The Secret to Cutting Perfect Felt Shapes
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Would you like to know how to cut felt into perfect shapes? This quick, time-saving method revolutionized my outlook on cutting out my felt patterns. It is the best kept secret to cutting perfect felt shapes!
The secret to cutting felt perfectly every time lies in one awesome product:
This stuff is seriously amazing. Not only do I use it for all of my felt projects but it’s also great for cutting perfect appliqués using most other fabrics.
Freezer paper can be purchased on a large roll in some grocery stores (in the same place as the aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc.) For convenience, you can purchase freezer paper precut into 8.5″ x 11″ sheets, perfect for sticking straight into the printer!
How to Cut Felt – Supplies Needed to Cut Felt with Freezer Paper:
- Felt – a piece just larger than your pattern piece
- Freezer paper
- Sharp scissors (These are my favorite)
- Paper cutting scissors (Any scissors will work – just not your special fabric scissors!)
- a printer or pencil
- an iron (I use a cheap travel iron for my crafts)
The first step in learning how to cut felt – print the pattern directly onto the freezer paper. (Keep reading if you don’t want to use a printer.) Freezer paper has a paper side and a smooth, waxy side. Print the pattern on the paper side.
The example pattern shown in the photos for this tutorial is the free unicorn softie pattern!
How to Cut Felt – Notes Before you Begin
A word of caution – Although freezer paper has a waxy side, wax paper is NOT the same as freezer paper and cannot be substituted for this purpose.
If you are using the freezer paper on a roll, first cut the freezer paper into 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. Once you have the right size sheets, you can insert them in your printer the same way you would insert regular paper.
Freezer paper is also see-through enough to lay over a pattern and trace accurately. If you do not own a printer or do not want to deal with cutting the sheets to fit your printer, you can also trace your pattern directly on the freezer paper. When tracing your pattern, place the waxy side down and draw on the paper side of the freezer paper.
How to Cut Felt – Steps
After the pattern has been transferred to the paper, cut roughly around the edges using your paper cutting scissors. You can cut directly on the lines but it is not necessary.
Place the pattern piece, waxy side down, on the corresponding felt piece.
Iron the freezer paper to the felt.
Cut along the pattern lines.
It’s important to use fabric scissors, even though you will be cutting paper as well. I keep a special pair of scissors just for cutting my freezer paper felt. To get the best results, the felt should be cut with sharp scissors (Micro-tip scissors are my favorite).
Peel off the paper.
You are left with a perfect cut!
How to Cut Felt – A few things to note:
- Be careful when using an iron with acrylic felts. If the iron is left in one place too long, the felt will begin to melt.
- No need to cut multiple pattern pieces for the same shape. Freezer paper can be reused! (Each piece sticks four or five times.)
- You can also use freezer paper as a guide for sewing tricky shapes! Cut directly along the pattern line before ironing onto the fabric and cut the seam allowance around the outside. Leave the freezer paper attached and sew around the edges for a precise sewing guide.
Learning how to cut felt with freezer paper is a game changer!
Have you experimented with freezer paper? Do you have any tips for creating perfect felt shapes every time? Join the FWLD Facebook group to share your tips and tricks and learn from others!
Not ready to start sewing? Pin this post for later by clicking HERE.
felt board Archives – Mama.Papa.Bubba.
One of Grae’s favourite quiet indoor activities is playing with her felt board. It’s a good thing, because I love making new felt board games for her just as much as she loves playing with them. This is a super simple “game” that takes no time and very little skill to make, and is perfect for munchkins who are interested in letters or ready to begin learning to spell their names.
But before I begin, a few questions I’ve been asked about felt boards recently…
Where can I buy a felt board?
You can buy them at almost any teaching supply store (and even some toy stores that carry educational games), but it is very, VERY simple to create one on your own using a large sheet of felt (purchased at a craft or fabric store), a frame with with glass removed, and some glue. Making your own also means that you get to choose your size, felt colour, and frame colour, plus it’s a really inexpensive project – win! Here is a simple tutorial on how I made Miss G’s.
Dumb question, but do the felt pieces just stick onto the felt board without glue or velcro or anything else?
Yes! The beauty of a felt board is that felt sticks to felt, making felt board games good for hours of interactive fun. No glue, tape, or velcro needed. ☺
What kind of felt do you use for your projects? Is the cheap stuff found at dollar stores okay?
For felt board games, the inexpensive stuff made of recycled bottles is perfect. It costs about 30 cents per sheet, comes in tons of different colours, and can be purchased from dollar stores and craft stores.
Do you cut out every shape freehand or do you have a website where you print out shapes to trace onto the felt for cutting?
To be honest, I cut out many of the shapes freehand just because for me, it’s easier than finding a template online, printing it off, and using it as a cutting guideline. That being said, if I’m creating something more complex, I sometimes draw on the backside of the felt (the slightly shinier side) with chalk (it’s easy to wipe off afterwards) before cutting. For letters, I always print them off using a word processing program first and use them as a guide (as I did for the name game below) because I find them trickier. If you’re not a super drawer/cutter, you can always use Google images, search for your desired shapes, print them off, and use them to make the cutting process easier.
Okay, so here’s how I made Grae’s new name game…
First off, I gathered the materials… Some felt, straight pins, scissors (smaller sharp ones work best for felt), and the letters of her name printed in 300 point Illuminate font. (See some of my other favourite fonts below.)
Next, I quickly cut out around the letters, getting rid of the extra paper.
With the letters prepared, I pinned them onto my felt pieces using a single pin per letter. (Pinning right on the letter as seen in the case of the ‘r’ and the ‘e’ makes life easier… do it that way instead of pinning in the centres of the letters.)
Next, using my small, sharp scissors, I cut the letters out, cutting through both the paper and the felt at once.
The last step involves taking the pins out and removing the paper.
Voila! Easy felt letters. Now it’s time to play.
Depending on the age and interest level of your child, you could add in the letters for their middle and last names, or cut out all of the letters of the alphabet, allowing them to experiment with making other words too.
To see more easy to make at home felt board activities, click here.
Another thing I’ve been asked about a lot lately is about the fonts I use regularly here on Mama.Papa.Bubba., so I’ve put together a little collection of some of my current favourites, including Illuminate, the one I used for this project. All of them are free and Mac-friendly. Simply click on the links below to download them.
My Own Topher // Penna
SPRINGTIME // MARI & DAVID
appleberry // LoveLove
Aria Penci Roman // geeker
Matilde // SIMON SCRIPT
Janda Safe and Sound
Illuminate // Girth Control
arsenale white // HEAVY WEIGHT
MARKUS INK // RETURN TO SENDER
Elsie Tall n Skinny
Lavanderia // ANTELOPE
Large Felt Board Tutorial – At Home With Natalie
I love felt crafts! Our smaller felt board has been one of my favorite DIY’s for the kids!
Every time I shared pictures of it, people commented on how they were wanting to make one.
So I thought I would put together a Large Felt Board Tutorial
so you can see how easy and doable this project really is!
The best part of this project is that it’s both art and fun for the kids’ room!
If you’ve been thinking about making one… go for it!
If you have a sewing machine you can easily sew the blue and green felt together,
or to make this project EVEN easier, just do green! You need three things to get started:
Canvas, Felt and a staple gun!
Try to grab your canvas when it’s on sale or with a coupon. The Craft stores I shop at always have them.
I got this one at Michael’s for 40 percent off and then 25 percent off my total order!
So plan ahead and grab those canvases if you have this project in mind.
FELT BOARD SUPPLIES:
You can use any size you want!
Just make sure to get enough felt to cover and wrap around edges.
Heavy duty but no need to go crazy! Grab a basic one from a craft store or home depot!
I get felt off the bolt. and when I make the pieces I suggest Michael’s or JoAnns felt. NOT Hobby Lobby’s.
They just feel like bad quality to me.
Here are the dimesions I used for this project.
(I had a yard of each color but that is WAY more than you need.)
Blue felt Dimensions: 37.5in x 23 in
Green Felt Dimensions: 30.5 in x 37.5 in
1. Lay out felt so that blue and green overlap slightly. You can do straight across, or add hills!
Have fun with this part! It doesn’t have to be perfect….as spoken by my 7 year old to me haha.
2. Run the two through your sewing machine. Skip this part if you are doing one color felt!
3. Unwrap your canvas and arrange felt on it, turn over on floor.
4. Pull tight and staple gun around edges of canvas. Do a nice fold in the corners to make it smooth.
trim any extra felt off the back. (but don’t cut where you sewed them together!)
And you are done!
You can hang it up on the wall or leave it leaning against the wall.
This is where we are putting the felt board right now… in the girls’ room!
The kids play in both rooms..and this was a good size wall for it.
I like having it up… and might end up hanging it with a
couple nails, so that I can pull it down when it’s time to play with it, and then put it back up.
The first felt board I made was damaged during our move, so a new and improved one was on my to do list!
We decided to put a littleeeeee hill on this one so we could put Elsa’s Castle on it.
A frozen theme of felt board pieces is our next project!
I already have the felt for it and have doodled up some of the patterns on card stock.
I’ll be sure to share it with all of you!
If you want to know how I made these, most I freehanded…
but a lot I end up doodling on card stock paper, cutting out, and pinning to the felt.
It makes it easy to cut out the exact shape you want!
