Felt rolling machine

Finally I played a little with the felt rolling machine. I want to give her a name, but nothing has come to mind yet.

I am making signs to help people find my studio. It the second floor and so I need a couple. This is an ideal project to test out the beast.  I plugged it in and tried it on a dry run. – It was so noisy I lept back and turned it of with fright.

I was actually shaking.

I tried again, ready for the noise and this time the roll jumped clean out of the machine. I read the instructions over – again.  They are a little confusing, stuck to the machine on arrival there was a little sign stating the roll end should point down, yet in the instructions they were to point up. I repeatedly tried different ways and wound the tension arm to different positions, but the roll still flew across the room.

I decided to leave it for now and make my sign.

I didn’t take it quite as far as prefelt, I lifted off a lot of the water and there was very little soap. I rolled it carefully in the roll and put it in its jaws. Lowered the rollers and braced myself. It worked. I had expected  fibre and pool roll flying across the studio and hours of cleaning up, but instead the roll flew around and the noise wasn’t so bad either. Obviously it needs the weight of the felt – doh. I also watched the directions of the rolls and there is no way it could work roll end up as it would just unwind.

I followed the directions and rolling it for 1 min.  opened it and nothing had happened. Repeated it. Nothing. repeated it. Nothing.  I then left it on for 8 minute. Nothing.

I was starting to think that I could have hand felted it, fulled it and finished it by now.

In the instructions it states that soap speeds up the felting, but can make it uncontrollable. Soap it is then.

I added some olive oil soap and a little warm water, then gave it 4 minutes. This time there were signs that the ground and prefelt were felting, but the orange roving was still lifting off.

I am impatient for results – that why I love felting and so I am a little frustrated at this point.  I decided to  leave it until tomorrow.


2 thoughts on “Felt rolling machine

  1. Hi Joni,

    Thanks so much for your kind words on my feltworks blog!

    I had a lot of frustration with my machine when I first got it: chasing a project as it flew across the studio like a streamer brings those tender memories back 🙂

    Here are some things I have learned that might help out:

    The piece will felt more the closer it is to the edge of the roll so having things close to the edge (8″ from edge is the most I’ve done before the edge gets pulled off in the rolling) can help speed up the felting and using the whole roll to do multiple projects can evenly distribute the weight of the felt (good for the rolling) and maximize the felting of the piece. Small projects can drift, will be much more felted on one side than the other, and are harder to control overall. Also-it will take a lot more time to felt things in the middle of the roll, so adding hot water and soap just to the middle can help those trouble spots. I don’t use my top roller at all, leaving it up about an inch off the roll-the jostling action can be helpful to speeding up the felting.

    As for soap: too much can make the roll lock together with the suds acting like a cement & too much water can make the roll bog down in the machine (if that happens, try rolling the excess water out with a long pole). An electric kettle is a great source of super hot water, the hotter the water, the faster the felt (use thick gloves!!).

    I hope that is helpful!! It took me a good few weeks to get anything to work on the machine, but now it is like second nature!! You’ll even have an ear for the different noises that it makes!!!

    Warm Wishes,


  2. Oh, Joni, I feel for you, I would be anxious too, but surly you will quicly learn how to turn this “beast” into your big helper! Gooood Luuuck! (The sighns are lovely!)

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