lnks, weaving-msg, textiles-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

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Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: haslock at rust.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock)

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.textiles,rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Weaving a rain cloak

Date: 4 Nov 1993 18:10:41 GMT

Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation - DECwest Engineering

Keywords: weaving, rain cloak

 

Greetings from Fiacha

 

There was thread on the Celtic list not so long ago about waulking songs. These

are songs sung while felting woolen cloth. Tradition has it that this was

womens work and only opened to men in Nova Scotia in the last 100 years.

 

However, one felts the cloth before cutting it simply because there is no

guarantee that it will shrink to exactly the size you expect. My suggestion is

that you clear a table and cover it was a plastic sheet. Also expect puddles

to form on the floor. Spread the cloth out on the table and call up as many

friends as can comfortably work at the table. Saturate the wool and add a

lubricant/degreasing agent. The traditional agent is stale urine but flakes

of pure soap may be more acceptable to you and your friends. Knead the frabric

for a couple of hours, then rinse it and let it dry.

 

Also look up references to fulling as well as felting.

 

To raise a nap, you need to comb the surface with teasels or an equivalent. An

equivalent is the sticky half of a piece of velcro.

 

                                                                                 Fiacha

 

 

From: priest at vaxsar.vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: fulling

Date: 9 Nov 93 09:01:11 +1000

Organization: Vikings R Us

 

Unto the Fishyfolk of the Rialto, greeting from Thora Sharptooth!

 

Marke (uccxdem at mvs.ucc.okstate.edu) asked:

 

>How was fulling done? The question is in

>reference to the diggings of 13th-15th century garbage site in

>England(?). Some of the examples of garb from the site were dagged

>without the raw edges being sewn or hemmed. The cloth was supposidely

>fulled. Does anyone know what the process of fulling is?

 

Fulling is what you do to freshly-woven cloth to make it compact.  The dags

you've seen pictured in the Museum of London book were cut into well-fulled

woolen cloth, that is, cloth that was so compacted that it was not prone to

ravel.  This was a well-known and desirable property in later medieval wollen

cloths.  Some modern woolens will act the same way, if you cut them.

 

And Ian MacLure (maclure at eos.arc.nasa.gov) replied:

 

>Fulling, if I remember correctly was the process by which woolen

>garments were dry cleaned prior to the chemical era. It involved

>Fuller's Earth ( Diatomaceous Earth ) and a great deal of heaving

>and thumping. Diatomaceous Earth by the way is composed of the

>skeletons of microscopic prehistoric beasties.

>If you are discussing making of cloth ( wool ) perhaps you mean

>"Milling" rather than "Fulling". Tweed is "milled" or used to be

>in days past. Milling basically involves thumping the cloth back

>and forth across a sturdy table for hours at a time.

 

"Milling" is a term used for fulling because fulling was accomplished, in the

High Middle Ages and beyond, at fulling mills.  Fulling before that period was

accomplished (often in a large workshop setting) without benefit of machinery.

"Fulling" is the more precise term, from a medieval textile perspective.

 

Wool fulling in period involved working the cloth wet with fuller's earth or

urine (provides a "soapy" feel from the alkalinity).  Warmth, moisture, and

friction causes wool to shrink and felt together--it's why you can't machine

wash and dry most cloaks.  At Eastern Crown Tourney last week I handled a

lovely piece of wool cloth that had been fulled with urine and hard labor by

Lord Dyfan ab Iago; it had a deliciously luxurious texture and absolutely no

smell of anything objectionable.

 

Anyone who's interested in more information, please send me e-mail.

 

*****************************************************************************

Carolyn Priest-Dorman                                                                         Thora Sharptooth

Poughkeepsie, NY                                                                             Frosted Hills ("where's that?")

priest at vassar.edu                                                                         East Kingdom

            Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or

*****************************************************************************

 

 

From: bloodthorn at sloth.equinox.gen.nz (Jennifer Geard)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: fulling

Date: Tue, 09 Nov 93 23:15:22 GMT

Organization: Lethargy Inc.

 

Greetings from Pagan.

 

Marke asks about fulling:

 

Fulling is part of the process of turning fabric off the loom into wearable

cloth.  It involves shrinking and (in the period to which you refer) felting

the cloth, usually by agitating or pummelling it in a solution of fullers'

earth, urine, or lye.  (You also need to stretch the fabric, raise the nap,

and shear it.)  The density and feltedness of the resulting cloth prevent it

from fraying when cut in dags.

________________________________________________________________________

Jennifer Geard                         bloodthorn at sloth.equinox.gen.nz

Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: fulling

Date: 10 Nov 1993 10:19:03 -0500

Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto

 

Whenever I have a piece of wool that is destined to be made into

mediaeval or renaissance clothing, I give it a wash or two in hot

water in the washing machine (and the hot water in my building is

really good and hot).  It produces a reasonable facsimile of fulling;

and is especially useful in any fabric which you will want to stretch.

 

Aryk

 

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: motto at cbnewsf.cb.att.com (mary.rita.otto)

Subject: Fulling

Organization: AT&T

Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1993 04:38:47 GMT

 

 

Fulling is a process done to woven goods to stabilize the fabric before

it is sewn.  It can be done for any fiber, not just wool.  When the

strands are woven, it is helpful if they can pass each other in the

loom without rubbing.  This spacing then acts to make the fabric

unstable (to a degree varying with the spacing) when the weaving is

completed.  Seamstresses may be familiar with fabric in which the

grain is not straight.  Such fabric was likely woven straight but

not stablized properly.