Every time I walk by it, it makes me smile! Sienna was little when I made most
of these felt pieces, so it’s been fun seeing Micah experience them.
He really appreciates the fire truck and stop light more than my girls ever did. haha.
The original road I made fit the size of our old felt board, which was a little shorter and wider.
But the great part about felt is that it really works well together!
I just folded the longer road a little bit around the edges of the canvas.
I can’t wait to make more pieces for our new board!
Tag me on INSTAGRAM if you end up making one and share it!
I love seeing everyone’s felt creations… have fun crafting and be sure to sign up for my bog posts
and newsletter so you don’t miss out on the Frozen Theme Felt Board Set!
If you are looking for some inspiration on what to make for your felt board…
check out this old post where I shared all the pieces I made for the kids.
What is Felting? A Beginners Guide to Wool Felting
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we may receive a small commission. See full Disclosure for details.
Learn everything you wanted to know about Needle Felting and Wet Felting in this Complete Beginner’s Guide
What is Felting? Basically, it is the process of turning a protein fiber (meaning animal fiber) such as sheep wool, alpaca, mohair, yak, etc. into a piece of fabric by connecting the individual fibers.
The wool can be in any form from raw locks to processed roving or batts and there are several different methods of accomplishing this felting process so let’s dive right in!
Needle Felted Goat Sculpture
First, a little background: How did we get into fiber and felting?
My love of wool and fiber began years ago when we acquired our first two alpacas, Godiva and Permanent Ink.
Well, little did I know that alpacas grow a lot of fiber in just one year and since they are very heat sensitive, we had to shear them every Spring.
Consequently, we very quickly realized that something had to be done with all of this fiber! We ended up with bags and bags of lovely alpaca wool fiber every year. What the heck was I going to do with it all??
The first thing we did was ask our fellow alpaca breeders how they used all of their wool and surprisingly, most of them did absolutely nothing with their fiber.
Most of them tossed the bags of fleeces in the attic because nobody had any idea what to do with them.
Personally, I did not like the idea that this wonderful natural material would go to waste. No, I wanted to turn that fiber into something wonderful.
So, after a lot of research, I discovered the world of sheep wool. What did the sheep breeders do with their wool fleeces? And that is how I was introduced to the Wonderful World of Wool Felting!
What is Felting? My Definition
Felting, in my words, is the process of producing a textile or fabric by combining and compressing the loose fibers, wool or hair.
Note: you can use fibers that are synthetic or natural. However, they won’t felt exactly the same way.
Do you remember the sheets of brightly colored felt fabric that you used in kindergarten? Those are made with synthetic fibers and mass produced by some large machines.
Honestly, I don’t know much about that process so in this article I will focus on working with natural fibers.
Nuno Felt Shawl made with Silk Chiffon Fabric, Alpaca, Sheep Wool and Silk Sliver
What is the Process of Felting?
To produce a piece of felt, you have to cause the hair or fibers to interlock with each other creating a matted fabric. This can be accomplished by applying water and agitation or by physically tangling the wool using special felting needles.
What is the difference between wet and dry felting?
There are two basic ways of felt making: Wet and Dry.
Wet Felting is the process of using water, soap and some form of agitation to cause the fibers to open up and then bind together. You can do this with raw wool fiber, washed fiber, carded batts, or processed wool roving and sliver.
This process also works for felting previously knitted, crocheted or woven items such as wool sweaters.
Have you ever accidentally shrunk a wool sweater by sticking it in the washer and dryer? That’s a form of wet felting! And, you can actually do that on purpose.
What is Dry Felting or Needle Felting? This involves using special barbed needles to basically weave the individual fibers together until they form a matted piece of fabric.
You can do this by hand with a single needle, or with a tool using multiple needles. There are also very large machines which create felt using hundreds or even thousands of needles.
See the little notches on the Felting Needles?
Wikipedia defines Felt as “a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together.
Felt can be made of natural fibers such as wool or animal fur, or from synthetic fibers such as petroleum-based acrylic or acrylonitrile or wood pulp-based rayon. Blended fibers are also common”
Check out How to Needle Felt for Beginners
How to Felt Wool: Wet Felting Method
The basic steps you use for the different wet felting methods are as follows:
- Lay out thin sections of wool or roving
- Apply soapy water
- Work water into the fibers with your hands
- Add a second layer, perpendicular to the first
- Add more soapy water and work with your hands
- Repeat steps 1-5 until the piece is thick enough for your project
- Continue working the wool with your hands until the fiber felt and bind together
- Full the felted fabric
How to felt wool by wet felting in detail:
Basically, the wool is arranged in perpendicular layers to make an interlocked piece of felt fabric. Then you apply water and soap and work it into the wool.
Next, the piece is manipulated with your hands, gently at first with gradually increasing pressure and agitation.
Finally, the piece is rolled up inside a matchstick blind, bubble wrap or a sisal mat. This is rolled back and forth a few hundred times to further felt the wool.
Once the wool fibers are sufficiently interlocked so they don’t come apart, the Fulling stage begins. Fulling the felt fabric involves dropping and throwing it on a table.
This further shrinks and hardens the wool and creates a firm piece of felt that can be cut and sewn without raveling.
Your final felted fabric will be much smaller than the original layout of wool. How much shrinkage occurs depends on the direction of the fibers and the amount of agitation and fulling. Generally, you can count on your final piece being about 25 – 30% smaller by the time you are done felting.
Raw Alpaca Fiber
Wet Felting Techniques:
Basic Wet Felting
The basic method is used for making a flat piece of felt fabric. It’s appropriate for thick, sturdy pieces such as wallhangings, coats, purses and tote bags.
The steps for basic felt making are the same as described above. The only variable is how many different layers you use to achieve the desired thickness.
Check out my tutorial for Basic Felting.
This Wet Felting Kit contains Merino & Bamboo Blended Wool, bamboo rolling mat, soap, bubble wrap, template and instructions
What is Nuno Felting? This is a relatively new technique developed by fiber artist, Polly Stirling around 1992.
The main difference with Nuno is that an open weave fabric is incorporated into the felt. This can be a super lightweight silk chiffon or a heavier muslin or even burlap depending on how heavy you want your finished piece to be.
During the nuno process, the wool fibers work their way through the fabric thereby interlocking and bonding the two materials. The Fulling process creates a wrinkled effect. Nuno is the perfect technique for making very flowy and lightweight wool shawls, scarves or even curtains.
Here is my tutorial on the Nuno Felting Method
Nuno Felted Scarves
Cobweb is also a flat technique. The wool is laid out in various thicknesses so that the final felt fabric has a lot of texture with thick and thin areas and even holes. The fiber has to be thoroughly felted and fulled to make sure the piece does not come apart.
Cobweb is a good technique for scarves, shawls, wraps and wall hangings.
How to Felt Wool with the Cobweb Felting Method
Cobweb Felted Shawl
Lattice Wet Felting means just what is says – creating felt fabric with a lattice pattern. A flat method which makes beautiful scarves, shawls and wraps.
There are two different techniques for creating the lattice felt:
1. Felting a piece of fabric and then cutting out the “negative” areas, leaving the lattice work.
2. Laying out the wool in a lattice pattern in the beginning.
The first method is a bit easier, especially for beginning feltmakers. The second method is a little more challenging since you have to work the individual strands.
Learn How to Make Lattice Felt
Lattice Felted Scarf with Felted Flowers
3 Dimensional means any wool felted piece that is not flat such as a bowl, hat or slippers. Generally, you felt over a mold or support of some kind such as a bowl for hats and vases. I’ve also seen hats felted over balloons.
It’s also possible to create 3D pieces using a Resist (next section).
Here’s how I created Wet Felted Easter Eggs
This Needle Felting Kit contains: natural color wool, glass eyes, two felting needles, felting cushion, detailed instructions with photographs
3D Felted Easter Eggs
The Resist Felting Process uses a barrier of some sort to keep certain areas from bonding together. Often, this is can be a sheet of heavy plastic. The Resist is placed between layers of wool which are then felted. When the Resist is removed, there will be two separate layers of felt.
This method can be used to make 3D felt objects such a bowls or cat caves and it can be used to give flat pieces some dimension and texture.
Here is how to Make a Felt Bowl with the Resist Method
Felted Slippers made with a Resist
Those are the main Wet Felting Techniques which can also be combined to create various textures and effects. For instance, I often combine the Nuno and Cobweb Techniques in my shawls to give them structure with the fabric but also make the shawls lightweight by thinning out the wool.
Here are a few other projects:
How to make Wool Dryer Balls – an eco friendly alternative to using dryer sheets or tennis balls to dry your laundry.
Felted Soaps – a great project for beginners. Also a fun way to introduce children to wool.
Wet Felting Supplies
Wool fiber or Protein aka animal fiber includes sheep wool, alpaca, mohair (goat), cat fur, dog, human hair … all of those are protein fibers.
This can be in any form such as raw wool, washed raw wool, roving or carded fiber and locks as well as yarn.
This is my favorite roving, perfect for super soft scarves and shawls.
For beginning felters, Knit Picks has affordable roving in white or multi colors. They also carry a line of Feltable Yarns.
This Complete Kit includes everything you need to get started!
FAQ about Wool:
Can I felt with Synthetic Wool?
