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The Felt Production Process

The Felt Production Process

Wool felt construction process

Wet felting is the major process used in felt making; in the process natural wool is stimulated
by use of friction and then lubricated by use of moisture. The moisture is
usually obtained from soapy water. The fibers are moved at 90 degrees towards
the source of friction and then away from the source. This results in making
tracking stitches. During the movement of the fibers only 5% of the fibers are
active. Due to the fact that the process is continuous, different fibers are
activated and deactivated throughout the process at different intervals.

  grey felt

The wet process makes use of inherent nature of different materials such as animal
hairs and wool. Due to the fact that hairs have scales which are directional in
their mass, they also have kinks. The presence of scales makes the hairs to
react in the process of simulation by friction. The reaction leads to the
phenomenon of felting. The phenomenon works with woolen fibers, this is because
their scales after being activated they bond together easily to form a cloth.

Knitted woolen garments which mostly shrink during the process of hot machining sometimes are
said to have been felted, but in real sense they are fueled during their
manufacturing process. Fueling differs from felting significantly. The difference
comes in where during the process of fueling the process is done to fabrics
while felting is a process applied on fibers. Modern fueling can be a good
example of how fibers bond together when subjected to the movement of washing
machine, addition of soap and addition of hot water in the washing machine.

 Gray felt texture

Needle felts construction process

This is a popular felting process that is conducted without making use of water. It is a
fiber craft process in nature. There are special barbed felting needles used in
felting machines which an artist uses as sculpting tool. The artist can use a
combination of 2 to 5 needles held by a hand tool. The needles are used in the process
of sculpting the wool fiber while the barbs are used to catch scales available
in the wool fiber. After catching the scales they then push the scales through
the wool layers. After pushing the scales through the wool fibers they tangle
and bind them together, this is similar to the wet felting process. The
technique can achieve fine details which make it very popular in 2D and 3D felt
works.

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