Family stories were all I knew about wet felting until last Saturday when I attended a presentation at our local museum on "Wet Felting With Buffalo Down".
Yes, North American buffalo have down! Who knew?
Turns out that buffalo have five layers of hair, with the down being closest to the skin to provide warmth in winter. Down is shed in the spring, and can then be gathered from tree branches, fence posts, scratching posts - anything rubbed against by the animals, really. Collecting is the only way to successfully harvest buffalo down.
|Yarns, roving, felts, artwork, and garments made from buffalo down.|
|Fibres for touching!|
Buffalo down can be carded into roving and then spun into yarn, or it can be left as roving (a long strand of loosely twisted and drawn fibres) and felted. In the photo above, a piece of brown roving is laying on top of the felt pieces. I think the white "ball" is also roving that has been gently crumpled.
Presenter Adele Boucher has been a trailblazer in the marketing of buffalo down as a useful fibre in modern society, and still continues to lobby for its use through her company, Buffalo Yarns (fibres and stories!).
|Felted art by Adele.|
Adele is very knowledgeable about other fibre types, as well. She explained that sheep and alpaca provide wool, buffalo provide down, qiviut comes from northern muskox, and even possums provide fur that is blended with merino wool to make yarn that is valued for its heat retentive properties. (Again. Who knew? I never would have thought "possum" when imagining yarn! A sample was passed around, and it was surprisingly soft.)
As part of the presentation, Rhonda Warren demonstrated wet felting with wool. We were each invited to felt some of her wool roving scraps into little hearts. We fluffed the scraps, put them into plastic baggies, added a bit of soapy water, and squished away! While we squished, Rhonda explained the theory behind the process, and showed us how to make felted fabric using bubble wrap and bamboo sushi rollers to work the fibres.
|Felted art by Rhonda.|
Fresh off the Frame
If I remember right, the maker of this quilt took part in a fabric exchange, and was then challenged to show off the florals she'd collected. Mission accomplished! This pretty quilt brightened my studio and made me smile. :-)
|Pretty floral with Ebb and Flow panto|
This fun Star Wars top was a dream to quilt. Look how straight the piecing is!
|Star Wars with Modern Twist panto|
Cute prints on the next quilt practically begged for a panto to match its mood!
|Butterflies, flowers, ribbons - Spring Garland panto!|
Hmm, this may be another quilt inspired by that floral fabric exchange? Another great way to show off large prints - very striking!
|Striking floral with Bush Berries panto|
I do love the look of blocks pieced into a backing!
|Striking floral - back|
I feel like I
Linking up with:
Whoop Whoop Friday! @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
Try, Learn, & Grow!