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How thick is Wool Blend Felt?

14 Nov

How Thick is Wool Blend Felt?

This is the question that I struggle to answer the most often.

The technical answer is wool blend felt is 564 of an inch  or (1.6 mm) in thickness.

That didn’t help at all did it? 

Well this might 1 sheet of wool blend felt from our online store is …

Slightly thicker than a penny

About as thick as 2 credit cards

or

3 playing cards

or

2 standard staples

or

15 sheets of standard copy paper (20# weight)

Happy Crafting!

~Andie

Wool felt questions Part 3: The difference between wool felt and felted wool.

25 Aug

If you’ve just joined us it may benefit you to know we are on part 3 of our 5 part series covering the most common questions about wool felt, so far we’ve seen aflow chart, solved a mystery and today we witness a MURDER… bum bum bum!

Question 3:   What’s the difference between felted wool and wool felt?

Felt (a noun) is created by agitating fibers either by using barbed needles or by getting the fibers wet and tangling them into each other to make a nonwoven felt fabric. Non woven fabrics including felt are awesome because they require no seams and are as user friendly as a fabric can get.

Wool Felt begins the felting process as wool roving or batting. Felted wool starts the process as a wool or wool blend woven fabric.

To make something “felt” (a verb) or “felted” (an adjective) implies washing a pre-woven, or knitted, wool or wool blend fabric in hot water to agitate it and force the fibers to lock making it impossible to untangle or loosen the fibers. Felting the wool fibers will make them contract and give you a  thicker fabric than what you started with as well as a bubbly texture.

To make this even more clear I have volunteered my husbands dress pants for this assignment*

Dressedin WoolSuit Pants 2006 – 2011 -

 These amazing wool slacks lived an wonderful long life. Ahh the good times, here they are in all their pin-stripy glory, so full of hopes and dreams.

Rest in Projects, my wooly friend!According to their owner Pants assisted in many aspects of business. Without Pants many deals simply would not have been made! In a world filled with Saggy Pants, Skinny Jeans and Culottes, Mr. Pants stood out from the crowd, a beacon of professionalism in a seemingly increasingly ill fitting world. The Pants spirit will live on in the lives of felted wool items for years to come.

Warning the following are actual pictures of a crime against wool taking place you may wish to avert your eyes.

Pants murder

Actual Crime Scene Photos.

As you can see from these photos Pants put up quite a fight, but in the end he was no match for hot water and Tide with bleach alternative.

Here’s a 9″ x 12″ sheet I cut after the felting process was complete, as you can see the felted wool still frays easily this could be because of a low wool content or  they could use another trip or two through the wash cycle to really get the fibers to lock. 

The difference between wool felt and felted wool.

Your felted wool results may vary based on the way the material was woven, wool content, or water temperature.
Most felted wools will not fray along the edges, and felted items have a beautiful thick bubbly texture to them.
This texture is the main reason to “felt” an object rather than just starting with felt.

Sure felt snobs will argue that felted wool is not a true felt because it started out it’s life as a woven fabric rather than as wool roving or batting. But since I am the only felt freak you’re ever likely to meet  you have my permission to call it whatever you like.

On a related note, I finally got around to making that felt bird!

wool Felt bird

Thanks Pants!

* No actual usable pants were harmed in the making of this blog post. 

~Andie

All your felt questions answered* Part 2: What is bamboo felt?

23 Aug

All of your felt questions will be answered in our 5 part series*

What is bamboo felt?

*Provided you have less than 5 questions about wool felt fabrics and that they are the same questions I will be answering.

I get emails nearly everyday asking some basic questions about felt fabrics. I thought I would re-post the top 5. Of course if your question isn’t here email me at customerservice@feltandcraft.com and I’d be happy to help any way I can.  So here we go with…

Bamboo felt

Question 2: What is Bamboo felt?

The currently available bamboo felt is a felt fabric made from a blend of two rayons. One rayon is made from bamboo fibers, and one rayon is derived from other sources, most commonly wood pulp. These two rayons are  then combined through commercial needle felting to create what is refered to as bamboo felt.

What you want details? I swear I heard a yes, so here goes:

 Bamboo stalks contain fibers

Bamboo cellulose fiber before being processed into bamboo rayon.

These Bamboo fibers can be woven into a stiff and rough fabric, similar to linen or hemp fabrics.

Bamboo fabrics

Fabric made with bamboo not made into rayon.

If the bamboo fibers are first turned into a rayon the structure of the material being made changes.

bamboo felt rayon fibers

Regenerated cellulose bamboo fiber (AKA Bamboo Rayon)

All rayon fibers are then combined by machine usually by needle felting

Rayons are layered and put into a machine which uses needles to create felt.

