Tag Archives: felt

Felt Fashion Workshop: Oaxaca Style Art To Wear

We’ve invited Jessica de Haas back to teach this popular workshop again in 2014.  Here is your chance to escape winter, roll up your sleeves and make an extraordinary felted wool garment that will bring ooh’s and aah’s.  For seven nights and eight days, from January 30 to February 6, you will experience the textile culture of Oaxaca, and create naturally dyed felt fabric that you will make into wearable art.

If you ever wanted to felt wool and use it to make a garment that is unique, comfortable and stylish, this is the place for you.  If you want to build upon what you already know and add to your skill set, join us!  We use easy-to-construct indigenous Mexican patterns to show off your design creativity.  If you aren’t confident, don’t worry! The place itself is an inspiration.

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Our expert instructor is fiber artist-clothing designer Jessica de Haas, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada.  She is joined by Eric Chavez Santiago from Oaxaca, Mexico, who will demonstrate natural dyeing techniques.  The wool roving we use is dyed by Eric who works with cochineal, indigo, wild marigold and other local plant sources.

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About Your Instructors

Jessica owns the clothing design company Funk-Shui in Vancouver, B.C. and is an award-winning, internationally known fiber artist, fashion designer and teacher.  Her work is published in leading books and magazines. She recently completed an Arquetopia artist residency in Oaxaca, and taught and exhibited at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.  See her website for bio and designs.

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Eric Chavez Santiago, founding director of education at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, is a weaver and natural dye expert.  He has taught natural dyeing techniques  in Oaxaca and at U.S. universities and museums since 2006.

I attended the workshop this past year (Feb 2013). Wow! Jessica was a fabulous instructor, practical and inspirational, and a total delight. The village of Teotitlan is an experience in itself and will immerse you in a totally different and vibrant world. The B&B and especially the meals were awesome and conversation around the table with other workshop participants was totally fun and absorbing — a bunch of creative, independent and feisty women! And, you can’t lose — even I made several shawls I’m very proud to wear. Highly recommended! –Leslie Larson

Our Itinerary

Working with Jessica in the courtyard of our B&B, we will first make pre-felts and samples.  Then we will embark on creating lengths of felted fabric enough to make one garment.  You can also choose to felt on silk or cheesecloth that results in lighter weight and beautifully draping fabric. After your fabric is dry, you will have the option to cut and sew it into one of several indigenous Oaxaca styles:  the huipil (tunic), the blusa (blouse), rebozo (shawl), boufanda (scarf) or quechequemitl (cape), or modify the basic pattern into a design of your own.  We give you a pattern book to choose your design!

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This workshop is for all levels of experience!  You do not have to be an artist or experienced felt-maker to attend.  We welcome beginners who have never worked in hand felting and more advanced fiber artists. This is a perfect residency for university students, teachers and artists who may want to explore a different medium, too.

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We will provide you with patterns for the basic indigenous designs that can be adjusted to fit.  If you want to contemporize them, we can help you tweak and make adjustments. If you have sewing or pattern drafting experience and want to experiment on your own, you are welcome to work on an independent design project.

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We are based in the weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle where for generations families have created wool textiles.  During our time together, we will go on local field trips to gain design inspiration, and meet and talk with weavers who work with natural dyes.  Some weave wool fabric for wearable art as well as sturdier floor and wall tapestries.  We will see examples of the types of garments that can be created from the felted fabric we make.

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Supplies to bring (preliminary list):

  • Cotton cheesecloth, preferably pre-colored, 5 to 6 yards (3 to 4 meters) or more
  • Embellishments: beads, sequins, buttons, ribbons, embroidery thread, yarn and other embellishments  (we will also have a supply on hand that you can use, too)
  • Non-stick shelf liner, 20 inches wide x 5 ft. long (minimum length), one roll
  • Sewing kit: sharp scissors, needles, threads, tailor chalk 

Note: The materials listed are enough to make one garment. If you wish to prepare a more complex or elaborate garment, we will offer more dyed wool roving for purchase and we suggest you bring more cheesecloth. We will provide a source list upon registration.

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Here is what is included in your registration fee:

  • all instruction
  • 7 nights lodging
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 6 dinners
  • naturally dyed merino wool roving for one garment
  • silk yardage for nuno felting, enough for one garment
  • pattern booklet and natural dye recipes
  • sewing machine to share with needles, thread
  • selected embellishments, yarns, threads
  • guided visit to Oaxaca textile museum and galleries

Workshop is limited to 10 participants.