If you look at a single hair from a sheep under a microscope, you’ll notice that it is not smooth. There are scales along the shaft of the hair. Hot water causes those scales to open up.
When you apply hot water to a bunch of sheep wool, the barbs on the individual hairs open and attach to each other.
Can I Wet Felt with Cotton or Silk Fiber?
Cotton is a plant fiber which is smooth and does not have scales so it will not adhere to other fibers with this process. While Silk is a protein fiber, highly processed silk is also very smooth and does not felt well.
It is possible, however, to “trap” non-felting fibers within wool for added texture or a pop of color.
Matchstick Blind or Bubble Wrap
If you’re going to make this a hobby or perhaps a side job, I highly recommend you get a Matchstick Blind to help you with the hard rolling back and forth of your pieces. Matchstick Blinds also give you the option of making larger pieces and they tend to last a long time. Just make sure to buy an unstained blind vs. a dyed or stained blind.
If, however you only want to make a few, smaller pieces of felt, Bubble Wrap will be sufficient. It’s a bit more slippery to work with (especially when wet), but it will do the job.
You will need a sprinkler of some sort to wet your wool fiber. The important thing here is that you want to be able to control how much water is applied at a time.
When I first began felt making, I used an old vinegar bottle with holes punched in the cap. This worked just fine for a while but getting the flow of water right can be a bit tricky.
For my larger pieces, I bought an inexpensive Garden Sprayer. These usually hold 1 gallon of water which is great when you are making a large shawl or wallhanging. The nozzle can be adjusted to control the flow of water.
A great option for small pieces is a Bottle Cap Sprinkler which fits on water bottles as well as 2 liter soda bottles.
There are many different opinions about which soap is best to use. Honestly, I’ve tried a wide variety of soaps from solid to liquid, expensive and cheap soaps. All of them will work fine but there are some other considerations.
Some felters swear by this Olive Oil Soap because it works really well and it keeps your skin from drying out. Plus, if you are using soft water, Olive Oil Soap will be much easier to wash out of your felt fabric.
Here in Kentucky, the water is very hard so rinsing is not as much of an issue for me. Normally, I use clear liquid dish soap and/or plain Ivory soap bars. Stay away from any colored soaps, though. They usually have dyes which can discolor your wool.
Other than that, the only items you will need are a sturdy table, plastic table covers, some old towels and bits of nylon hose for tying your rolled matchstick blind.
Let’s move on to Needle Felting!
How to Felt Wool: Needle Felting
What is Needle Felting?
With Needle Felting, you use special, barbed needles to tangle the fibers together until they form a matted piece of wool. The needles are repeatedly pushed through layers of wool.
Needle Felting Tool
This can be done by hand with a single or multiple needles or it can be done by machine. There are a variety of machines available from smaller, hand held models to larger tabletop felting machines type models.
Larger felting machines or looms utilize hundreds or even thousands of needles to produce very large pieces of felted fabric.
CAUTION: This is NOT a suitable activity for children. These needles are super sharp and can be dangerous.
Needle Felting Techniques:
The basic felting process is the same regardless of the technique used. One or more needles are repeatedly pushed through wool and back out again. Over and over which causes the fibers to mat together.
If you’re using a special mat or foam underneath your piece, you’ll have to lift your wool off the mat occasionally as the fibers will penetrate the mat.
There are basically two different techniques: Flat and Three Dimensional Felting
Flat Needle Felting
Just as the name implies … this means making a flat piece of felt fabric. You can make a sheet of felt consisting of felted wool fibers alone or you can needle felt on top of another piece of fabric.
You can also make shaped felt pieces by using cookie cutters or other molds to shape your felt as you work.
And you’re not limited to loose wool. Yarn, roving, silk sliver or other felt can be needle felted onto other pieces as decoration.
This technique works great for making scarves, decorating pillow cases, wallhangings or purses.
Here is a video which shows you how to make Needle Felted Embellishments. Also, this video shows you the basic steps.
Check out how to make a Needle Felted Pincushion using a Felted Dryer Ball and dyed wool locks.
Pincushion: Wool Locks Needle Felted over a Felt Dryer Ball
3 Dimensional Needle Felting
Needle felted soft sculptures seem to be all the rage these days! This fiber art form has really become popular among crafters.
I see a lot of wool animal sculptures, faces, gnomes, Santas, mushrooms, you name it. Some of these little felted sculptures look almost life like.
Personally, I have not attempted to make animals or sculptures but that is definitely on my to do list. I did find a few great basic tutorials.
This video shows you how to make a needle felted sheep.
Here’s a great tutorial on How to Needle Felt a Penguin
This tutorial shows you how to Make a Miniature Needle Felted Dog
This is a very good article on How to Needle Felt which outlines 3 different techniques.
Needle Felted Goat
Needle Felting Supplies:
If you’re just learning how to needle felt, you may want to get an all in one needle felting kit. Hint: Make sure that the kit you choose also contains the needles. I’ve seen some that only contain wool roving and instructions.
Felting Wool or Roving
Unlike with wet techniques, the wool you use for needle felting does not necessarily have to be a protein aka animal fiber. Since you are not relying on the scales of the protein fiber to interlock, synthetic wool can be used.
However, animal fiber such as sheep wool may needle felt easier since the fibers are not a slick as a nylon fiber, for instance.
Wool comes in many different forms from raw, unwashed wool to processed roving and yarn. Any of these fibers will work just fine.
Raw Sheep Wool Locks
Wool roving comes in many natural and dyed colors and is easy to work with. Yarn is good for embellishments and decorations but keep in mind that you may need to use heavier gauge needles.
If you’re just starting out, you may find wool roving easier to work with than raw wool fiber.
As I explained above, these are special needles which have barbs and notches along the sides to help grab the wool. Felting needles come in various sizes or gauges. The larger the gauge number, the finer the needle.
Finer needles are useful for smaller projects or more detailed felted sculptures or embellishments. They will not leave holes.
Larger needles are good when you need to make a bigger piece or you are using coarser fiber. They will leave holes in your finished felt.
For small pieces, you can simply use one needle or a pen style felting tool, which holds 3 needles. For bigger projects, you will want a larger tool which uses 5 or more needles. They’re available with fine or heavy tipped needles, so pay attention to your needle gauge.
As I mentioned previously, these needles are wicked sharp and therefore I also recommend that you use Finger Protectors.
Foam or Mat
What is Felting Foam? Foam or Mats are the base that you place under your project. As you push the needles through the wool, they will stab into the felting mat.
This protects not only you, but also the needles which are somewhat delicate and break easily.
If you’re just starting out and want to save money, you can use a large sponge as a underlayment or mat. These are inexpensive and readily available at any big box or auto part store.
Just be aware though, that sponges are not as firm as felting mats so you may want to lay something tougher underneath. Also, sponges are not as durable and won’t last as long as a mat, but for a beginner, they will work just fine.
Specialized Felting Mats come in a variety of sizes and materials from woolen to dense foam. Some people prefer to use Mat Brushes.
They all serve the same basic purpose. I think the main difference is how much of the wool gets embedded in the mat and how well the mat holds up to the needles.
A few additional thoughts:
Where Can I Find Wool?
Sources of wool other than online ordering:
Fiber and Wool Festivals are usually fun gatherings of many fiber producers and vendors.
Wool Festivals give you the advantage of meeting and talking with the farmers or fiber producers to find out about their animals and the wool.
You can see and touch a large variety of fibers from angora to alpaca to buffalo and yak wool. Plus, you usually have the option of purchasing an entire fleece or just small amounts.
Local Yarn Shops are fun places to browse and usually carry felting supplies. Bonus … it’s always good to support small businesses.
Where Can I Learn Other Techniques?
When you are just starting out, YouTube videos and tutorials are a great place to learn how to felt, however they can’t compare to hands-on learning.
Classes or Workshops are definitely the best (and most fun) way for you to learn. Not only do you get one-on-one attention from the instructor, but you also get to meet wonderful people with the same interests.
I recommend you check your local yarn shops and fiber festivals for workshop schedules.
Is Felting an Expensive Hobby?
As with most things, that totally depends on you! If you use ultra fine alpaca fiber to felt a large shawl, for instance, that can get expensive. On the other hand, it is possible to make smaller pieces for just a few dollars.
Needle Felting is, in general, less expensive. And, once you acquire the felting needles and pad, the only thing you need to replace is the wool. This needle felting kit is a great buy for beginners!
There you have it … everything you need to know to get started with this wonderful craft. I hope you give this fun fiber art a try!
3D or Resist
Felted Dryer Balls
Wet Felted Easter Eggs
How to Needle Felt (for Beginners)
DIY Wool Dryer Balls with Needle Felt Designs
What is Felting? A Beginner’s Guide
DIY Felt Board Tutorial | Quiet Book Queen & Crafts in Between
Felt boards are such a fun, interactive, and SCREEN FREE activity for children of all ages. Felt naturally sticks to felt, so you can use this board for so many activities. One year olds may just like to stick felt pieces to it, while 2, 3, 4, 5, 6+ year olds can create imaginative stories, play learning games, or just have some creative fun with pieces!
(Make sure to check out the links at the bottom to some of my free templates and a special deal for my felt stories). Check out my felt stories here.