 

Fulling is not the same as felting.  Fulling without felting can be

accomplished as was.  Fulling was done frequently by WALKING over the

finished fabric.  In fact, Fuller and Walker are both surnames which

come from that same occupation because walking was the way it was done.

When you walk on the fabric, you rub the fibers across and against

one another and tiny surface fibers twist into each other and bind

the strands in place.  It is sort of like the way "pills" build up

on your clothes, only it is done on purpose, and takes place on the

insides of the fabric rather than the outside.

 

Felting is a process which causes the fibers to merge into each other

through a combination of shrinkage and the intermeshing of fibers

due to friction.

 

Yours in Service,

Rosaline Weaver

(Note the nifty new Surname!)

MKA Mary Otto

 

 

From: haslock at rust.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Fulling

Date: 12 Nov 1993 19:46:56 GMT

Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation - DECwest Engineering

 

 

Greetings from Fiacha,

 

While I am glad the subject is being talked about, I could wish for some more

reliable data for the answers.

 

Marian of Clan Kyle seems to assume that the purpose of fulling was to

prevent the cut cloth from fraying. I seriously doubt that this was the case.

Fraying is prevented by adding a sewn hem, even on a seam.

 

According to Webster, fulling is a term that applies only to wollen cloth.

This is emminently reasonable since wool is the only natural fiber that can

be turned into felt and the felting process is what fulling is all about.

 

Applying a similar process to linen would result in a thinner, softer fabric.

Silk would be unaffected.

 

The fibers of wool, unlike any other, have microscopic scales. The heat and

lubricants cause the scales to open (like a dry pinecone). The movement of

the fibres caused by the kneading of the fabric encourages the fibers to

adopt their relaxed form (short and twisty rather than long and straight).

The open scales lock onto open scales in adjacent fibers. When the fabric

cools and the lubricants are rinsed away, the scales try to close again.

The scales that are interlocked, hold fibers together.

 

Linen is made of vegetable fibers that are built up in rings like the grain of

a tree trunk. Unlike a tree trunk, the outer rings are more brittle than the

inner rings. Abusing linen causes the out, brittle, rings to shatter and

separate from the inner more flexible fiber. Lubricants allow the shards to

work out of the cloth. Thus, washing linen results in thinner more flexible

fibers and so thinner more flixible cloth. However, the fibers need moisture

to be flexible. Ironing creases into linen and storing the result in a dry

place will break fibers when the cloth is unfolded.

 

Silk can be thought of as a natural plastic with its own unique set of handling

rules.

 

I would like to talk about finishing cloth, but I do not know enough about the

subject. I know that most of the books on weaving instruct the weaver to

wash the cloth when it is taken off the loom. I suspect that this is to allow

any unevenness in the tension of the various threads to work itself out.

However, this is not the same as fulling.

 

As a final note, one of the books I read asserted that there were between 9 and

50 trades involved in the production of cloth in the 15th century. Fulling was

only one of them (one of these days, I would like to find out what they all

were).

 

I noted a while ago the Waulkin songs of the Scots. I would suggest that this

is the the Gaelic term for fulling and that Walker is derived from it. I do

not believe that fulling was ever achieved by merely walking on the cloth. As

usual, you are requested to prove me wrong so that I can learn something new.

 

Fiacha

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: motto at cbnewsf.cb.att.com (mary.rita.otto)

Subject: Re: Fulling

Organization: AT&T

Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1993 22:50:47 GMT

 

Fiacha had said about fulling:

 

>According to Webster, fulling is a term that applies only to wollen cloth.

>This is emminently reasonable since wool is the only natural fiber that can

>be turned into felt and the felting process is what fulling is all about.

>

 

I would beg to differ on that.  I have, for example, a fine Beaver Felt

hat.  Wool is not the only fiber which can be felted.

 

The microscopic fiber structure of wool is not as important as the

macroscopic spun texture of the yarns actually woven.  It is the tangling

of exterior fiber strands which takes place in fulling, and with a

spun fiber, even a linen, this can take place.  (Linen has wonderfully

long fibers).  Multiple fibers must be spun together to make yarn of

any length longer than the cut plant material or sheared hair, wool,

fur, orlon pelt, whatever.  It is the overlaps between the individual

spun fibers, and their ends, sticking out of the yarn like little hairs

that bind to each other in the fulling process.

 

>Applying a similar process to linen would result in a thinner, softer fabric.

 

Not necessarily.  Getting the fibers to bind to each other in a cross-wise

manner may in fact stiffen the fabric.  We are not breaking down the

individual fibers, we are entangling the fuzzy fiber ends.

 

>Silk would be unaffected.

Again, I must disagree.  Silk, like the others, is spun of multiple fibers

can is affected similarly. Further, you can't have worked with silk

or you would know how easily it pills and binds to itself when strands

rub across each other.  That, I believe, is related to the fine-ness of

the spun fibers which means there are more ends to interact, and more

chances for an individual fiber to break and create more ends to

entangle and bind.

