Create a Felted Wool Purse With a Seamless Pocket

Gage Evans from Arvada, Colo., makes a purse that is a seamless "pocket" made from hand-felted sheep's wool with mohair accent and a braided cord.

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Materials and Tools:

dyed sheep's wool
dyed mohair fleece
low-rimmed pan (such as a cookie sheet)
nylon netting
hot soapy water
glass washboard

Steps:

1. Arrange sheep's wool in three perpendicular layers. Add design elements with mohair fleece.

2. Cover with netting, wet with hot soapy water not quite to the edge (leaving dry fringe), and massage briefly.

3. Lay cardboard or plastic resist form on top of this fiber stack.

4. Add second design with mohair fleece.

5. Remove netting. Fold in dry fringe.

6. Arrange sheep's wool in three perpendicular layers

7. Cover with netting, wet with soapy water not quite to the edge (leaving dry fringe), and massage briefly.

8. Remove netting. Flip entire piece over and fold in the dry fringe.

9. Add on another stack of sheep's wool in three perpendicular layers. Repeat step 2.

10. Repeat process of adding wool, so that there are two stacks of three layers on each side with the resist in the middle.

11. Remove the netting and work this whole piece by rubbing on a washboard to get it full and dense.

12. While the piece is still wet, cut into the stack down to the resist. Cut small snips with sharp scissors along the top and this will create the opening of the purse. Be sure to go through all the layers until the cardboard is reached.

13. Remove the resist and turn piece inside out. Full (i.e. massage vigorously) piece further on the washboard.

14. Rinse in clear hot water. Let dry.

15. Use needle and thread to do a finishing stitch (blanket stitch) along the mouth of the purse.

16. To make the strap: Take long pieces of wool roving and roll them between your hands, wetted with hot soapy water, until they are strong and firm. Repeat for two more strands of wool roving.

17. Rinse and let dry. Braid strands and secure to purse.

Web site: www.fiberfriends.com

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