There are 4 felt making techniques, and I use 3 of them in my work. Although I tend to use some more than others they are as follows,
This technique is as old as the Bronze age, and the method has not changed. Although the equipment has, I don't think bubble wrap was around in 1400 BC. Examples of this early felt can be seen in The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, (google it. The swan will amaze you!) These examples were found in the Pazyryk Tombs in Siberia. This felt technique did not reach the western world until the first century .
This method is a relative recent technique and was developed in the 1800's . The first industrial machines were manufactured with between 150 and 200,000 needles. They were mainly used to produce commercial and industrial such as baize commonly used for snooker tables. It is now a popular craft, using 1 needle to produce a sculpture. This was developed in the early 1980's buy an American Artist and is a wide spread craft.
This is a process that uses something knitted or crocheted and is then shrunk, although this is commonly called felting it is in fact Fulling, This method has been used for centuries by weavers who liked to shrink and tighten the cloth to improve its insulating quality. The modern method is to use the washing machine on old pure wool jumpers to find a new use.
This is a very modern technique and was developed in the 1990's by a Australian lady who wanted to produce a lighter wool fabric. This was done using a light open weave cloth such as silk chiffon or cheese cloth and very light/thin layers of soft pure wool roving, then using the wet felting technique, the fibre’s work through to the back of the fabric and tangle together making a very fine wool garment . It was named Nuno as this is Japanese word for cloth.
Wool had been one of a most important commodity since medieval times through to the 20th century it only lost its demand with the invention of manmade fibre’s such a Nylon.
The seat of the Lord High Chancellor in the House of Lords is a square bag of wool Called the “ woolsack “ as a reminder of the English wealth in the middle ages
Fireman’s uniform’s were made from 100% wool as is does not burn, it disintegrates and does not stick to the skin. It was replaced with manmade fibre’s and fire retardant chemicals because of the weight when wool got wet. Fireman have had more serious burns since this happened and wool in now making a small comeback in the making of uniforms.
The saying ‘As mad as a hatter’ comes from the making of wool hats because the chemical mercurous nitrate was used in the fulling of the wool and the vapor’s inhaled in large quantities sent the hat maker mad.
Wool keeps you cool as well as hot