 

>I would like to talk about finishing cloth, but I do not know enough about the

>subject. I know that most of the books on weaving instruct the weaver to

>wash the cloth when it is taken off the loom. I suspect that this is to allow

>any unevenness in the tension of the various threads to work itself out.

>However, this is not the same as fulling.

>

 

No.  This would be the same as "blocking".  The blocking is a process

of washing away skin oils and any surface dirt from the finished work,

and allowing any natural minor shrinkage to occur.  It is normally

done in cold water to avoid shrinkage, but to allow the fibers to

relax, since they were under tension during the weaving process.  Some

fabrics, however, are not so treated.  Fulling is a further process

which becomes more useful and important as fewer threads per inch

are used and the instabilities between thread becomes proportionately

more important.

 

 

As for the origin of Walker and the walking method of fulling, I will

have to go back to the library to find that reference.

 

Rosaline Weaver

Shire of Rokkehealdon

MK

MKA Mary Otto

 

 

 

From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Fulling

Date: 13 Nov 1993 02:50:56 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley

 

In article <CGEI4n.2Do at cbfsb.cb.att.com>,

mary.rita.otto <motto at cbnewsf.cb.att.com> wrote:

>

>I would beg to differ on that. I have, for example, a fine Beaver Felt

>hat.  Wool is not the only fiber which can be felted.

>

>>Applying a similar process to linen would result in a thinner, softer fabric.

>

>Not necessarily.  Getting the fibers to bind to each other in a cross-wise

>manner may in fact stiffen the fabric.  We are not breaking down the

>individual fibers, we are entangling the fuzzy fiber ends.

>

>>Silk would be unaffected.

>Again, I must disagree.  Silk, like the others, is spun of multiple fibers

>can is affected similarly. Further, you can't have worked with silk

 

If I might suggest a small reality-check for the theory that linen and

silk undergo the same reactions as wool in a "fulling environment",

take a length each of woolen, linen, and silk fabrics; toss them in the

washing machine; add soap and hot water; agitate strongly. I guarantee you

that the woolen fabric will shrink up, become thicker and more felt-like,

and generally assume a fulled appearance. The linen fabric will become

(slightly) softer. The silk - well, it depends on the fabric (i.e., raw

versus processed, etc.). It will probably become slightly softer. It

will _not_ "felt-up" to any degree whatsoever. (The only guaranteed effect

is that the color will probably run.)

 

These observations are not based on theory, but on long-time observation

of what actual fabrics do in my washing machine. The post that claimed

that only wool could be fulled was a little off - only _animal_ fibers

can be fulled, due to the microscopic nature of the fibers, as previously

noted. Other fibers can merely be washed.

 

Keridwen f. Morgan Glasfryn

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: augment at world.std.com (Michael Bergman)

Subject: Re: Fulling

Organization: The World Public Access UNIX, Brookline, MA

Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1993 19:56:39 GMT

 

I believe that "Waulking" refers to a process where the women sit

around a tub of hot water, pulling and folding and generally bashing

the fabric with their hands, rather than literally walking on the

cloth.  As the previous poster mentioned, heat and moisture are also

essential parts of the process -- if you laid out a bolt of cloth on

the ground, even after dunking it in boiling water, it would rapidly

get cold, if not dry -- not to mention dirty!

 

Fulling is done to woven wool cloth, and causes the fibers to felt

together, increasing the strength, thickness, and warmth of the cloth.

 

Felting is done to wool fibers, and some others (under special

circumtances), producing cloth in the process, which is not woven, and

is referred to as felt.  Felt does not usually have a grain, as woven

goods do.  Felt is generally not as strong as an equal thickness of

woven fabric, but you can do odd things to it, such as stretching it to

make hats, which you cannot do with woven fabric.

 

The (modern) books on felting that I've looked at recomend the use of

a washing machine as a way to subject the fibers to heat, moisture,

and being beaten, without having to do all that work yourself.  Some

weavers I know use it similarly to full their cloth when they've

finished weaving it.

 

--Harald Longfellow

(not claiming to be expert; just possesed of a dangerous thing)

Note that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

--

--Mike Bergman                                                                              Voice: (617) 271-0230

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: lhorvath at badlands.NoDak.edu (Lorine S Horvath)

Subject: felting failure

Date: Fri, 26 May 1995 22:04:23 GMT

Organization: North Dakota Higher Education Computing Network

 

In felting shoes Lady Akatiaryna and I have found that it is important to

start out by pressing the layers together until they start to stick, and

then beginning to rub them.  We havent done any large pieces, only

pouches and shoes, but we plan to do cloaks later this summer (early

period Scottish - rectangular felted cloaks).  We use 3 or 4 layers of

wool for the shoes, and they come out between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.  

We'd love to hear how your rug turns out, as we have no experience

felting large areas, and plan to do so.  

 

Fiona ni Cai

 

 

From: beth.appleton at lunatic.com (Beth Appleton)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: felting in N. europe in 600s?

Date: 13 Jan 96 19:49:00 GMT

Organization: The Lunatic Fringe BBS - Richardson, Tx - (214) 235-5288

 

-> good history of felting?  The sources I have are enough to suggest

-> that felting was done, but they give no specific examples or

-> reference any specific finds.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

If you don't mind a single entry of pre-period felt,

_Pictoral_History_of_Embroidery_ by Schuette & Miller has a picture of a

appliqued felt Scythian .... something.  Saddle blanket? I forget what

it is precisely.