They are also so versatile and easy to make! You can hang them on a wall for vertical play or you can make them for floor or lap play (good for traveling too!!). I will show you how to make both below.
Another benefit – they are pretty cheap to make and are great handmade gifts!
So let’s get started!
Supplies: picture frame, felt, scissors or rotary cutter, Mod Podge
1. Buy a picture frame of the size of your choice. This is where your project can get more expensive depending on which frame you choose. You can make it part of the decoration of the room with a large, thick frame like this one! It is from Hobby Lobby and is 22″ x 28″ I got it 50% off for $30.
Or you can get larger poster type frame that has a plastic frame cover instead of glass. This one is from Michael’s and was about $11, plus I used a 40% off coupon! Here is something similar on Amazon.
This one is a Fiskbo 12″ x 16″ frame from Ikea for $3. 49. It also has a plastic cover, and comes in a lot of fun colors.
Depending on the size of your frame, you may need a yard of felt (36″) or 1/2 a yard (18″). It is around $8 a yard for craft felt (and goes up from there if you want a wool blend). Craft felt can be found on the bolt at Joann’s or Beverly’s, maybe even Walmart. Here is one you can order on Amazon. You can choose a neutral background like black or you can have it be light blue to represent a sky, ocean, etc.
2. Take out the cardboard and glass/plastic. You will use the plastic next if your frame came with it. If it came with glass, use the frame backing and get rid of the glass.
3. Cut a piece of felt that is a few inches larger than your backing on all sides.
4. Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the plastic or cardboard/frame backing with a paint brush. You want enough to make your felt stick, but not too much to make the felt squishy. You will need to work quickly because it dries fast.
5. Place the felt over the backing and press it firmly down all over.
6. Flip it over and cut off the excess felt on all sides. A rotary cutter makes it really easy if you have one. Otherwise, you can use sharp scissors. If some of the sides are lifting up, you can add some more Mod Podge. You may need to press down for 20-30 seconds to get it to hold. The cardboard may start to warp because of the dampness of Mod Podge, but it will be fine once it is in the frame.
7. Place the felt in the frame so it is showing through (no glass or plastic should cover it). Flip it over to make sure the felt is smooth in all places. Put the frame back together to secure it.
8. Hang it up! I used Command Strips so I didn’t have to put holes in the wall.
Supplies: flat canvas, tray, or plastic container with a lid, felt, scissors or rotary cutter, Mod Podge, and paint brush
1. Decide what type of base you’d like. You can make it out of a tray (this one is Fungera from Ikea and was $4. 99). Michael’s also has plastic trays or you can check the Dollar Store. Here is one I found on Amazon.
You can also use this flat canvas board. It comes in various sizes and costs from $2-4 depending on the size. If you want to make several for gifts or for a preschool class, you can buy them in bulk on Amazon here.
Another option is some sort of plastic container where you put the felt in the lid and then you can store the felt sets in the container part.
2. Measure and cut a piece of felt for the background. This time you want it to be the exact size (or slightly smaller) of the surface in which you are adhering it. Like above, you can use black or light blue felt and will most likely need 1/2 yard of felt. (Or use the leftover felt from the hanging felt board so you can have both options!)
3. Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the tray with a paint brush. You want enough to make your felt stick, but not too much to make the felt squishy.
4. Lay the felt down over the Mod Podge and press down firmly. You may need to hold the corners down for 15-20 seconds.
5. Wipe off all excess Mod Podge that may be showing and let it dry for a few hours or over night.
Now that you are on your way to getting a felt board…here’s a free template for a felt heart matching learning activity.
I also make all sorts of felt story sets for endless imaginative play – dinosaurs, farm, pirates, ocean, Three Little Pigs, Five Green and Speckled Frogs, the alphabet, and so much more! Some were pictured in this post. You can buy them pre-cut or save some money and cut them yourself. Either way they also come in a nice cotton storage bag (also seen in this post). Check them out here!
felt right | Customizable Felt Wall Tiles
What Gives Felt Right Tiles Their High-Quality, Beautiful Appearance?
Our felt panels have a warm, wool-like appearance with durable and wear-resistant constructions. Using a high-density, engineered PET felt board, beautiful chamfered edges, and engraved patterns that reflect your creativity, we fabricate our felt wall tiles to your exact specifications.
How Effective are Felt Right Tiles at Dampening Sound?
Felt Right tiles have an NRC (noise reduction coefficient) of .35. That means they absorb roughly 35% of the sound they come in contact with. Felt Right’s tiles often have a noticeable effect on your space’s acoustics, but the level they affect your sound depends on the surface.
Will My Tiles Work With Pins?
Felt Right tiles work with pins because we make them using high-quality, dense PET felt board. The PET felt board makes them perfect for pinning and repinning as many times as you want.
What Are Felt Right Tiles Made From?
We make Felt Right tiles from 100% PET plastic. Using PET plastic improves our sustainability and reduces our environmental impact. By reclaiming at least 50% of the plastic we use from discarded water bottles, we keep four water bottles out of the waste stream with every 12×12 felt wall tile we use.
How Do Felt Right Tiles Contribute to Healthy Indoor Air Quality?
Felt Right tiles adhere to strict quality standards and ensure our products do not contain any red-list chemicals or materials harmful to your health . Our materials have also been tested to confirm they do not emit any harmful gasses into the places where you install your designs.
Where Are Felt Right Tiles Made?
We make our felt panels in-house in Salt Lake City, UT. Our headquarters are located at the base of the beautiful Wasatch Mountain Range, which provide a backdrop almost as beautiful as our custom felt wall designs.
What Are the Felt Right Tile Sizes?
Felt Right tiles come in 6 distinct sizes that are designed to work together in our Design Studio:
Square 12×12 (11 7/8 actual)
Triangle 12×12 (11 7/8 actual)
Shiplap 24×6 (23 3/4 x 5 15/16 actual)
Half 12×6 (11 7/8 x 5 15/16 actual)
Quarter 6×6 (5 15/16 actual)
Please note that dimensions are nominal and exact dimensions are slightly smaller (for example: 12” tiles are actually 11 ⅞”). All tiles are 3/8 inches thick.
Can Tiles Be Cut on Site to Specific Sizes?
Yes, we can cut our tiles to specific sizes and dimensions using a craft knife and a straight edge.
What Is the Tile Thickness?
Felt Right tiles are ⅜ inch or 9mm thick.
Do Felt Right Tiles Reduce Sound Transmission From or Through a wall?
Our felt tiles deaden sound transmission from nearby spaces. Multiple customer reviews highlight this benefit. However, we have not fully calibrated Felt Right tiles Sound Transmission Coefficient (STC), so we can’t accurately calculate the sound reduction range.
Do Felt Right Tiles Meet Flammability Requirements for Commercial Applications?
Yes. Made with material that has undergone ASTM E-84 testing, our felt panels are considered a Class B material for commercial specifications.
Will Quilting Fabric Designs Stick to Felt Right Tiles Without Pins?
No. Quilting designs will not stick to Felt Right tiles without pins. However, many quilters use pin boards to showcase their designs.
What is Felt ? 5 FAQ answered on felt fabric
Felt – definition
Felt is a nonwoven thick fabric made by compressing and felting different types of fibers using techniques that involve heat, moisture and pressure. Layers of fibers are kept together to achieve the wanted thickness and then they are matted/entangled/interlocked to make the fabric you call ‘felt’.
It may be soft and supple or tough and coarse according to its purpose and the way it is made – through artisanal techniques or industrial ones
Common Felt Facts
1. What is felt made of?
Cotton, rayon, fur, acrylic, wool fibers are used for felting, though what you call the ‘true felt’ is made of wool fibers.
The craft felt that you get for crafts is usually a blend of fibers or acrylic. This felt is a little stiff and somewhat weak.
Felting, the process of making felt, has been practiced for centuries. In fact, it is one of the oldest methods of making fabrics, like net fabrics. Wool fibers were felted in China/Central Asia tens of thousands of years ago and made into soft and supple fabric.
Felting is the process of pressing together and matting ﬁbers so that they interlock. Felting is done with special machines or with felting needles.
2. Main types of Felt
Wool felt is made by layering carded and combed wool fibers at 90 degrees in thick layers and heat, soap and friction (agitation) are used to interlock and entangle the scales of these fibers. A mechanical action is used in industrial setups and artists felt by pricking with specialized needles.
The resultant wool felt fabric is very soft and air permeable. Wool felt is supple (can be shaped). It is the most durable, and thicker because of its make and fibers. It also doesnot pill like the other felts. It is usually treated with lanolin to make it water resistant and slightly antibacterial. But the downside is that it is expensive and also because it is thicker can be a little difficult to sew.
Acrylic felt is very inexpensive and easily available (in most craft shops) in vivid colorfast colors. It does not shrink after washing. But there are downsides too, many more than wool felt. Not as supple as wool felt and not as durable or strong. Nor as environment friendly because it is after all plastic. The final verdict is that it is not the best for making long-lasting things but when you do not have a choice they are good enough.
3. What are the uses of felt?
Felt is used to make garments and accessories though it is mostly used for industrial purposes. Padding, soundproofing, insulation, filtering, polishing and wicking are some of the uses of felt.