You cannot actually “felt” or create a soft smooth fabric with bamboo fibers without first processing it into a rayon.

Bamboo rayon fabric

Finished Bamboo rayon felt

So it may help to know how rayon is made:

Rayon fabric is the product of any cellulose fiber like cotton, bamboo, or most commonly wood pulp, —usually from pine and spruce trees, which is processed to create a regenerated cellulose fiber (fancy phrase for turned into diffrent, softer, easier to work with material.)

So what are the benefits of a bamboo felt if it’s just a rayon felt?

*Starting with the fastest growing grass like bamboo rather than a slower growing tree fiber makes bamboo a more sustainable fiber to work with.

*Bamboo is great for the planet, it produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees, it also prevents soil erosion.

*Since bamboo has no real threats in terms of pest nearly all of the bamboo grown in the world is grown organically with no pesticides, fertlizers or herbicides used.  And all rayons are 100% biodegradable.

*Bamboo is made up of smooth rounded fibers which are very soft even on extremely sensitive skin. It has a buttery feel to and is very lightweight.

*Bamboo felt is a beautiful fabric to work with, it has the softness of a cashmere, and the sheen of a silk  it flows and drapes like silk and cashmere too! It’s no wonder that bamboo rayons are now showing up on fashion runways.

*Rayon fibers, bamboo rayons especially, carry dyes very well and so they can be used to create very vibrant felt colors.

*Bamboo is also hypoallergenic and highly absorbant.

What are the drawbacks of bamboo felt?

*Chemicals are used in the production of all rayons, although technology seems to be moving towards fewer chemicals and new techniques for creating regenerated cellulose fibers are in the works.

*Rayon fibers become very weak when wet and do have a tendency to shrink when washed. Bamboo felt will shrink and dry cleaning is recommended. Never machine wash an item made from rayon felt try to hand wash if possible.  I have not noticed a diffrence in the strength of bamboo felt versus other felts.

*Bamboo felt is a little on the pricey side but it is a new fabric to the market so I am sure the prices will go down.

Wondering where you can buy bamboo felt?

We sell the bamboo felt sheets, bamboo felt fat quarters and smaller sample packs of bamboo felt on our website.

What is bamboo felt good for?

Bamboo felt is great for any application where you might normally use a 100% wool felt. It’s higher price point means it’s usually used for special or important pieces like Christmas ornaments, gifts, keepsakes, stuffies, baby booties, etc.

~Andie

All your wool felt questions answered* Part 1

18 Aug

*Provided you have less than 5 questions about wool felt fabrics and that they are the same questions I will be answering.

I get emails nearly everyday asking some basic questions about felt fabrics. I thought I would re-post the top 5. Of course if your question isn’t here email me at customerservice@feltandcraft.com and I’d be happy to help any way I can.  So here we go with…

Question 1:  

Which kind of felt fabric is best for my project? Acrylic felt, Wool Blend Felt, or 100% wool felt?

That depends on many factors however 75% of the time my answer is wool blend felt. Wool blend felt combines the beauty and durability of 100% wool felt fabric with the lower price point of an acrylic. I actually find that the wool rayon blend felts are nicer to work with in small sculpture (felt food, stuffies. plushies etc.) compared to 100% wool felt, since it moves and drapes into shape beautifully. If you follow this blog at all you probably know my feelings about Acrylic felt. In short I think it is horrible!!

For more specifics on which felt to use see the Felt Smack down where in I discuss all the ins and out and light stuff on fire too!

Still stuck? Have no fear for I have created this handy flow chart:

What kind of felt should I use

~ Andie


What have we got here or bonfire of the antiquities – How to tell what kind of felt you have.

9 May

So you just got a great deal on felt sheets from a tag sale and you want to know how good a deal you actually got.

Is it wool, acrylic, or blend?

felttypes2

 If you can’t tell by looking or your just ridiculously optimistic. There is a simple way to find this out called the burn test, and yes this is dangerous and no I didn’t make this up so I can set stuff on fire.

OK,  when I say dangerous you should know it’s not,  jumping 12 buses on a motorcycle dangerous, but it’s definitely cutting onions dangerous. And I know it seems like I have an obsession with setting felt on fire, let me assure you this is NOT the case.

 

First things first you’re going to need a small sample of your material your willing to part with, a plate or pot and a long match or lighter used for lighting BBQ’s, if you don’t have that I’d suggest tongs and whatever you do have. Basically get yourself setup like Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, (the scientist from the muppetts.) you don’t want to be too close to the felt when you light it up since plastic felts (acrylic and eco-felt) will melt and trust me you don’t want that to drip onto your hand.