 

Gwenllian Cwmystwyth

----

The Lunatic Fringe * Richardson, TX * 214-235-5288 * Home Of FringeNet

 

 

Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 20:22:27 -0500

From: theodelinda at webtv.net (linda webb)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: waulking (really long!)

 

I found my source, and it didn't even take a week, as I had expected.

It is, however, about the last place you'd look for information on

textiles!

 

_The Traditional and National Music of Scotland_  by Francis Collinson,

Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville  1966.  From the chapter on

Gaelic working songs, beginning on p. 67:

 

     "Of the communal type of labour song, by far the commonest is for

the shrinking or 'waulking' of the newly woven cloth.  The waulking of

the cloth was a frequent task in the old days, and it required many

songs for the work of shrinking a piece of cloth to the proper

consistency, so much so that we find songs which were apparently

composed for other tasks such as rowing or reaping, impressed into its

service to swell the numbers.

 

     The manner of waulking the cloth has often enough been described.

from six to twelve women sit round a narrow table--which as often as not

is a barn door taken off its hinges and laid on trestles or other

supports for the purpose.  the web of newly woven cloth, which has been

steeping in a tub of special solution--in the old days hot urine was

used--is taken out and laid wet on the table; and the two ends are sewn

together so as to form a continuous band.  The women grasp the cloth

with both hands and pass it slowly round the table in a leftwise motion,

that is, _sunwise_ (deiseil is the Gaelic word) with a rhythmic

thumping.  The direction of movement is signifigant, for the importance

of performing all circular movements or progressions in a sunwise

direction is deeply rooted in folk belief.  The actual four-movement

sequence by which the cloth is made to travel round the table seems to

differ slightly in different islands.   As the writer remembers seeing

it, it was as follows; _one,_ the cloth is grasped in front of the

sitter and thumped on the table where it lies; _two,_ it is pushed

outwards towards the centre of the table and thumped on the table at the

end of stroke; _three,_ it is brought back to the first position close

to the sitter, again with a thump; _four,_ the cloth is passed to the

left with a final thump and there released.  The first and thrid thumps

are more strongly accented than the second and fourth, making a

vigorous, strongly accented rhythm, a rhythm which becomes strangely

mesmeric in its insistence.  After a minute or so, this THUMP, thump,

THUMP, thump, THUMP, thump, THUMP, thump, becomes as exciting as an

African drum beat. Then the leader begins to sing, and the chorus chime

in with the refrain.  The leader tells the story of the poem and often

follows on to take the first part of the refrain herself, and the chorus

chime in with the rest of the refrain, the whole melody unwinding itself

into a cyclical tune suited for endless repetition. The accents of the

thumping coincide with the accents of the music to start with, but many

of the tunes are cunningly constructed with an extra beat to the last

bar to throw the accent on the _off-beat_ the second time round, like a

Gaelic 'rock-and-roll' rhythm, a feature that adds spice to the music

and the performance.  The women sing these songs with a curiously

incisive, rather harsh quality of chest-voice that is characteristic of

the waulking and which one does not readily hear in their other songs.

 

     In former times the waulking of the cloth was done with the feet,

by sitting on the ground and agitating it with kicking movements.  To

this last type of waulking it is said that the menfolk were barred!"

 

    The references Collinson cites are:

The MacCormick Collection of Waulking Songs, John L. Campbell and

Francis Collinson--Clarendon Press

Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist by Margaret Fay Shaw

Father Allen's Island, by Amy Murray

I apologize for the length of this post, but it is so good a

description, and so evocationof both the operation and the music, that I

couldn't bare to paraphrase it.  I recommend Collinson to anyone

interested in Scottish music, although he makes it very plain that

little definite is known about the music of that country in the SCA

period.  

 

   Theo

 

 

Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 10:49:47 -0400 (EDT)

From: Sandra.Skog at CCIW.ca

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: fulling reference

 

For those who were interested in a reference for fulling cloth:

 

The Final Steps: Traditional Methods and Contemporary Applications for

Finishing Cloth by Hand

 

Beverly Gordon, Interweave Press, Loveland Colorado, 1982

ISBN 0-934026-076

 

The book is small (approx 40 pages) but is quite interesting.  The first

part discusses traditional methods (fulling, bleaching and setting, napping

and cropping, rubbing, pressing, glazing) and the second part discusses

contemporary applications.

 

ta, Etaoin

 

 

Date: Fri, 05 Sep 1997 11:45:37 -0600

From: Nancy Lynch <lughbec at info2000.net>

To: SCA-ARTS LIST <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Waulking

 

Waulking:  In my limited capacity as a historic costumer and singer of

Gaelic songs I have learned that waulking is a term used to describe a

type of treatment of wool cloth.  The wool is woven into a long cloth

and then the two ends are sewn together making a large circle of

fabric.  The cloth is then wet down (sometimes with hot water or urine,

as I understand it) and the women gather around a large table and each

grab a section of the cloth.  It is common for them to then sing a song

together in 4/4 time (a waulking song)- grab the cloth on the first

beat, bang it on the table on the second beat, bang it again on the

third beat, and pass it on to the person on the right on the fourth

beat.  This just keeps "waulking" around the circle of women until the

cloth is "fulled".  This fulling process mats the fibers together, which

being wool fibers are slightly barbed and catch one another to make a

tight and water repellant cloth.