It is used for decorations and to embellish accessories like hats, sandals. A lot of people are thrilled to wear cute jewelry made with felt. Brooches are embroidered and beaded with a felt background. Some use felt as a backing for fabric projects like coasters because of its coarse texture
Related posts : 4 ways to Make felt roses. ; Make flowers with felt : 10 tutorials
4. How to cut and sew with felt?
Cutting felt is fairly easy with sharp scissors. If you want to cut out letters for decorating you can do it using freezer paper.
Wool felt is easy to sew than acrylic felt. Basically, felt is as easy to sew as any other fabric. You can sew felt with a sewing machine or easily hand stitch.
The main advantage in sewing with felt is felt does not fray at the edges. This makes it easy to sew because you can just make overcast stitches or blanket stitches along the edges. This can be done to the outside for a decorative finish. And no need of any extra finishing of cut edges on the inside.
Check out this post on the easy hand stitches you can use to sew felt.
Felt has no grain ( no warp or weft) so you do not have to be careful of the grainline when cutting pattern pieces from felt
The disadvantage of making clothes with felt is that it is not as flexible or has the elasticity of a fabric made of woven or knitted yarns. It is not as pliable as say a cotton fabric, so if you want drape, choose another. The fabric is slightly stiff, so you will have to choose patterns suitable for this.
Do not use very thick needles with felt as you may leave holes in this almost delicate fabric.
Craft felt stretches at the seams but wool felt not so much.
When embroidering on felt fabric the first dilemma I faced was how to transfer the design. Because I was not planning to wash the felt article I wanted a method that will not be visible at all after the work was done. The method described here seems perfect. This is the same method I use to embroider letters.
Transfer your design on to butter paper and then keep it on top of the felt; now embroider them together. ie you will be embroidering through the butter paper on to the felt. After you are done simply peel off the butter paper carefully.
5. How to wash and maintain felt?
Felt doesn’t have the strength of woven or knitted fabrics. The stretch recovery of felt is also poor ie once you stretch it out of shape it stays like that forever. Shrinkage is another big problem. In short you have to be very careful when you wash felt ; the best thing is to get it drycleaned. If that is not ok, hand wash in cold wash. No hot wash or tumble wash in the washing machine or heat drying in the dryer.
Do not use the dryer – the heat in the dryer will damage felt. Air/line dry flat and iron in low heat settings.
Related posts : Animal fibers and fabric ; Different types of wool fabric ; More about textiles.
News from Kazakhstan – MTRK “MIR” Children of the Great Steppe. The art of making felt.
Kazakhstan is one of the few places on Earth where you can see how corpe is made. These thin mattresses, stuffed with sheep or camel wool, are the most important element of the nomadic culture of the Kazakhs. For the steppe, who spent most of his life on the road, light and practical corpses were irreplaceable. Thanks to them, the nomad could comfortably rest and sleep. Korpe replaced the nomads not only with mattresses, but also blankets, chairs, beds and carpets.Corpé production technology has not changed for hundreds of years. For stuffing, sheep wool was more often used, as the more common. Elderly Kazakh women still use it in the manufacture of corpse. Cleaned from debris, washed and combed wool is placed on a special straw mat. Straw is also harvested for this using a special technology. Only women make corpse in Kazakhstan. During felting, they sing ritual songs that have come from ancient times.
The outer part of the body is sewn from scraps.This is also part of the original history of the Kazakhs. Pieces of cloth were distributed at weddings, large festivities – toys. They were believed to bring happiness. The headscarves of long-lived women, as well as the clothes of famous batyrs, were cut into pieces and served as amulets. It was from these scraps that the covers for the corpé were sewn. The fabric was sewn into certain patterns, each of which carried a symbolic and sometimes sacred meaning. Even a small piece of matter went into action. In general, nothing was wasted in the nomadic civilization.The artisan Mumina-apa honors the traditions of her ancestors.
In our ancestors, all parts of the animal were used. Nothing was thrown away. No bone, no horn, no entrails, no wool. The wool was divided into two types. From the one that was cut in the summer, they made socks and mittens. And from autumn wool they made corpe and yurts.
During felting, the wool must be watered with hot water. To make the work easier, some craftswomen add soap to the water. Then the wool rolls off more easily. But real professionals use only clean water. This felt will last longer. Old people are saddened that young people have begun to forget the craft with a thousand-year history.
I am sad that the young do not know how to roll wool. We try to pass on the secrets of craftsmanship to the younger generation. But young people do not want to study. Many people do not use all parts of a slaughtered animal like they used to. Throw away the insides, don’t cook them. Most upsetting, even the wool is thrown away.
Usually, together with thin stuffing for corpé, women also make thick felt, the so-called kiiz.They covered yurts. The floor of the yurt was also covered with felt. Such felted wool is called tekemet or syrmak. The felt that is hung on the walls of the nomads’ portable dwellings is tus kiiz or irge kiiz. It serves not only for decoration, but also for home insulation. White wool felt is especially prized.
Rich people ordered white wool kiiz and tekemet. Poor people used to roll yurts and floor rugs of black or brown wool.
The nomads who once inhabited Asia had different technologies for felting.Kazakh women used the elbow method. The craftswomen knelt down and rolled the straw roller with their elbows. The work took many hours. It is clear that such work is not attractive to young people now. But the old people still do not lose hope of passing on the secrets of their ancestors to their descendants.
To interest young people, we make fashionable bags, cases for mobile phones from felt. We want the art of felting to be preserved. After all, felt has very useful qualities.It even has medicinal properties.
Today you can find a corpse in almost every Kazakhstani apartment. The custom of giving these thin mattresses to a girl as a dowry has also been preserved. It is believed that the higher the pile of corpé, which the bride brings to the groom’s house, the richer their family life will be. There are corpés made to celebrate a baby’s birth, prom or anniversary. True, now in most modern buildings, cotton wool, foam rubber or synthetic winterizer are used as packing.But the old people hope that love for the real history of the people will return, and women, like centuries ago, will make corpé and tekemets from wool.
Author: Nazar Akhmarov
Photos: Daniyar Abdrakhmanov
OTHER TRADITIONAL NEWS
Yurt. Small universe of a nomad | Publications
1 Building material for a yurt – wood, felt, leather. Sections of its easily disassembled and assembled walls (khan) are made of thin wooden poles.1 A medium-sized yurt has six or eight such sections, and if there are twelve, then it is already a large front or guest yurt. Thin poles 2 – uni – connect the walls with the smoke hole, forming a cone-shaped roof. Sunlight also penetrates through the smoke hole – toono 3. Outside, the lattice walls and roof are covered with large pieces of felt 4. The pieces are long, 6–8 m, four to eight are required. In the summer, the yurt is covered with them in one layer, in the winter – in two (in the twentieth century they began to pull a white cloth, usually waterproof, on top of the felt).The structure is wrapped on top with thin, but very durable leather or horsehair ropes so that both the felt and the fabric fit snugly against the walls. In summer, the yurt is placed directly on the ground, and in the heat, the edges of the felt cover are raised for ventilation. In winter, returning to the place of permanent parking, the yurt is placed on a plank floor, which is covered with pieces of old felt and skins. A strong rope descends from the center of the smoke hole to the floor, to which a very massive stone is tied.It gives the yurt wind resistance, and strong winds blow on the Mongolian steppe almost all year round. In the center of the yurt there is hearth 5 – the main sacred object of any human dwelling. It is based on three large stones – avyn gurvan chuluu, “three paternal stones”. These stones travel together with the yurt, and when it is installed, they are first placed in the place of the future hearth. Near the hearth, vertically (if there are two of them) or slightly at an angle (if there is one), there is a bagana 6 – a support pillar or pole, resting with the lower end against the floor, and with the upper end, having a fork, against the rim of the smoke hole.It is a symbol of the magical connection between generations and times. When a child was born in the family, a small notch was made at the fork of the pole; during childbirth, the woman often held on to the bagana with both hands. Sometimes he was taken to the cemetery with the deceased, and a new one was cut out for the yurt. On the hearth there is a metal support 7, capable of holding a large cast-iron cauldron 8, in which mutton is boiled and tea with milk and salt is prepared. The boiler is not washed, the remains of food are not scraped from its sides, they are simply rinsed – this, according to the nomads, is tastier, and the water in the steppe must be protected. Ready tea is poured into dombo 9 – a tall wooden vessel standing next to the hearth, in which the drink is kept warm for a long time. In the middle of the twentieth century, dombos were replaced by Chinese thermoses. They were exchanged for skins of tarbagans at the “rate” of 10: 1. Considering that almost everyone hunted the lazy tarbagans that had eaten over the summer during the season, the exchange was quite profitable. The space between the hearth and the altar is occupied by a low table and several small stools 10 – for guests. The hosts usually sit cross-legged on the floor.There is only the hostess, she pours tea or broth into bowls. Boiled meat is placed on the table separately in a large bowl. Each guest cuts off the part he likes himself and gnaws at it for a long time. It is considered indecent to return an unchewed bone. The owner treats the alcoholic. He pours an intoxicating drink into a large bowl and, holding it with both hands, first brings it to the most honored and respected guest. It is necessary to take a sip (it is not accepted to drink to the bottom) or at least take a sip. And in the same way, with both hands, return the bowl to the owner, who refills it and passes it on to the next guest.In any yurt there are two obligatory amulets: a chagtag rope 11, braided between the uni and resembling lamb intestines, – a symbol of wealth and prosperity, and a bag of grain and scraps of wool 12 – a sacrifice to the spirit – the keeper of the hearth.
