Can anybody help me with a felting problem. Alpaca fibres straight fom the animal are not felting together well. Do they need to be carded like merino? Hope some of you multi-skilled members know the answer.
Thanks a million
Alpaca fibers do not felt easily by themselves. It is much easier to felt them when they are mixed with a little wool.. The Alpaca will eventually felt, but you are going to have to work much harder with it......Jim D
I'm not sure about the construction of Alpaca fibre. Sheep wool has little barbs on it, which is what latches together when you felt. If the Alpaca is smooth then its not going to work in the same way, so as suggested add it to wool - you don't always need thick layers, of wool, with other fibres, try making up a sandwich, so the wool can bind itself together trapping the Alpaca in the middle.
You can wet felt alpaca but it felts differently than wool and will take longer. Just keep working it and it will eventually felt but will be softer than most wools. If you are making something functional it probably will need wool added to get the felt tight enough to hold up to wear and tear.
Hope that helps,
Thanks Ruth, I will try again today. Your recent work on 'closeups' on your blog are wonderful. Making stamps out of your creations is like a gift that keeps on giving! Have spent some time looking at your work which is inspiring. Well done. The sander finish fascinates me. How do you avoid the moisture zapping you?
Thank you Beverley. You are very creative and I love your abstract take on subjects. So much can be done with paper. I have made silk paper and loved the experience but have not explored it further. Maybe now!!
thanks for the tip Jim. I haven't had a chance to look at your work yet, but I will. So much talent!!
Liz - I put a plastic ziplock bag over the sander so water doesn't touch the sander. You have to be careful and not block the heat exhaust though. I also get the wool wet and then drain off any excess water. It really is much faster and less effort than traditional felting. You don't need a lot of water to get it to felt. Thanks for your comments on my blog.