 

The songs sung for this purpose are much like sailing songs to my ear.

They are working songs that keep up a rhythm that makes you want to join

in and work along with everyone else.:-)

 

Sonas ort! (Happiness on you!)

Lughbec

 

 

Date: Sat, 06 Sep 1997 01:45:30 -0700

From: Brett and Karen Williams <brettwi at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: irons and linen use/abuse

 

Waulking is a word used to describe a method of fulling. Fulling is not the same

as felting. Felting, fulling and waulking are all wool cloth finishing processes

that are dependent on the physical nature of the hair shaft as grown by the

sheep. There has been some discussion of the difference between 'felting' and

'fulling' on several of the non-sca fiber lists this week, which I'm going to

shamelessly co-opt (not copy, merely cycle through the mothy brain here!). But

first, the background stuff:

 

The hair shaft on a wool strand has a number of little barbs that stick out from

the barrel. When the wool hair comes into contact with heat, those little barbs

open up. Add soap, water and even a minimum of agitation, the barbs will draw in

and 'lock' to themselves.  Once the barbs close, a non-woven fabric forms from

layers of wool.  The layers can be woven from woolen thread/yarn or carded batts

of puffy wool laid across each other (true felt). Anyone ever made the boo-boo of washing a woolen suit jacket in the washing machine and discovered it now fits the baby?

 

Back a while ago I wrote this long bit to the list on the difference between

woolen and worsted wool threads. Generally, woolen yarn/thread in cloth makes for more likelihood of felt than worsted when the four conditions above are met. A fulled cloth woven from a worsted yarn will 'bloom', making the yarn fill out the

empty bits between woven interstices of warp and weft. It also makes the cloth

shrink a bit (though not as much in relation to felt from from a woolen), softer

and the woven structure a little less obvious. You're on your way to felt, but

not far down the path by a long shot. And since worsted is spun with all the

little hairy ends encased within the thread, there's less loose barbs out there

to bind and shrink on themselves.

 

Linen has no such barb along its shaft. Therefore, it is structurally incapable

of forming felt, just like any of the other bast fibers. On the other hand, this

morning I found out that when saliva is used to wet linen, it actually dissolves

the fiber slightly and forms a self-glue-- which would make for a stronger and

smoother thread (see the bit about wet-spun and the lower lip deformity in my

earlier stuff posted today). Barber is littered with a number of pictures of

Egyptian linen-plyers and Greek spinners with their yarn/thread in their mouths--yecch!-- and there's any number of surviving antique spinning wheels around with a little cup for water attached prominently and within easy reach of the spinner. I wonder if the method was to dip the fingers into the water, or whether the water was used to moisten the spinner's mouth as she ran linen through her lips?

 

So, waulking is only done to a worsted wool cloth. If one made tartan from a

hairy, fuzzy woolen yarn, and then subjected it to the famous four combined with

Appropriate Cool Waulking Song (Faca sibh Raghaill na Ailein, anyone?), you'd end

up with a piece of felt with a mostly indeterminate pattern, which would defeat

the labor spent in all that careful counting of warp/weft in one's tartan sett.

The word "waulking" is a specific Scottish word that I have realized I don't know

for sure if it's Scots [most likely] or Gaelic, though it's now commonly applied

to a type of working Gaelic song in addition to the process used to full tartan

cloth. Incidentally, waulking cloth died out in the middle of the twentieth

century in Scotland; Harris Tweed is machine fulled these days, even though it's

handwoven by crofters in the home. Scuttlebutt has it that the croft weavers are

being encouraged right now to change their looms to a new type to increase

productivity...

 

ciorstan

 

 

Date: Tue, 09 Sep 1997 13:35:29 -0700 (PDT)

From: <ch_rosen at hotmail.com>

To: SCA-ARTS at UKANS.EDU

Subject: Re: Waulking

 

Waulking is the same thing as fulling. The word is used in Scandinavian

languages (Norwegian *valking*, Swedish *valkning*). Waulking can be

anything from simply "walking" or rather trampling on the cloth, which

is immersed in warm water, sometimes with soap or urine added, to more

big-scale waulking with water-powered machinery. This machinery uses

wooden "hammers" to work the cloth. Some of this is still in existence,

or has been reconstructed, in Sweden today and is being used by eg.

textile artists.

Since the word exists in all Scandinavian languages as well as in

English (Scottish?) - might it not have been brought to the British

Isles with the Vikings? Only my guess, though!

 

Christina

 

 

Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997 15:13:47 +0930

From: "Melinda Shoop" <mediknit at nwinfo.net>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Cleaning fabrics in ancient times

 

There is a book, which I have not personally

read which may give you the answer you are looking for about fabric

cleaning processes in antiquity.  I don't know the ISBN, but it is:

Studies in Ancient Technology, ed.Brill,Vol 4, Fibres and Fabrics of

Antiquity; Washing, Bleaching, Fulling and Felting; Dyes and Dyeing;

Spinning and Sewing, Basketry and Weaving.  This is all contained in one

volume.  The book is available from Archetype Books, 6 Fitzroy Square,

London W1P 6DX England.  Telephone is 44 171 380 0800. This book appeared

as available for purchase in the company's Jan 1997 catalog for 47.50

pounds.  It is a part of a series.  Hope you can find this one!  Good Luck!