Daily Workshop Schedule:  Arrive Thursday, January 30 and depart Thursday, February 6.   7 nights and 8 days with options to extend your visit.

Day 1, Thursday, January 30 – Arrive and settle in to your bed and breakfast posada in Teotitlan del Valle (we send directions)

Day 2, Friday, January 31 – Jump right in to make partial felts and laminate samples with silk and cheesecloth. We will make an actual mini- scarf during this session, as well as fabric samples. (B, D)

Day 3, Saturday, February 1 – Take a morning field trip to the village market and church for pattern inspiration from the local environment. After lunch we will work on designs using the partial felts and inspiration from the morning studies. (B, D)

Day 4, Sunday, February 2 – We take you on a field trip to visit Eric Chavez Santiago for an indigo dye demo.  In the afternoon, Jessica will demonstrate her method for using acid dyes and free-motion embroidery. You’ll then start on making felt for your final project/garment. (B, D)

Day 5, Monday, February 3 – Continue working on your project. In the afternoon Jessica will demo the art of making felt flowers. (B, D)

Day 6, Tuesday, February 4 —  Field trip to visit local silk weavers. Continue to felt, embellish, sew and finish your project.  Completed project Show and Tell with photos before dinner. (B, D)

Day 7, Wednesday, February 5 – Oaxaca City Textile Walk and Shop with Norma (B)

Day 8, Thursday, February 6 – Departure (B)

(This is a preliminary daily schedule and subject to modification.)  

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Workshop Fee:  $1,595 basic cost per person includes shared room and bath, double occupancy. Single occupancy with private bath, add $300.

Extension Options: 

Option 1:  Stay an extra day and take a Zapotec cooking class on Thursday, February 6, depart February 7.  Includes one night lodging, breakfast, lunch, cooking class and recipes.  $115 USD each.  2 person minimum.

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Option 2:  Friday, February 7, Ocotlan Market Day with stops to visit famous wood carvers, embroiderers, and potters.  Excursion includes transportation, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 suppers, and 2 nights lodging on February 6 and 7, with a February 8 departure. (Note: does not include cooking class on February 6.  If you choose this option, Thursday, February 6 is on your own.)   $165 per person.  2 person minimum.

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Option 3:  Cooking Class and Ocotlan Market Day Combo.  Combine both Option 1 and Option 2 for a special price of $250 per person.  2 person minimum.

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Arrive early or stay later!  Add on nights in Teotitlan del Valle at $50 per night, or Oaxaca City at $125 per night.  Let us know your preference and we make all the arrangements for you.

About Our Workshops, Retreats and Programs.  We offer educational programs that are hands-on, fun, culturally sensitive, and offer you an immersion experience.   Our workshop leaders are experts in their field, knowledgeable, have teaching experience and guide you in the learning process.  Our goal is to enhance your knowledge while giving you time to explore and discover. 

About Lodging and Accommodations. To keep this trip affordable and accessible, we stay in a local posada/guest house. The food is all house made (including the tortillas), safe to eat and delicious. Vegetarian options are available.

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Your registration fee does NOT include airfare, taxes, admissions to museums and archeological sites, gratuities, liquor/alcoholic beverages, some meals and some transportation.

Deposits, Reservations and Cancellations.  A 50% deposit is required to guarantee your spot.  The last payment for the balance due (including any supplemental costs) shall be paid by December 15, 2013.  We only accept Payment with PayPal.  We will be happy to send you an invoice.

If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email.   After December 15, 2012, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space.  Your registration is transferable to a substitute.  If you cancel before December 15, we will refund 50% of your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To register or for questions, contact:  normahawthorne@mac.com  I am happy to set up a Skype call with you, too.  Skype name:  oaxacaculture

Felted Fabric Fashion Oaxaca Style

Making felt is one of the oldest forms of fabric known to humankind–a process more than 6,000 years old.   Felt happens when sheep wool is moistened, heated and agitated.  

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For our Felted Fashion Workshop with Jessica de Haas in Oaxaca this week, we used merino wool dyed with natural plant materials — pericone and indigo, and the cochineal insect.   At the end of the week, we had collectively created shawls, scarves, rebozos, wall hangings, pillow covers and enough ideas to feed our creative energy for some time to come. 

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We gathered in the pomegranate tree-shaded courtyard, first to see examples of great garments, including published examples of Jessica’s.  Then, we jumped into two days of preparing sample fabric swatches to experiment with the colors and materials we brought.  Jessica warned us: always make samples first to see how the fabric will look before you make a larger piece.