In a house that has to be disassembled and transported to a new place several times a year, there can be nothing superfluous, and everything you need should be in strictly defined, traditionally consecrated places
If you travel for a very long time along the Mongolian steppe and not one hundred kilometers, attention is dulled by the monotony of replacing each other, but very similar details of the landscape: grass, hill, bush, Mongolian marmot – a curious tarbagan standing in a column not far from the road and diving into a burrow at the sound of a motor . .. But because of a turn a yurt appears on the road, and a smoke coils from it, and you are immediately seized by the anticipation of hot tea with milk, salt and other nomadic additives.Which ones exactly? Dried milk froths, lumps of dried cottage cheese, fried meat ground into flour, and if not, then fried wild barley flour. Stir all this, but in no case with a spoon, but only with your own finger – it tastes better! If you are very lucky and in the yurt they recently drove moonshine from milk (and from what else to drive it in a cattle-breeding country?), Then a spoon or two of the slightly intoxicating substance remaining after distillation (in our opinion – bards, and in Mongolian – arzi) will also be splashed into tea.And then, finally, in small sips, you can start drinking this divine drink, the most delicious get-half-soup, and feel how the tension slowly leaves the body, tired on the road.
However, it may turn out that there is no one in the yurt. If the owners are away for a short time – for example, in a hollow between two neighboring hills, where their flock of sheep grazes – then the door of the yurt is not locked, there is simply a stick attached to it from the outside. This means that the owners are not far away and will be arriving soon. And if you honk, they say, guests have arrived, in a few minutes a rider will appear, perhaps not even one.And immediately the law of Mongolian hospitality comes into force. The owner, if he is at home, hears the sound of a car approaching or the snort of someone else’s horse, comes out to meet you, helps tie the horse to the hitching post, or waits for you to get out of the car.
FELT YELLOW PREMIUM-600gr 4mm HARD POLISH VARIUS
Description: Polish production. The proposed felt is perfectly smooth and pleasant to the touch, has bright colors, and does not dye its own and does not fade.No stretch, no tear, abrasion resistant (not mechaci). The banks are stable (not siępia) or laser leads to the fact that it does not absorb and easily sticks to other materials. completely smooth. We draw your attention to the fact that impregnation can be applied to it in a different shade from the right side. The felt is made from new types of synthetic fibers (without any additives from recycled fibers). There is water vapor) instead of metal needles, the fibers are exposed to igłowaniu by thin jets of water, thanks to why it is perfectly smooth and has no visible holes from the needle, and most importantly, there are no broken needles in it, which makes it absolutely safe for people, animals and objects from which it comes into contact.
Production of plastic bags and fancy products.
Fabric for mugs and art.
Upholstery for furniture and automobiles.
Floor mats for children.
Wall cladding and doors.
Carpet for a wedding or a party (thick, thanks to which it does not interfere with walking in high heels)
Costumes and scenery for theatrical performances.
Transfer of bracers, nagolenic, combat gloves.Wyściełanie helmets.
Used as an overlay for glass and assembly work tables.
Restoration of saddles, sewing czapraków, strengthening szorów, etc.
Cut the felt from a roll 100cm / – 2cm wide.
Buying one piece, you will receive 0.5 m (floor – m) felt or felt, which gives you a piece dimensions: 100cm x 50cm.
When buying 2 pieces, that is, 1m you will receive a piece measuring 100cm x 100cm.
When buying 3 pieces, i.e. 1.5 m, you will receive a piece of 100cm x 150cm, etc.
In case you buy several pieces, we will send the felt in one piece (does not apply to paczkomatów) … With large orders, it is possible that the roll will end and we will start cutting the next one. In this case, you will receive the felt in two parts.
ATTENTION! BEFORE YOU CHOOSE DURING DELIVERY, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION
Paczkomaty can fit up to ten pieces of felt, but have limited cells in length.In the safe, a maximum of one felt art occupies the length. The width of a roll with felt is 100cm, so if you purchase several pieces of the same type and choose delivery within, the felt will be cut into pieces one game at a time, that is, after 50cm x 100cm.
Felt in excess of 1 piece, if in total, must be sent by courier.
Felt: wonder in wool
Anton Agarkov writes anton-agarkov : Most of us are used to the fact that wool is the fur coat of animals.Sometimes they are sheared, and threads are made of wool, and then sweaters and other warm things are knitted from them. And with the word “felt”, many will most likely immediately remember about felt boots. But there are people in whose hands thin hairs are folded into patterns and paintings, bags and scarves, toys and sculptures. Like any other material, the pliable wool can be given many different looks. Felt craftswoman Viktoria Kozyr ( devochka_vika ) chose flowers as her main models.
(Total 32 photos)
2. When I arrived at the small Felt store, Victoria was already waiting for me in a special room of the store equipped for master classes. On a large table lay pieces of wool, needles for felting and blanks for future work.
5. – Hello. While I was waiting for you, I already did something, – said Vika, putting woolen strands on the iris flower. – I have wanted to finish it for a long time, and then just the time appeared.
6. Victoria is a monumental artist by education. She graduated from the Stroganov Art School.And then I was once again convinced how small the world is. It turns out that Vika studied together with Lena Mizigireva, whose pottery skills I talked about in one of my previous reports from the “Crafts” cycle.
“Every master class begins with this bag. Here – the most interesting, very different colors, very different combinations! And many students at the first moment are surprised – why am I digging in such rubbish
7. – I took up felt only in 2008. Then the crisis broke out, some strange customers with a lot of money and crazy ideas began to come.So I decided to completely move away from monumentalism and take up wool. When I started, I knew practically nothing about felt. Unless I once saw Peruvian beads, and they did not impress me at all: simple, the wool sticks out in all directions. But I was immediately struck by the material itself: soft, malleable, very kind and warm.
9. – My first job is a rowan branch. For some reason, from the very beginning, I chose floral motifs, started experimenting, mastering new techniques.Gradually, I came to the technique of felting on a frame, and it turned out that almost no one is doing this. I do many of my works using the nuno-felting technique, when wool fibers are rolled onto the fabric. But I additionally introduce a wire frame along the edge of each petal.
And this is Victoria’s second job. The volume is just beginning to appear, the details protrude from the plane
12.Vika opened a transparent box with blanks: pansy petals, half-assembled flower corollas, petals and poppy boxes. I took one pink petal and began to examine it: along the edge, under the fibers of the wool, I felt a small hard roller. Thin silk threads flickered under the rays of light on the purple petal. I noticed how subtly the colors were chosen and how naturally the two tones of the coat flow into one another. “Art education helped me a lot: I feel color,” Vika replied with a smile.
13. – At first I took orders: people liked my work and they were ready to wait for me to finish making another flower. And they had to wait a lot: it can take me about seventy hours for one rose, and for one currant leaf I usually spend nine hours – from start to finish with full decoration. Most of the work was taken by office workers. According to the dress code, they have to wear strict clothes – an official suit, stiletto heels. But according to the same rules, it is allowed to wear brooches.So they ordered flowers for themselves. They come to work with a huge felt rose – everyone is in disarray, and the rules have not been broken.
15. – One of my most popular works is a bunch of red currants. But once I had to make thirteen of them in a row. Imagine doing just one red currant for a whole year. And then I was faced with a choice: either refuse orders, or refuse felt. So now I only work for inspiration.
Red currant leaf.And there are three of these per branch, and even the bunch itself.
17. Many colleagues advised Victoria to take assistants who would do all the routine work for her, but she refused: “I make a flower from beginning to end, and I am solely responsible for it. And if someone does part of the work, it will no longer be my work, and I don’t want to. ”
“I made this owl myself. Many people want to buy it from me, but I refuse: I made this brooch for myself
18. “Let me now show you how I make flowers. Not from scratch, really – it’s too long. And how to make a leaf, I can show, at least explain the general points. ” With these words, Vika took a puff of green wool, slightly confused it and gave it the shape of a diamond. The craftswoman tightly twisted one of the corners of the future sheet. Vika put a special brush in front of her, on the bristles of which she put a future leaf and took a special needle in her hands. The brush is needed so that the needle, passing through the wool of the future sheet, does not stick to the table, but freely comes out from the back side.Someone uses a sponge or thick felt backing for the same purpose. But with needles for felting, everything is much more complicated. Easier to say than all the needles are alike. Small notches on the needles are made in such a way as to pull the wool fibers inside the ball with each stroke – it turns out that each movement of the needle thickens the wool. And then the needles can be very different: thick and thin, square and asterisk, with a large number of notches or with one single one. And each such needle will come in handy in a different situation.
20. “I have a leaf here, I will decorate it now.” To begin with, Vika processed the shaggy edge of the sheet, threading the wool with precise needle movements. “Some people leave these hairs and say that this is how hand-made should look like. It seems to me that this is wrong, and I try to bring the work to the end, remove all the hairs not only from the front side, but also from the wrong side. I was taught that way from childhood. ” Victoria carefully looked at the sheet, and with a confident movement pulled out of the woolen skeins along a narrow strand – dark green and light green.Having twisted a thin rope of dark wool, she fixed it on the sheet with several precise strokes of the needle and began to lay a vein.