 

Fiametta

 

 

Subject: Felt Making and History Book, includes Yurtmaking

Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 15:36:17 -0400

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

Organization: Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia, and the GDH

To: stefan at texas.net, ddfr at best.com, sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

 

There is a new book on feltmaking on the market since 1996.

 

FELT ~ New Directions for an Ancient Craft, by Gunilla Paetau Sjoberg,

 

translated by Patricia Spark. Interweave Press, 201 East Fourth Street,

Loveland, CO 80537 USA. Translation of: Tova. ISBN: 1-883010-17-9. Mine

was $25 plus tax. 152 pages, many illus- trations, including diagrams

and color and b&w photos.

 

This is a fairly comprehensive book on felt and not one of the New Age

yuppie craft modern art waste your money type books. This author went

to some length to research her material. The result is a great overview

of history from multiple cultures (including mongolian) and techniques.

 

Historical felt discoveries are included from the norse to the Scythians

in S.W.Siberia. Techniques are fairly complete.

 

Includes clothing, hats and caps, socks and boots, slippers and

mittens, purses, childrens' goods, and feltmaking and embroidery of

the asian nomads (about 10 very detailed pages). The feltmaking for

yurts section answered some of the questions I had been seeking

answers for such as how well the wool is cleaned before felting. This

is the best set of illustrations of feltmaking I think is in print.

Actually shows more than one technique. There are several I know of.

 

It also shows techniques for bending the hana pieces and drilling them

and explains how the red color for the wood is obtained. I've been

researching yurts and have seen this no where else. While the

construction techniques for the door and crown (sky door) are not

explained there are some good illustrations. This person did her

homework. Attended a feltmaking party. Illustrates some of the rope

tie making technique. Does not show the weaving of the decorative bands.

Does show the stitching of door mat and rugs. Excellent bibliography,

some in other languages unfortunately.

 

M. Magnus Malleus, Atlantia and the GDHorde

 

 

Subject: felt and the SCA (fwd)

Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 14:28:59 -0500 (EST)

From:  Sara Harless <evaine at glenmar.com>

To:  A&S List <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

 

Unto the arts and sciences oriented gentles of this list, do I forward

the attached message. Sue is an *excellent* instructor, has written much

about felt, and is highly regarded in the felting community. I joined

the feltmakers list for information on felting. Sue and the rest of the

felters have been *most* helpful and sharing.

 

Her generous offer to come teach would be most applicable to large

gatherings such as kingdom A&S events, wars, etc. Please contact her at

her email for further information.

 

Evaine of Rivenstar

 

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Sat, 27 Jun 98 12:04:35 PDT

From: Sue Pufpaff <feltlady at mvcc.com>

To: Feltmakers List <feltmakers at peak.org>

Subject: felt and the SCA

 

For all you SCA people out there ( and anyone else who might be

interested), I have just purchased a reproduction Mongolian tent (yurt).

The current model does not yet have a felt covering but it will have

felt

walls by the end of the summer.  If anyone it interested in sponsoring

a series of classes at the location of your choise, I will transport the

yurt and all supplies needed to teach classes on various felting

techniques, both ancient and modern within the yurt. Class size will

need to be no greater than 8 but once the yurt is set up, a series of

classes can be taught at one location.

 

If interested, contact:

Sue Pufpaff

5038 E. Quimby Rd

Nashville, MI 49074

1-517-852-1870

or

feltlady at mvcc.com

 

 

From: "sunshinegirl" <sunshinegirl at steward-net.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: felting

Date: 22 Jul 98 04:52:01 GMT

Organization: Southwestern Bell Internet Services, Richardson, TX

 

DOROTHY HESS STUHR <dorathea at home.com> wrote:

> I am interested in felting. And would like to know if it was done in

> Europe , Norse or Celtic cultures, by women. Small projects. Can

> anyone help? Thank you.

 

The thread on ghers just had a posting on how to felt a rug and tent.  I

have done balls and slippers, but nothing else.  According to _Felting by

Hand_ by Anne Einset Vickrey, the oldest evidence of the use of felt is in

Turkey, dating back to 6300 B.C.; the earliest felt found in Scandinavia

dates to the Iron Age; felt sheets dating to 500 A.D. have been found in

graves in Norway; Icelandic sagas mention the use of felt, and the Romans

and Greeks used felt.  If you email me, I will send you some basic

directions based on what I have done.

 

 

Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 08:29:30 PDT

From: "T Cardy" <otterbabi at hotmail.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Working with wool

 

I have felted wool from old blankets, wool skirts etc... to make hats

and mittens and stuff.  Look for book on fabric embellishment at your

local fabric store - Singer, Taunton press and a variety of other

publishers have recently put out books with felting information and

techniques.

 

The techniques basically involves washing the felt with soap (not

laundry detergent) and forcing the fibers to fluff up and become

entangled with their neighbors.  Be sure to try small swatches before

you try to felt your entire piece - you may be surprised at how much (or

how little) your fabric shrinks in the process.