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On day three, we jumped into tuk-tuks to have lunch at Tierra Antigua Restaurant.  (Can you see five of us packed into that little electric go-cart?)

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Afterward, I commandeered a pick-up truck to take us up the hill to see examples of indigenous clothing made by Arte y Seda.  We were ready to delve into the process of making felted yardage that could become a garment.

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Here in Teotitlan del Valle, people weave with wool every day, but using roving (wool that is not spun) for making felt is not familiar.  Zapotec  women who came into our workspace during the week were fascinated with the process.  I am hoping to give a demonstration of the process to local women later this spring.

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Some who participated were accomplished artists, like Linda Jacque, who paints guitars for famous rock musicians.  Her colorful vision was immediately evident in the pieces she created.

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Most of us were novices or beginners to the felt making process, so the experience was both instructive and fun.

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Working with bubble wrap, soap, water, plastic baggies, and lots of elbow (and sometimes foot) grease, we rolled, pressed, and agitated the wool until it began to felt.  The fibers of the wool move together and interlock.  Our instructor, felt fashion designer Jessica  checked, demonstrated, and encouraged us every step of the way.

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By the end of each day we were ready for a TMM.  Some of us chose to keep going even after dark.

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The local color inspired us!  Oaxaca’s great food gave us sustenance. The camaraderie kept us motivated.  We learned from and supported each other.  It was a fantastic experience.

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We hope you will join us next time!

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Felted Fashion Workshop: Making Wearable Art Oaxaca Style with Wool, Silk and Cotton

For hands-on fun, escape winter and come to Oaxaca from February 2 until February 9, 2013.  Together, during this one-week workshop, we will be immersed in the textile culture of Oaxaca to create naturally-dyed felted fabric combining wool, silk and cotton that can be hand or machine stitched into an indigenous clothing design of your choice.  Our experts, textile and fiber artist-clothing designer Jessica de Haas, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada and Eric Chavez Santiago from Oaxaca, Mexico, will show you how!

 

About Your Instructors

Jessica owns the clothing design company Funk-Shui and is an award-winning, internationally known fiber artist and teacher.  She recently completed an Arquetopia artist residency in Oaxaca, and taught and exhibited at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.  See her website for bio and designs.

Eric Chavez Santiago, founding director of education at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, is a weaver and natural dye expert.  He has taught natural dyeing techniques  in Oaxaca and at  U.S. universities and museums since 2006.

Our Itinerary

First, working with Eric in his family’s home studio in Teotitlan del Valle, we will dye and over-dye wool roving with natural materials:  cochineal, indigo, wild marigold, pomegranates, nuts and other plants to achieve the colors you will use in your piece(s).  We will learn about mordant processes to fix the dye and dye extraction to create over 10 different colors.  Wool and dye recipes are included!

Then, working with Jessica in the courtyard of our B&B, we will felt our naturally dyed wool fiber on silk or loosely woven cotton or muslin, making a durable and beautiful fabric.  After your fabric is dry, you will have the option to cut and sew it into one of several indigenous Oaxaca styles:  the huipil (tunic), the blusa (blouse), rebozo (shawl), boufanda (scarf) or quechequemitl (cape).  Here is a piece from Jessica’s collection that you might like!

We give you a pattern book to choose your design! Below is a sample pattern for a quechquemitl.

This workshop is for all levels of experience!  You do not have to be an artist to attend.  We welcome beginners who have never worked in hand felting and more advanced fiber artists. This is a perfect residency for students, teachers and artists who may want to explore a different medium, too.

We will provide you with patterns for the basic indigenous designs that can be adjusted to fit.  If you want to contemporize them, we can help you tweak and make minor adjustments. If you have sewing or pattern drafting experience and want to experiment on your own, you are welcome to work on an independent design project after your fabric is made.

We will be based in the weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle where for generations families have been creating wool textiles.  During our time together, we will go on local field trips to meet and talk with weavers who work with natural dyes and weave fabric for wearable art as well as sturdier floor and wall tapestries.  We will see examples of the types of garments that can be created from the felted fabric we make.

Materials to bring (preliminary):

  • silk, loosely woven cotton, and/or muslin—3-4 meters (4.37 yards) minimum
  • beads, sequins, buttons, ribbons, embroidery thread and other embellishments  (we will also have a supply on hand that you can use, too)

Note: The materials listed are sufficient to make one garment. If you wish to prepare more than one piece of dyed felted fabric, you are welcome to bring more materials to dye.  However, it is likely you will only be able to complete one finished piece during the time allotted.

Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC will provide, included in your registration fee:

  • all instruction
  • 7 nights lodging
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 dinners
  • all dye materials
  • merino wool roving for one garment
  • pattern booklet
  • dye recipes
  • sewing machine to share, needles, thread
  • selected embellishments

Workshop is limited to 8 participants.

Daily Workshop Schedule:

Arrive Saturday, February 2, Depart Saturday, February 9 — 7 nights, 8 days

  • Day 1, Saturday, February 2, arrive and settle into your bed and breakfast posada in Teotitlan del Valle (we send directions)
  • Day 2, Sunday, February 3, natural dye workshop to prepare wool roving
  • Days 3-5, Monday-Wednesday, February 4-6, make the felted fabric on silk, cotton or muslin
  • Days 6-7, Thursday-Friday, February 7-8, create your pattern, sew and embellish the garment
  • Day 7, Friday, February 8, evening fashion show and reception
  • Day 8, Saturday, February 9, depart
(Preliminary daily schedule subject to modification.  

Workshop Fee:  $1,365 per person shared room and bath, double occupancy. Single occupancy with private bath, add $300.  Most travel programs of this type and length cost more than twice as much!

Options: 

Option 1:  Arrive a day early, on Friday, February 1, and take a Zapotec cooking class on Saturday, February 2 with Reyna Mendoza Ruiz.  Includes one night lodging, breakfast, lunch, cooking class and recipes.  $110 USD each.

Option 2:  Saturday, February 9, guided visit to Yagul and Mitla archeological sites, noted flying shuttle weaver who only works with natural dyes, boutique Mezcal palenque in Matatlan.  Excursion includes transportation, lunch, supper, admissions, and overnight lodging February 9.  $125 per person.

Option 3:  Sunday, February 10, all day excursion guided visit to Tlacolula Market, including apron and rebozo avenues!  Includes transportation, lunch, supper and overnight lodging. $75 per person.

Option 4:  Saturday and Sunday Nights in Oaxaca City.  We will arrange your stay at a lovely Bed and Breakfast in the city where you can explore the shops and dine in great restaurants.  We will provide you with a list of our favorites.  $125 per night per person.

About Our Workshops, Retreats and Programs.  We offer educational programs that are hands-on, fun, culturally sensitive, and offer you an immersion experience.   Our workshop leaders are experts in their field, knowledgeable, have teaching experience and guide you in the learning process.  Our goal is to enhance your knowledge while giving you time to explore and discover.

About Lodging and Accommodations. To keep this trip affordable and accessible, we stay in a local posada operated by three generations of women — grandmother, mother, daughter — all great cooks! The food is all housemade (including the tortillas), safe to eat and delicious.  Vegetarian options are available.

Accommodations are clean and basic.  Shared baths are across the courtyard. (Bring flip-flops and flashlight.)   The base price of the trip includes shared room and bath; single supplement with private bath is available (add $300).   Please indicate your preference.

Your registration fee does NOT include airfare, taxes, admissions to museums and archeological sites, gratuities, liquor/alcoholic beverages, some meals and some transportation.

Deposits, Reservations and Cancellations.  A 50% deposit ($683) is required to guarantee your spot.  The final payment for the balance due (including any supplemental costs) shall be paid by December 15, 2012.  We prefer Payment with PayPal.  We will be happy to send you an invoice.

If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email.   After December 15, 2012, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space.  Your registration is transferable to a substitute.  If you cancel before December 15, we will refund 50% of your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To register or for questions, contact:  normahawthorne@mac.com  I am happy to set up a Skype call with you, too.  Skype name:  Oaxacaculture

 

How to Make a Wool Felt Flower

Making a flower out of felted wool fiber is a simple art process that I learned during a workshop with Jessica de Haas, Canadian clothing designer, at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.  No one else wanted to cut into their handmade felt cloth, but I took scissors in hand and cut away.  Here was my reward!

Scrunched and dried felted wool flowers

Felted Fashion Workshop: Making Wearable Art Oaxaca Style, Feb. 4-11, 2013

Instructions:

1.  First, I made a paper pattern.  I cut four circles.  Circle 1 is 6″ in diameter.  Circle 2 is 5″ in diameter.  Circle 3 is 4″ in diameter.  Circle 4 is 3″ in diameter.

