Sunday, August 31, 2008

I received this letter the other day

Dear Helen

I recently brushed a massive ball of hair out of my cat’s fur

and, while rolling it up in my fingers to throw in the bin, it formed a very loose piece of felt.

I have never felted anything in my life before and have no idea if cat hair can be felted or even what the first thing to do in felting is.. Here’s where I am so far... any ideas? Or throw it in the bin? Not that I have any ideas about what to make it into. Currently it’s providing support for a crystal ball but it’s very loose and sheds hair like anything. It got a bit wet and started to come apart so my guess is that it mightent work but then people make wool out of rabbit fur so... why not?


Confused in London.

Well my confused friend the answer is yes you can felt cat hair. But it takes patience, perseverance and a LOT of cat hair. And by a lot I mean more than you have there!

I haven’t tried wet felting cat hair but I have needlefelted with it. It continued to shed until it was very very very firmly needled. I would expect to needle the amount I see in the second photo down to about 1/3 of the size it is now, maybe further.

Still it looks like you have just the cat for providing lots and lots of hair.

You can get needles at one of these places in your side of the pond.

DevonWoolies or Rainbow Silks or Bloomingfelt or my favourite Wingham Woolworks

Good Luck to you and Sammy. (Glad to see he's still here shedding for England!)


Sparx said...

Thanks Helen!

I have no idea how to needlefelt but I sense I may have to give it a go!

I've been binning his hair recently but perhaps I will start saving it in a bag as we get a ball that size out of him pretty much every week and it's so soft, it seems a shame to waste it.

My next question would be, having gotten that little mat you see there, I've tried adding to it but it won't mesh with any new cat hair. Will needling it help to merge new hair into that mat or is it too late in the process?

Helen + ilana = Hi said...

You have just discovered a basic 'rule' of felting. In wet felting only pre-felts with accept new fibre additions along the way. Once felt reaches the fulled stage only needlefelting will work for additions. So far minus the water you have been using the wet felting technique -- agitation. The needle replaces that technique and enables enough precision to do sculpture. I'm envisioning a tiny reproduction of Sammy made entirely of Sammy............