 

T. Van Vlear

 

 

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 20:55:30 EDT

From: <CKONOW at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Working with wool

 

Greetings all...when I've done felt from unwoven wool, I use a combination of

hot water, glycerin soap, and a textured surface.  Some people use an old

fashioned wash board; I prefer bubble wrap, a 1'' dowel, and a length of pool

vacuum tube.  I lay my fiber, or in your case fabric, on the smooth side of

the bubble wrap.  I roll the whole affair around the tube. The dowel is

inside the tube.  The I roll for all I'm worth on a hard surface.  After about

80 times back and forth, I open up the whole thing and rotate the piece 90

degrees.  It may suit your purposes for wool fabric.  The whole deal should

also be doable in your washing machine.

  Happy felting,

     Thea

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 10:13:55 -0500 (CDT)

From: Angela C Wiseley <awise at ksu.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Working with wool - More

 

On Wed, 21 Oct 1998, Rikki Mitman wrote:

> Well, I cut a six-inch square last night and ran it through two loads of

> wash in hot water, machine-drying it after each washing. It shrank a

> quarter inch in one direction, not at all in the other. Not too bad. But I

> can't say it's felted.

>

> About the glycerine soap -- what does this contribute (as opposed to

> laundry detergent)?

>

> Teleri ferch Pawl

 

I have done something very similar to what it sounds like you're wanting

to do.  I do lots of felting with unspun wool, but didn't want to take to

time required to make a coat my normal way.  So, I made my Viking coat

from wool fabric and then machine washed it.

 

The original coat was HUGE.  The sleeves hung to my knees and the raw

edge at the bottom pooled at my feet.  After a trip through the hot wash

in the machine, followed by the dryer, it's perfect.  The sleeves end at

my wrists and the hem ends mid-calf.  Now I just have to embellish it...:D

When I assembled my coat, I sewed only the seams, I did not finish any of

the raw edges.  You said in your post it didn't seem like the wool felted

in two trips through hot water.  Hmmm, if it's wool, it will felt. Even if

it's not 100% wool, the wool present will felt and bind any other non-wool

fibers.  Did you use soap of any sort? I used a very small amount of Dawn

dish soap in my washer project. Any similar dish detergent or hand soap

would work.  A bit of soap does several important things, it allows the

individual fibers to wiggle around a bit, which is good, and it slightly

changes the pH level which encourages the scales on the individual fibers

to  open so they can catch on each other, which is also good.  Oh, the

reason you don't want to use laundry soap is because of the enzymes

present in virtually all laundry products.  They work great at getting out

nasty stains, but can potentially damage the wool fibers. Why take the

chance?

Question about the piece you washed.  If you pull on the edge like you're

tearing a piece of paper, does the wool fray?  If it doesn't, it's

probably felted and you'll just have a "light" felt.  If it does fray, try

the soap.  If that still doesn't work, let me know.

Oh, one other note, when you do the whole piece in the washer, adjust

the fabric every couple of minutes to allow even felting.

 

Yrsa Gudhbrandsdottir

Calontir

(always happy to corrupt others with the sinful pleasures of felt <G>)

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 08:17:18 PDT

From: "T Cardy" <otterbabi at hotmail.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Working with wool - More

 

According to a friend of mine who is a  felt artist, the glycerin soap

helps the wool retain its natural oils, and helps the fibers rub against

one another to start the felting process.  (I've only ever used ivory

soap flakes, I like this glycerin soap idea. I'm told Murphy's oil soap

is also very good)

 

She also said that if you have more shrinkage in only one direction or

no shrinkage, you probably have one or more of three things happening:

 

1) the warp fibers of the fabric are twisted tightly or twisted in the

opposite twist of the woof (z-twist vs. s-twist) and may felt and shrink

but will take a few more washings - she said to be sure to use a cold

water rinse after a few hot water washings this stops the felting

process and helps to stabilize it.

 

2) The warp or woof fibers may not be 100% wool and even the smallest

amount of synthetic fibers may prevent shrinkage and/or felting.

 

3) If the wool is worsted - some of the shrinkage has been done already

to stabilize the wool, this wool may felt, but it will probably not

stabilize enough to be able to use unfinished (ie, your cloak hem)

 

If your fabric puffs up enough though and looks felted, I have gotten

away with using a matching thread in my machine and overcasting the

edges with a wide zig-zag stitch - it can be virtually unnoticable - to

everyone but you.

 

Try a couple more little pieces - or wash your swatches again.

 

(Thea - those are great ideas - I really like the idea of the pool

vacuum hose - I use a piece of bamboo fencing (the kind that comes in a

roll) for really wide pieces - great for big chunks of blanket or when I

felt and old afgan)

 

Timohty VanVlear

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 11:25:21 -0600

From: Sheron Buchele/Curtis Rowland <foxryde at verinet.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Working with wool - About the Glycerin

 

>On the glycerin soap, though -- I'm familiar with the bars, which I like for

>the bath, but have not seen it in liquid form. Do I need to liquefy the bar

>soap to use in the felting (easy enough, I suppose), or is it commercially

>available in liquid form somewhere?

 

Dr. Bronner's is glycerin soap.  It comes in all sorts of scents.   It's at

grocery stores or health food stores.

 

Baroness Leonora

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 17:30:35 -0400

From: Carol Thomas <scbooks at neca.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Working with wool - More

 

>Well, I cut a six-inch square last night and ran it through two loads of

>wash in hot water, machine-drying it after each washing. It shrank a

>quarter inch in one direction, not at all in the other. Not too bad. But I

>can't say it's felted.