Drum roll please….. now carefully set your sample ablaze…

fireEco

Does it emit black smoke, smell like a Tupperware top on your dishwashers heating element and form a hard ball at the end, that’s eco- felt (sold under the names eco-fi and eco-spun) or acrylic.

 Your felt is made of plastic these felts usually retail form about $0.25  a 9x 12 sheet, usually less when bought in yardage.

fireblend

 Does it form a soft gray ash? With no real smoke or plastic smell.

That’s most likely a blend, these retail for anywhere from $0.75   to $3.50 a 9 x 12 sheet, again less in yardages.

lovefeltfirewool

If you have a difficult time keeping it lit and it turns into a fine ash that practically disappears when you touch it. Hallelujah you have wool!! Commence victory dance…Keep in mind that the high wool ratio blends will be hard to distinguish from 100% wool since the burn test reflects the main composition of the felt, but regardless you have some very nice felt on your hands. Prices in wool vary widely by thickness, quality type of dying process and country of origin so giving you an esitmate on it would be impossible.

There’s got to be another way! I can’t bear to burn my precious felt!

What you don’t want to go around yard sales with a pair of tongs and a lighter turning peoples felt sheets into mini bonfires… fine … here’s another easy, although less accurate trick. If the sheets are a little shiny and slide across each other easily they are likely acrylic although some blends may be a tad shiny as well and both may sometimes show no shine at all.

Blends are often cut and put under things like lamps and display pieces precisely because they will not slip easily, the same is true for wool, so if it helt there must be wool in your felt (actually this isn’t 100% but it’s as much info as your going to get without a match.)

I know much less fun than the fire thing huh?

Happy Crafting! And yes I know helt isn’t a word, it was a tough rhyme cut me some slack!

Andie

Felt Smackdown, 4 felts will go in only one can emerge victorious!

4 Apr
felttypes3
The number one question I am asked is, what is the difference between types of felt although I go into this in detail on the Posts Whats the diffrence 1 wool , 2 Acrylic and eco-spun & 3 wool felt blends, sometimes you just need a basic visual reference. With that I proudly present the moment you’ve waited 3 posts for…  the Felt Smack-down a grudge match in which 4 felts will be tested but who will come out on top? Insert theme from Rocky here….

These felts will be put through the 6 tests and a winner will be declared after each round.  But first the details;  Each felt square will be cut into a 5×7 squares, both the wool and wool blend are from American Felt and Craft and the acrylic and eco-spun (now called eco-fi) are from my local craft store.

Challenge #1 Appearance

felttypes2

OK well this one is tough since it’s largely dependant on what your looking for personally I love the bouncy loft of the 100% wool but you can declare your own winner….

Challenge #2 Transparency

feltbackround

This is a very basic challenge each felt will be placed on the above scrap booking paper to see the level of transparency.
Acrylic $0.25

Acrylic $0.25

Eco-Felt $0.30

Eco-Felt $0.30

 

Wool/Rayon Blend $0.75

Wool/Rayon Blend $0.75

Wool 5.00

Wool $5.00

Winner: Wool Blend  with 100% Wool in a close second.

Challenge #3 Stitching

Each of the felts were cut into smaller strips and machine sewn together (wool to wool and so on) with red thread, I gave them 1 good  tug and here are the results.

acrylicsewn

ecosewn Blendsewn

 woolsewn

When I placed the sewn pieces down I noticed that the act of yanking them distorted some more than others so I thought I’d show you that too.

matchupsewn

Winner: Tie Wool’s loft almost completely hides the stitches but blend holds a nicer looking seam and wasn’t easily pulled out of shape as much as wool.

Challenge #4 Fuzz Factor

Each of the felts was cut into a free hand circle I then pinched along the edges to see how much fuzz each felt produced:

felt

I also wanted to see how much fuzz was produced with normal usages, I am nothing if not though, so I cut apart my stitched felt (which is why the sample pieces are a bit wonky) and placed a clear return address sticker onto each piece of felt smoothed it down and removed it VIOLA!

 fuzzacrylicfuzzecofeltfuzzblendfuzzwool

Winner: Blend    Second Place:  Wool     Voted most likely a waste of money: Acrylic, seriously it almost has a hole in it at this point!

 Challenge #5 Shrinkage

For this test I threw my 5×7 inch sheets from challenges 1 & 2 into the washer with a few pairs of jeans for agitation and washed them on warm, which here in Arizona means scalding hot, basically the worst conditions for felt.

 ShrinktestacrylicShrinktestecoShrinktestblendShrinktestwool

Winner: Eco-felt Second Place: Acrylic

Challenge #6 The moment you’ve all be waiting for…FIRE!