2.  Then, I pinned each circle to the felt and cut.

3.  Starting with the largest circle, fold it in half and cut into the fold about 1/2″ on both sides.  Fold it in half the other way and make another cut about 1/2″ on both sides.  Keep doing this until you end up with 16 “petals.”  Trim each of the petals so that they look like a petal!

4.  Continue the same process with each of the remaining circles.

Flat felted wool flower before sewn together and scrunched. My petals are misshapen because the scissors wasn't very sharp! Get a sharp scissors.

 

5.  Stack the circles on top of each other, largest one on the bottom, smallest one on top.

6.  With needle and thread, sew the layers together in the center.

7.  Cut a 1″ to 1-1/2″ circle and place it in the center of the flower and sew it on, leaving an opening big enough to stuff tiny wool scraps into the center to look like a button.  (Did you know the center of a flower is called a stigma and in Spanish it’s Corolla?)

8.  Squeeze the flower from bottom so that the petals form a distinctive shape.

I made my flower when it was damp, so when I squeezed, it crunched up and took a 3-dimensional shape instead of a flat pancake (as shown above).  If you like, you can wet it completely in hot water, squeeze the water out gently with two hands, and then squeeze to shape.  Let air dry in the sun or on top of a clothes dryer.

9.  Sew to a hat or pin on a jacket or make a choker necklace out of it.

Supplies list:

  • A few sheets of paper (can be recycled printer paper)
  • A good, sharp scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Scrap wool for button center (or use a button)
  • Optional: embellish with sequins or seed beads or random embroidery design

How to Felt Wool: For Beginners

Ten women gathered together at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca for a felting workshop with Jessica de Haas from Vancouver, Canada. All but one of us were raw beginners. I had knitted and then agitated my wool in a washing machine, but Jessica was quick to say this is NOT felting. Rather it is called fulling–which is the process of creating the wool structure first and then agitating it. Felting, on the other hand, is when you put wool fibers together to create structure.

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The Felting Process

1. In a large 2-3 gallon basin, add room temp water and some liquid soap, about 1T. Put aside.
2. Cover a work table with bubble wrap, bubble side up, taping it securely to the underside of the table. Work on a concrete floor or outside. The floor will get very wet. Jessica covers her floors with old towels.
3. Put a bamboo mat on the table. We used a placemat. You can use a mat for rolling sushi.
4. Cut merino wool roving into 8-12″ lengths. We used wool that had been dyed the day before with indigo, pericone, cochineal, and then overdyed to get purple, moss green and brown. The wool was prepped by separating the fibers until it was fluffy. Note: merino wool is softer and also faster to felt.
5. Pull the wool fibers gently until you get a transparent piece about 4-8″ long.
6. Lay the fibers onto the bamboo mat In ONE DIRECTION each overlapping with the one before.
7. You can mix colors and do sections in different thicknesses. Patch areas that look thin.

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8. For the second layer, lay down your wool pieces in the opposite direction. You will be creating a horizontal layer if your first layer was vertical or vice versa.
9. For the third layer, it will go in the same direction as the first layer.
10. 3 to 4 layers are preferred for strength and durability.
11. You can add wool, silk or cotton threads for texture.
12. The thinner your layers the stronger your fabric will be.
13. The cloth will expand when wet, and shrink up to 50% when dry.
14. Push the wool evenly into a square when completed, then cover with a clean piece of synthetic window screening.
15. Get a plastic bag and use it to dribble water –in thirds– over your screen covered mat.
16. Pat down each section with two hands u til wool completely absorbs the water. NO RUBBING. ONLY PATTING.

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17. Use the plastic bag (vegetable bag) to rub the water into the wool cloth using a circular motion. Do this for about 5 minutes, keeping the cloth constantly wet with the sudsy water. The wool has to be completely saturated for the fibers to begin to break down. Remove the screen.
18. Fold the thin edges over so they are the same thickness as the rest of the square.
19. Roll up the mat with the wool square I side of it and then roll it back and forth in a rocking motion with two hands, using some force like you are rolling dough with a rolling pin. Count to 50.
20. Unroll the mat. Add water. Rotate the mat so you are rolling it up again from the other direction. Repeat Step 19.
21. Repeat Step 20. Do this process for about an hour until the felted wool fibers cannot be pulled from the fabric. From time to time, you can rotate the wool cloth inside the mat to make your cloth more even. Note: there will be wrinkles, but don’t worry. Just dribble more water on and these will even out.
22. Rinse your material in hot water. Squeeze out water. Hang to dry.

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I’ll write another post about how to make a felt flower.

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