Felt rolling machine

More people surf in to read my posts on my felt rolling machine than anything else on my blog.

I haven’t really written much about it, partly because I don’t have room to set it up.

My studio at home is much smaller than the one I had when I bought the machine and as I haven’t been concentrating on felt (I have been a Jack of all trade for the past year) I have needed the space for storing materials for my work with local groups etc.

My partner is pushing me to sell it as it is just taking up space, but I am reluctant to as it cost me over £1000 to buy it/ get it here from America, I hope not to be working from my flat for ever and it can save so much time and effort with certain tasks.

We have now freed up room in a cupboard and I am going to try to set it up there. With so much interest I thought I would write again and if you have anything you would like to know… please just ask.

If you are thinking about buying one, but wonder how it would be on specific projects give me a shout and I will try to do it, photograph it and write about it for you.  But be patient as it might take up to a week for me to have time.

So to what I have tried and learnt.

My machines motor was broken in transport which meant initially it was very noisy and got very hot. So my first experience was frustrating, but feltcrafts sent me a new motor very very quickly and now it works perfectly.

The first thing is that I really had to play with the machine to get it to work for me. Patience is important at first as well as experimentation. I also had a lot of support from kneek who wrote to me with things that worked for her. She has a slightly bigger machine than me.

What I find works well…

I enjoy rolling felt, it is almost like meditation, but there are times when it is wonderful not to have too. If you need to produce samples quickly to get to the design you want to use, you have to produce lots for something – craft fair, gifts etc.

It frees up creative time.

Scarves– You can lay out 3 or four scarves side by side and more lengthways if your bubble wrap is long enough. This means that time is freed up ….when you would have been rolling the machine is doing it and you are building your next ‘batch’ on a second length of bubble wrap ready for rolling.

Fabric lengths – This was great. I use prefelts and found it perfect for this. Lengths of Nuno are easy too.

Pictures and hangings – As above, but I found that I had to open it and roll from the other end part way through.

  1. I laid out my piece on normal bubblewrap on to the smooth side. The pool wrap seemed to cushion it too much and so it took longer.
  2. I wrapped a damp towel around the roll to give it a little weight (If it is already weighty from felt/water I don’t do this)
  3. I use either lining fabric or plastic on top to pressing out all the air bubbles. Any air gaps will mean the fibres will not be forced back down into the felt… they will lift away felting to themselves.
  4. If I want the piece to be fulled I use warm soapy water and roll for 5 min, open it up and add hot water – roll from the other end and put it back on to roll.
  5. I have found that leaving the top roller up just a little ‘bumps’ the roll helping speed up the felting.

Things that work OK. But require focus…

Slippers, bags or resist work – I found that you can use it for these but must get the timing right. They are great for felting the flat sides, but you have to then felt around the edges and finish them yourself. I like this, but I have a friend who found it frustrating ( I think for her she would have liked it to do more for the cost) I guess it depends on your expectations and needs.

If you do not check them regularly they can become twisted. You dont want them to felt too long as the edges can felt and you get a ridge.

For me it takes the labour out of some areas when I need to get other things done.

The negatives…

It won’t do everything … if thats what you want.

It takes time to get to know it.

It isn’t the quickest machine. You can get machines which can be speeded up or slowed down…but the cost more.

It has to be on top of something to collect the water. I had to invent something as this is not provided.

This is quite a long post and I don’t want to bore you.

There are of course other ways of doing what the machine does, but I really like it and if I were making a lot of flat items regularly, I wouldn’t even think twice at getting one.

Please feel free to contact me if I have not explained something properly or missed something out.

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