23. – Now it is very important to understand how the light plays on the leaf, where it has depressions, and where the veins stick out from the leaf. I can feel it, but the students often do not understand it. We have to explain to them in the way that everyone will understand for sure: now we will apply shadows, draw arrows, everything is like in makeup. After that, many fellers feel much more confident.
25. When dark lines remained on the sheet, Vika took up the light coat and started a light line next to the dark one.
26. – This activity is very calming. You have to disconnect from everything, and think only about the wool and the needle. Builds at least for a second to think about something else, and you will definitely hit your finger. We always have a plaster in our first-aid kit – at least someone will inject during work. Sometimes psychotherapists come – to heal the nerves.
27.Vika meticulously examined the work and plucked off another strand of light wool. “Now I’m going to show you something that makes most of the students go into a trance.” With these words, the craftswomen clamped a thin pad of the leaf between her fingers and began to nail a thin flagellum of wool right into its edge. Time after time the needle went right between tightly clenched fingers, leaving a bright green streak at the edge of the sheet. “Not everyone can overcome himself to work with a needle so close to his fingers.”
28. – Such work with wool resembles embroidery, but when everything is ready, the result is closer to painting.
If the leaf or petal is well felted, the protruding hairs can be safely cut off with scissors
29. All flowers and leaves in Vicky’s works are very similar to real ones. To achieve such a result, she studied different types of flowers for a long time, looking for common features, characteristic details in them. “Now I work intuitively. Art education helped here too: I put the flower into its constituent components, imagine how they are fixed between each other. Because of this, the work turns out to be natural, alive.Someone does not succeed, and they have to force the students to draw. But on the other hand, after my lessons, on the way to the metro, they stop at each flower bed and carefully examine each flower. ”
“Often you have to use these templates to make the petals of the desired shape”
30. – I am now conducting master classes on felting flowers. It often happens that girls who come to me as students leave as friends. Do you know how we celebrate our birthdays? We get together and make a gift for the birthday girl!
31.So we talked – about fine art and secrets of craftsmanship, about colors and various techniques. Vika said that her works were published in a magazine, and the editors equated them with jewelry in terms of subtlety and meticulousness of workmanship. “It turns out interestingly: a purely masculine rough work – felting felt boots – turned into a woman’s jewelry”.
“I also make stamens myself. From semolina. Sometimes I paint with varnish.
32. Over the past two and a half years, Vika has polished her skills, participated in exhibitions and taught many people the art of felting flowers.“I really enjoy working with wool. Flowers made of fabric are simpler – what kind of fabric you take, that color you get. And when you work with wool, you can grow your own flower, paint it as you like. Here I found myself, this occupation brings money and moral satisfaction, but more is not needed. ”
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90,000 Chapter 4. Household items and carpets
As already mentioned, felts were mainly made from sheep wool. Only in the singular is there felt (in small scraps) from the first Tuekta mound, in which goat wool and reindeer down were used 1 .
1 At present, within the Gorny Altai, forest reindeer is very rarely found on the Chulyshman plateau and in the upper reaches of the Lebedi River [Irisov, 1971, p. 189]. But since there are several images of this beast in the Pazyryk culture, a horse mask with reindeer horns was found, and its plucked wool was also widely used for stuffing horse saddle cushions and other felt items (figurines of swans, for example), it can be assumed that the reindeer was not only an object of hunting, but could be among domestic animals (for example, among the local population who lived in Gorny Altai before the arrival of the Pazyryk people and together with them). Before using wool in the manufacture of felt, it was subjected to a special treatment: it was washed, dried, hand-picked, scratched, whipped and dyed with dyes of vegetable origin.Felt was made from the wool prepared in this way. Judging by the ethnographic parallels, this was almost always done by women [Antipina, 1962, p. sixteen]. Ancient Altai craftswomen used to roll felts of very high quality. The samples found show that they were soft, thin and amazingly durable. Most of the felt items were decorated with patterns and ornaments and looked like objects of high artistic value.
Patterned felts with floral ornaments
Patterned borders decorated with floral ornaments are presented in five fragments.
Ornamental stripe in two fragments (GE No. 1684-260, 261) (Fig. 4.1). Found in the second Pazyryk mound. Dimensions : first fragment – 19.5 x 14 cm; the second is 68 x 10.5 cm. Both fragments are decorated with a floral pattern.
An applique made of multi-colored pieces of felt, even thinner than the strip itself, is sewn onto a narrow strip of yellowish felt (1.5 mm thick). The ornament on one fragment consists of ten lotus flowers, and on the second two similar flowers have been preserved.Each flower is a stylized image of five blue petals and red sepals, placed as if in an oval-shaped “basket”. The plants are connected to each other by a blue ribbon, which has soft flowing outlines, in an elegant garland. Between the lotus flowers there are images of some so strongly stylized flowers that it is impossible to determine their appearance. They are made of pink, brown and blue felt. Every detail of the ornamental strip is edged with a twisted woolen thread.This frame gives the appliqué a lot of relief. The pattern itself and the technique of its execution are inseparably united and create an integral ornamental composition. A flagellum of black felt, covered with yellow felt on top, runs along the upper longitudinal edge of the strip. On the opposite side of the strip, there are traces of stitching.
A strip of felt in three fragments (GE No. 1684-262, 263; 585) (Fig. 4.2). Found in the second Pazyryk mound. Dimensions : 45 x 13 cm, 22 x 13 cm, 19 x 13 cm.All fragments are decorated with intricate floral designs.
Rows of stylized flowers made of multi-colored felt (0.8 mm thick) are sewn onto thin white felt (1.5 mm thick). Twelve large images of a lotus with five petals, pistils and sepals are painted in blue, red and pinkish-brownish tones. Lotus flowers alternate with a number of smaller plants consisting of lotus buds, tulips or lilies. A narrow edging (1 cm wide) of blue felt runs along the bottom edge.The edging and every single detail of this complex ornament are edged with a twisted woolen, sometimes double, thread. In addition, some elements of the pattern are also embroidered with twisted woolen thread.
The image of a lotus is quite often found in the art of the Ancient Altai. Especially many lotus-like ornaments were found in the second Pazyryk mound. This artistic motive came to Altai most likely from Egypt, India or Asia Minor [Rudenko, 1961, p. 61]. The lotus is one of the earliest and most common ancient symbols of the sun in India.In Egypt, the lotus symbolized the birth of the world from fire and water and was associated with solar gods [Andreeva, Rovner, 1999, p. 291-293].
Fragment of a felt strip (GE No. 1793-821). Found in the second Bashadar mound. Dimensions: 33 x 6 cm.
Using the technique of mosaic or inlay, a pattern in the form of spiral curls made of red and blue felt is sewn onto the base of white felt (3 mm thick). Each smooth bend of the curl is sewn with tendon threads, small cross stitches.The entire ornament consists of figures that are consistent with each other both in the composition of the drawing and in color. In general, they create a harmonious ornamental composition.
Carpet (GE No. 1295-52) (Fig. 4.3, 4.5). Found in the first Pazyryk mound. Dimensions: 130 x 100 cm. Made of dark brown thick felt (5–6 mm thick) of medium density (rollers), unsorted or poorly sorted wool.
An ornamental strip-border (37 cm wide) made of thin white felt tightly rolled out of fine wool (2-3 mm thick) is sewn to it.A thick cord (6 mm in diameter) twisted from four dark brown woolen threads is sewn along the top edge of the border. The felt from which the border is made consists of sheep fluff fibers 10–29 µm in thickness, a thin awn with a weakly pronounced channel 36 µm in thickness and with an admixture of a thick coarse awn with a 90–116 µm channel.
The central part of the border is decorated with five stylized openwork lion heads turned in profile. Three identical heads are made of blue felt, two are of red.The heads were probably made like this: they took two pieces of multi-colored felt, put them on top of each other and cut out the lions with a sharp knife. Then the images were sewn onto a white felt base with tendon threads. The alternation of heads by color led to the formation of an ornamental row.
The master’s fantasy is amazing: a small “snub-nosed” nose, an almond-shaped eye, a fanged mouth and a very spectacular mane of six S-shaped curls were carved out of the lions. The general solution, the elaboration of the details of the head, resembles the Achaemenid images.Such images are known, they are present on gold plaques from the Archaeological Museum in Tehran and from the Metropolitan Museum in New York [7000 Years of Iranian Art, 1964-1965, cat. 455].
Thus, we can talk about quite definite Iranian prototypes, to which, in iconographic terms, the Altai lion heads go back. The ancient Altai master, of course, knew and borrowed the composition characteristic of Achaemenid Iran. A frieze of lions following each other is found on Xerxes’ clothes on the bas-relief and on the canopy of the throne of Darius in Persepolis.In addition, a similar composition is presented on the fabric of the Near Eastern origin from the fifth Pazyryk mound [Tilia, 1972, p. 190]. Such constructions were very popular in Altai as well.
The upper and lower edges of the border are decorated with geometric patterns in the form of triangles made of red, blue-green and white felt. Connected in three and entering each other with the tops, they are sewn together with a twisted tendon thread.
Large felt carpet (GE No. 1687-95) (Fig.4.4). Found in the fifth Pazyryk mound. Dimensions : 4.5 x 5 m.
