I always like to know where things come from and how we came to use them on a regular basis. Of course, my felt is the same. Before I started The Felt Factory I did a ton of research about where my felt would come from and its origins. I was thrilled to find suppliers who are very well established manufacturers with businesses that have been kept in the family for years. They sure know their stuff and the quality of their product is a reflection of their longevity in the felt business.
Wool Felt making is an ancient tradition and is considered to be the oldest known textile in the world. In Turkey, the remains of felt have been found dating back at least to 6,500 B.C.E.
The origins of felt have become entwined with our myth and legend throughout our history.
The story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher tells while fleeing from persecution, the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters. At the end of their journey, the movement and sweat had turned the wool into felt socks.
In Noah’s Ark the sheep, goats, camels and other animals that herded together in the Ark shed their fleece and during the voyage trampled it underfoot. After the animals left the Ark, Noah was amazed to find the floor carpeted in felt.
Throughout history and still today, Nomadic tribes of Central Asia use felt as a covering for the main wood frame of their Yurts. As a readily available fibre, felt provides warmth and insulation for cold climates.
Our gorgeous Merino Wool Felt is made by wet felting. In the wet felting process, hot water is applied to layers of wool, while repeated agitation and compression causes the fibres to hook together or weave together into a single piece of fabric. The fabric is then dyed to the perfect colour and stretched into the correct width and length.
Our Wool Blend is made by needle punching. Plant based fibres, like our Rayon fibres, have a smooth structure, needing a different process than traditional felting methods required for pure wool. The wool and rayon fibres are layered into a loose matt, then entangled by needles punching through the matt. The needles are made with barbs that hook or latch onto the fibres interlocking them as the needles move continuously in an up and down.
Around the world our manufacturers are using new applications of these old technologies, producing beautiful felt in saturated colours of constantly high quality. We love everything felt and absolutely love bringing these beautiful fabrics to New Zealand.
Hi! I'm Rebecca.