A Maker's Story: on natural wool felt
• a mini story about felt •
Wool felt is being used a fair amount at RKHQ recently -felt linings for the Roam camera bags (our collaboration with The Future Kept), felt pockets on a new collaboration with Another Escape, and felt on the brain for a few new projects.
So apart from being soft and lovely (& snuggly), why do we love (wool) felt so much?
Well, technically it's so good in so many ways. It's a non-woven fabric which means that it doesn't fray when it's cut; for a sewer this is amazing news, as you can cut allsorts of shapes from it without the need for seams. It's strong & doesn't easily pull apart thanks to the naturally crimped & elastic wool fibres. It's naturally water repellent due to the naturally present Lanolin - a thin wax that coats each of the wool fibres (isn't nature genius sometimes?!).
It's also renewable, being shorn from sheep once a year, biodegradable and naturally fire retardant (you never know when that might be useful). And it's one of the oldest man-made textiles, being felted rather than woven, the basic principles of which have continued, more or less unchanged for well over 2000 years. We like a good bit of tradition.
However, not all felt is equal, and we only want to work with the good stuff. So, ours is sourced direct from Germany (how we wish it was British but sadly such a felt isn't currently produced in the UK) and is felted from 100% merino wool. It's also naturally coloured (undyed), so a natural black felt comes from black sheep, and the light grey felt, well, light greyish sheep.
So, there we go, that's why felt is such a joy to work with, and why it's pretty much the most awesome material out there (well, super high up there on the list anyway).