For this challenge I took a small swatch of each felt equal in size and lit them on fire waited 10 seconds and took a picture of what was left,  in some cases the flame just kind of died out on it’s own but only the acrylic had to be put out before 10 seconds.  All tests were conducted outdoors in a well ventilated area, don’t try this at home.

As silly as this test seems it’s actually a serious matter. If you intend to attach your felt to clothing or make toys that a child might sleep with melting plastics can cause serious burns. Because fire can be extinguished but melted plastic actually sticks to and continues to burn into the skin, melted plastics are far more dangerous in a fire.

fireacrylic

The Acrylic did not self extinguish and created a thick black smoke as it melted,  giving off drips of plastic. It burned surprisingly rapidly and frankly between the smoke and the quick burning I got a little nervous and blew it out, so this is it after about 5 seconds. It left behind hard plastic globules (I have always wanted to use that word).

fireEcoThe Eco-felt was a little bit of a slower starter which was surprising considering it’s composition is identical to acrylic I can only assume it was treated with some kind of chemical however once it was ignited it melted very rapidly and created the same signature black smoke. Burnt areas once cool enough to touch (about a full minute after burning) were hard solid plastic masses.

fireblend

The blend felt did not create any real smoke to speak of and self extinguished almost immediately in fact the only time it seemed to want to burn is when direct flame as applied. The burnt areas created a soft grey ash which when touched fell into dust.

firewool

As odd as it sounds I couldn’t actually get the wool to burn at all. I held the lighter to the wool the entire time and this was all I was able to accomplish, there was no smoke although there was a faint smell of burning hair although nothing like the smell of human hair and what I did manage to burn created a soft ash which fell to dust on contact.

  Winner: Wool  Second: Blend

Well there it is, I welcome your questions, comments, or suggestions.

lovefelt

 

Wool Felt Blends- part 3 of Whats the difference between wool, acrylic, wool blend, and eco felt?

3 Apr

acrylic wool eco blend felt

AFC wool felt rainbow

Meet me in the middle, part 3 of whats the diffrence.

In this post we’ll look at Wool/Rayon felt blends, please see my other post on wool felt and Acrylic/eco-felt , or for a more simplistic match up check out Felt Smackdown.

Wool Felt Blends

Wool felt blends are blends of wool felt and another material most often rayon. Rayon is made from wood pulp a naturally occurring polymer. It can be manufactured to look like a number of different fabrics in this case wool. Rayon’s properties are similar to cotton or linen and it is the obvious choice for blends because it’s blends with other fabrics easily and in the case of wool it removes the “itch” factor and provides an added softness.

Wear and Care

Wool blend felt wears in a similar way to wool in that it holds up well to wear and stress it does however pill after friction is applied.  Generally this is not a problem in any normal situation as it takes a great deal of friction to cause this, in which case I do not want to know what you are using this felt for. Oh who are we kidding yes I do.  Wool blend felt has a very nominal amount of elasticity and will not be pulled out of shape as easily as wool.  The addition of rayon to the wool does not affect dyeabity at all allowing the felt to achieve very vivid colors. Rayon generally speaking is not damaged by bleaches, although it will alter the fabrics color.  Unlike 100% wool, rayon does not build up a static charge so when blended together the felt will not hold a charge. Rayon blend felt is soft and quite comfortable on the skin. The blended felt will wrinkle but will easily flatten out with time or the application of a low temperature iron. The blends generally resist insect damage and retain the mildew resistant qualities of wool so if you live in the wettest most bug infested place in the world (see Florida) your still in good shape with a blend. However only a moderate amount of water resistance is retained so you’ll want to wipe up spills as soon as possible. Blends generally wash well if washed correctly and spots are easily removed.

Safety and environmental impact

Rayon/ Wool blends retain a good amount of the fire resistant qualities of wool and when it does catch flame it generally burns out. Wool felt blends must contain a minimum of 20% wool in order to be felted without chemical processes this gives wool felt blends similar anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic properties but in a lesser amounts than 100% wool.  Since rayon is made from wood pulp a relatively inexpensive and renewable resource it can be considered a more environmentally friendly option than acrylic/ eco felts.

happysheep

Usages

Blends can be sewn, needle felted, glued and molded.

DisadvantagesAFC felt stack

Rayon blends will shrink, although slightly less than wool. And when cut into shapes less than 1/3 of an inch they will come apart when strongly pulled however this effect is somewhat lessened when the wool percentage is higher. All in all Rayon blends span the vast chasm between wool and acrylic felts.

Now that your a felt expert why not put all that knowledge up to good use in Felt Smackdown. Of course if you missed part 1 or 2 you can go back and catch up.

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