 

Do you have a wire brush?  That does a pretty thorough job, if used with

some caution.  Since you already have the washed square, it might be worth

a try.

 

I was a little taken aback the first time I saw this done.

 

I've washed with hot, rinsed with the coldest I can get, dried on high, and

repeated and gotten pretty good felting.  The extremes of temperature

seemed to help.

Lady Carllein

 

 

Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 22:53:15 EDT

From: <CKONOW at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Working with wool - More on felting

 

The vacuum hose/dowel/bubble wrap trick is just the greatest for doing

felting.  I've done the bamboo blind routine, and found the former to be a

lot faster and my felt came out nice and solid.  I'm going to be doing more

felting soon and get some of those fun hats from the Italian Renaissance

going.  Wish me luck...Thea

 

 

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 00:49:00 -0600

From: Roberta R Comstock <froggestow at juno.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Felting wool fabric

 

The 19th Century Woolen mill  at Watkin's Mill State Park/Historic Site

has long tanks for fulling and waulking in which the fabric was stomped

(much like stomping grapesfor wine).

Fullers' Earth ( a finely ground Bentonite clay) was sometimes also used

in the process, but I'm not sure how or when.

 

Hertha

 

 

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 09:33:03 -0500

From: capriest at cs.vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Felting wool fabric

 

Irene wrote:

>I want to full the fabric, I still need some direction.

 

Several years ago Lord (now Master) Dyfan ab Iago told me about his

experience fulling a length of wool for a houppelande. The short version:

he put it in a washtub with hot water, soap, and some urine, then danced on

it through two repetitions of the East Kingdom's dance tape.  Then he rinsed

and dried it.  I handled the finished product:  it was buttery smooth and

retained no scent of the encounter. ;>  It shrank about 20%, though, and the

deep greenish blue color darkened a bit.

 

Carolyn Priest-Dorman              Thora Sharptooth

capriest  at  cs. vassar. edu         Frostahlid, Austrrik

 

 

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 11:08:20 -0500

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Felting wool fabric

 

I wrote this a bit ago, but we are very happy with the book.

The Yurt section is excellent, and is appropriate because we are

Great Dark Horde.

 

Magnus

 

Feltmaking Book, includes Yurts.txt"

 

There is a new book on feltmaking on the market since 1996.

FELT ~ New Directions for an Ancient Craft, by Gunilla Paetau Sjoberg,

translated by Patricia Spark. Interweave Press, 201 East Fourth Street,

Loveland, CO 80537 USA. Translation of: Tova. ISBN: 1-883010-17-9. Mine

was $25 plus tax. 152 pages, many illus- trations, including diagrams

and color and b&w photos.

 

This is a fairly comprehensive book on felt and not one of the New Age

yuppie craft modern art waste your money type books. This author went

to some length to research her material. The result is a great overview

of history from multiple cultures (including mongolian) and techniques.

Historical felt discoveries are included from the norse to the Scythians

in S.W.Siberia. Techniques are fairly complete.

 

Includes clothing, hats and caps, socks and boots, slippers and

mittens, purses, childrens' goods, and feltmaking and embroidery of

the asian nomads (about 10 very detailed pages). The feltmaking for

yurts section answered some of the questions I had been seeking

answers for such as how well the wool is cleaned before felting. This

is the best set of illustrations of feltmaking I think is in print.

Actually shows more than one technique. There are several I know of.

 

It also shows techniques for bending the hana pieces and drilling them

and explains how the red color for the wood is obtained. I've been

researching yurts and have seen this no where else. While the

construction techniques for the door and crown (sky door) are not

explained there are some good illustrations. This person did her

homework. Attended a feltmaking party. Illustrates some of the rope

tie making technique. Does not show the weaving of the decorative bands.

Does show the stitching of door mat and rugs. Excellent bibliography,

some in other languages unfortunately.

 

M. Magnus Malleus, Atlantia and the GDHorde

 

 

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 16:08:41 -0500

From: Wendy Colbert <WendyC at vivid.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Felting wool fabric

 

Ok, I took my chances and put the wool fabirc into the washing machine on

hot with cold rinse and then dried it hot.  The original piece was 1 yard

of 60 inch wide fabric.

 

After the first time through the dimensions were 49x 31.

 

I repeated the procedure and the current dimesions are 45 x29.  The fabric

is lovely with edges nice and solid like boiled wool, that is they aren't

fraying and do not need finishing.

 

Thanks to all for the help... now to make it into a hat....

 

Irene

 

 

Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 16:22:38 -0500

From: "Amy G. Venlos" <Amy.Venlos at ey.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Felting wool fabric

 

Greetings! This is increasingly more interesting, especially now that I've

access to wool direct from a sheep grower!

 

I found the following merchants on the web, who sells Fullers Earth, as a

tinting material: http://markspaint.com/lc3.htm

 

In the Water Quality Association's on-line dictionary, they define it as a

clayish substance of hydrous aluminum silicate used as a filter aid in

coagulation; according to other web sites, it is a decontaminant used to

filter oil.

An MSDS at another web site suggested its use in case some dangerous

material was released/spilled.

With that in mind, it's kind of scary that someone, in another web site,

asked whether it could be used to treat her dry skin.

 

Hana Lore, who isn't bored at work, just suddenly wishing she had a good

research project to sink her teeth into!

 

<the end>



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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org