Tuesday, January 11, 2011

another thing to do with fleece

One of the things I got up to last weekend with the fleece was making felted soaps.  It's really very easy and low tech...and the results are so worth it.

Why felt soap?
Gentle exfoliation.
Subtle, natural antibiotic properties of fleece.
Regular contact with wool ;)

There is a wonderful soapary (is that a word) up the Valley from us - Mountain Sky.  The greengrocer down the hill from us carries end cuts (or off cuts) of this lovely soap in a big bulk bin.  The pieces can all be different kinds, and non-standard sizes, but are always first-rate quality.  I had a bag of these in the cupboard that I used for my project.

It's very simple.
Have ready some rolags or combed fleece, a sushi mat (or washboard), some chunks of nylon stocking, a towel, soap and a drying rack.

Wrap the soap in fleece, making sure that all the corners are covered, and that there are no thin spots.

 Stretch the chunk of nylon stocking over the wrapped soap carefully, to not shift the fuzzy fibre coating.  Because I was doing several, I did each step to all the soaps, production style.

The picture at left is a bit decieving...the nylon stocking is only tied at one end.  It's twisted and tucked underneath at the other.  If you tie both ends of the stocking, you'll have to cut the stocking to get the soap out...and eventually your stocking pieces won't be big enough to do anymore soap!

Dribble a bit of dishsoap on the nylon-wrapped bundle, then dribble some hot water on it.  Start rubbing it in your hands...you can be pretty vigorous!  If it feels too dry at first, add more water until it's all frothy and foamy (you don't want it dripping wet).

Rub it on the sushi mat (or another ribbed surface) to speed along the felting process.  Make sure that you rub each edge, end and flat plane of the soap.  When it starts to feel like all the fleece has compressed evenly, you can slide it out of the stocking.

Keep rubbing it in your hands and on the sushi mat until the fibre is completely compressed and not loose around the soap anywhere.  Rinse it in the sink, roll it in the towel to blot out most of the water, then set it on the drying rack to dry. Et Voila!  Finished!

I made about 8 of them for gifts.  It's got me thinking about other things that I could felt. Hmmmm.


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