A while back I bought a large pack of Botany Lap Waste from World of Wool. I talked about that here when I made some skinny scarves. One of my spinning friends suggested buying some. I guess for her it is a good investment as she can make batts and spin from it. I have learned from a felting standpoint that it can be hit or miss as you don’t really know what fiber you are getting and some of it may not felt.
When I was making my stripy scarves, I wanted to use a soft gray for one of the stripes. These grays came in the Botany Lap Waste. They are super soft. Having learned from my previous experience, I made a quick sample to see if they would felt and you can see above what happened. The one on the left was sticking a bit and had holes and the one on the right was not sticking at all. In fact, you can pull the two layers apart. So I left it.
I decided to revisit the wool because if I wasn’t able to use it for felting, I might be able to use it for spinning. Or rather get one of my spinning friends to spin it up for me once lockdown was over. So I got some rovings I was unsure of and decided to felt them properly.
Here they are laid out in 8 squares square. I used 2 layers. I had some unlabelled black roving that I was quite sure was merino (B). That would be my control. Here is a close up below.
After wetting out, I needed to add some extra roving on C as it looked really thin. So I wet and soaped and gave a bit of a rub and then I sanded on both sides. This is what they looked like after sanding.
A spread out to nearly 9 squares in width, B shrunk about a square and C and D had very little shrinkage at this point and A,C, and D all had holes. Square B was the only one to pass the pinch test, so I did some more rubbing on the others. The extra rubbing wasn’t doing much so I decided to call it an afternoon and left it until the next morning.
Here is a closer look.
I unwrapped my samples the next morning and it seemed that the rest overnight was better, but still not quite passing the pinch test. I rubbed a bit more, but all was at a standstill, so I decided to full them starting with the merino (B). I managed to full it down to 5 squares square. It shrunk 3 squares all around and I have a very nice piece of firm felt. I then continued with sample A. I rubbed, rolled on a wooden rolling pin and nothing was happening. So I got a little bit of soap and warm water and rubbed it on the bubble wrap and that started to do something. I also rubbed the felt in my hands and threw it down. After what seemed like an eternity, I managed to full it down from nearly 9 squares wide to 7 squares x 6. There are a lot of holes in it and it is quite hairy. One of things I noticed in the fulling process was how slippery it was and it also felt a bit squeaky when rubbing it between my fingers. I continued to sample B. Sample B took less time to full down than sample A. I rubbed and rolled. I managed to full it from 8 squares to 6.5 squares. It also has holes. When I got to sample D I skipped rolling on the pin altogether and tried to just full it on the bubble wrap. It didn’t like what I was doing and I needed to stop as the piece was falling apart just as it did the first time, even though I was being gentle with it.
Here they are drying in the sun. I did a burn test and they are all animal hair. From my books, Alpaca can be slippery to felt and it goes wavy, so I do think that what I have is most likely Alpaca. Sample C has the least amount of holes of the Alpacas while D has the most and wouldn’t felt. It has been suggested that D may be superwash. We will see. The next step is to now add some merino to it. I shall be making batts on the blending board and will mix them with the black merino (sample A) and see what happens.