When the carpet was taken out of the grave, it turned out that although some parts of it had decayed, most of the carpet could be restored. Pieces of carpet were mechanically cleaned of dirt. Large fragments were hemmed on the canvas right on the spot, and small ones were laid out in separate boxes. After all the transformations, the weight of the carpet was 20 kg.
The restoration of the carpet was carried out by the well-known specialist of the Hermitage N.N.Semenovich [Semenovich, 1956, p. 144-147]. He prepared a duplicating tulle base, gluing it in several layers so that later the tulle base could withstand the carpet fixed on it in an upright position.
The size of the carpet did not allow to duplicate it as a whole, so this unusually painstaking and laborious work had to be done in parts on a special, paraffin-treated table. Large fragments were glued directly onto the backing tulle, small ones were pre-glued on small pieces of tulle, which were then glued to the main backing tulle.The final stage of the restoration was completed by gluing the fragments (20% flour paste) to the base of tulle strips – one longitudinal and three transverse. These strips were designed to reinforce the top and middle of the carpet. Then N.N.Semenovich proceeded to consolidate the felt. For this, a special dressing was made from a 0.25% water-glycerin-alcohol solution of gelatin with the addition of 0.5% flour paste. The front side of the carpet was sprayed with a spray gun to create a protective layer.
The carpet was restored for a year. Its restoration took 26.5 m of tulle, 12.5 kg of flour, 7.7 liters of alcohol and 0.5 liters of glycerin. After the completion of the work, the carpet was pulled over a wooden board, pushed into the display cabinet and attached to the back wall. From the 1950s to the present day, the carpet has been on display in the Hermitage.
Unfortunately, at the present time this carpet, which has undergone a lot, cannot be photographed in its entirety, since the bindings of the showcase cut the general appearance of the image. I have to be content with just an old photograph from 1950.Then, during the shooting, the carpet was spread on the floor in the large hall of the museum (the Military Gallery of 1812) and a photograph was taken from the balcony of the hall.
The base of the carpet is made of white felt, which has acquired a grayish-beige tone over time. Medium density felt (rollers), 3 mm thick, is made mainly of sheep down fibers (80–85%) and transitional hair (15–20%). The fineness of the fibers is 12–42 microns. Down fibers with a fineness of 18–20 µm prevail. There are also fibers of awn and coarse awn with a fineness of 84–120 µm. These are coarse, non-elastic fibers with a wide bore.The surface of these fibers was severely degraded.
The process of making a felt cloth of this size (30 sq. M.) Was not an easy task. Thus, according to the data cited by SI Weinstein, Tuvans had to collect wool from at least 10 sheep in order to roll a small felt rug. To make a felt cloth intended to cover a yurt, they needed wool, sheared from almost 200 sheep [Vainshtein, 1991, p. 253]. Thus, it can be assumed that wool was used to make a large Pazyryk carpet, apparently sheared from the same number of sheep.After cleaning the wool from impurities and dirt, a felt cloth roller was made. How long could it take to make the Pazyryk felt? To do this, let us again turn to ethnographic parallels. It is known that the Kirghiz usually employed 3-4 people in the manufacture of one medium-sized felt (120×240 cm), working 6-7 hours a day [Antipina, 1962, p. 23]. Based on these data, it can be assumed that it took about a week to make a felt cloth with a size of 450 x 650 cm, with eight craftswomen working 6 hours a day.
The carpet is decorated with multicolor applique. Large figures (more than 1 m high) cut from thin colored felt are sewn onto a plain background with twisted tendon thread. Each thread is twisted with a left twist and consists of two or more threads twisted with a right twist. The total thickness of the thread is 0.4 mm.
The entire surface of the carpet is divided into two wide horizontal friezes, framed by three ornamental borders. Long (1.5–2 m) narrow plates of black felt, fixed in the upper part, descend from the upper and middle borders. The rest of the pointed end hangs down freely. Each frieze depicts the same scene: a horseman, moving from right to left, approaches a throne, on which a woman-goddess sits with a blossoming branch in her hand.
Let’s consider some details of this composition, people’s faces, clothes. The figure of the rider is turned in profile. The man has a low forehead, a large, sharply protruding “aquiline” nose, an eye, depicted in front, with a dark blue pupil. He has thick wide eyebrows, a tightly compressed mouth, above which is depicted a beautifully outlined mustache with upward curved ends, and black wavy hair.All these details are made of black felt using the applique technique. SI Rudenko called this type of human face “Armenoid-Assyroid”, that is, Caucasian [Rudenko, 1953, p. 322]. It seems to us that this is a representative of the descendants of those who moved to Altai, to the Minusinsk depression and to Tuva in the Bronze Age [Gokhman, 1980, p. 28]. The same type of Caucasian face is also represented on a felt fragment of another carpet (with the image of a sphinx), which covered the walls of the burial chamber of the fifth Pazyryk mound [Rudenko, 1953, p. 107].
The rider is wearing a tight-fitting short jacket, sewn at the waist, with a standing collar, narrow sleeves with cuffs. The edge of the scent (apparently, the right floor extends to the left) is decorated with a pattern laid out with a thick twisted woolen thread. Along the shoulder and along the lower edge of the jacket there is an ornament in the form of small circles, probably imitating sewn-on plaques. The man is dressed in tight-fitting trousers with a sewn figured plate, possibly of thick leather. The legs are tucked into soft short boots with a high heel counter.
The same style of trousers can be seen in some images of people from the famous Siberian collection of Peter I [Rudenko, 1962, tab. VII, XXII]. A short cloak decorated with large “peas” flutters behind the rider. A quiver with a short Scythian bow with curved ends is suspended on the left side of the rider. A male warrior sits on a horse that slowly approaches the throne of the goddess. The figure of the horse is somewhat elongated horizontally and is shown in motion, in contrast to the static image of the rider. The horse is of noble blood and resembles those high-bred horses of the Akhal-Teke type that were buried in the Pazyryk mounds. His bangs and mane are trimmed, carefully combed, and his tail is apparently intertwined with a gold ribbon, as was the case with the horses from the second Bashadar mound [Rudenko, 1960, p. 67]. The rider sits in the saddle with a high front bow. Behind him is the edge of a curly saddle tire. The horse harness is decorated with badges.
A woman-goddess sits on a throne-chair – in a flowing dress, motionless, straight.She has a large, hairless head with a flat nape. A rectangular headdress of rigid outlines is worn on the head, along the lower edge of which there is an ornament in the form of four triangles. This headdress resembles a crown, which the Indo-Iranians perceived as a symbol uniting three zones of the universe: the lower world is water, the middle world is the earth with the ridge of the world’s mountains, the upper world is heaven. The four teeth on the crown may have designated the four cardinal points [Akishev, 1983, p. 41, 76]. The woman has a slightly convex forehead, turning into a large fleshy nose with a drooping tip, outlined with a twisted woolen thread (the thread is twisted from two strands with a left twist).Each of the constituent threads is twisted with a right twist. The total thickness of the thread is 1.5 mm. The tightly closed mouth is outlined with a twisted woolen thread. A heavy, rounded chin, a small almond-shaped eye with a round pupil-dot made of dark blue felt is depicted in front, above it is an elegantly outlined eyebrow. The craftswoman renders the woman’s face, as well as the man’s face, strictly in profile when showing the eye in front. This stylistic manner of depiction may well be called the “Egyptian style”.
All small features of the face are made of black felt using the applique technique.The ear with the elaborated auricle, stitched with a twisted woolen thread, is turned “from front to back” and is also repeated in all female images. This, apparently, has some inexplicable meaning. The woman is dressed in a long, toe-length dress with a high stand-up collar. The dress is combined of fabric of two colors: the back is red, the front is blue (perhaps it was a caftan and a dress). The shoulders and the scent of the clothes are decorated with an ornament made of twisted woolen thread.
The back of the throne-chair has a soft bend and ends with an arrow-shaped suspension.With one hand, the woman covers her mouth, with the other, she holds a blossoming branch of the Tree of Life, which, as it were, grows from the leg of the throne. The stem of the branch is curved and ends in ten different flowers, among which four identical pairs stand out.
Consider the Tree of Life from the bottom up. The first lower process ends in a sagittal flower with a downward tip. A similar flower hanging from the back of the chair is located symmetrically to it. This technique of the craftswoman creates a certain rhythm, balancing the entire composition.In addition, one more flower of the same kind on the upper process of the stem with the point directed upwards encloses the whole structure. The left lower process of the branch has the shape of a stylized animal horn. It is from it that the rest of the branch stretches and, as it were, grows. Aspiring upward, it is decorated with a pair of red three-petal flowers, of which the right “head” rises up, and the left one goes down. Further, the branches, bending, end with a pair of asymmetrical flowers – the right one in the form of a yellow lily, and the left, red, – a complex configuration.The next pair of flowers with downward “heads” and forked petals of red and blue colors. Thus, the Tree of Life appears surprisingly beautiful and harmonious, with a clear definition of top and bottom, left and right sides and rhythmic repetition of color accents.
What is the semantic content of this scene? SI Rudenko interpreted the composition presented on the carpet as a scene of investiture, where the goddess hands over the power to the leader [Rudenko, 1952, p. 89]. This plot, which has a Near Asian origin, was known throughout the Scythian-Saka world [Rostovtsev, 1913, p.140]. A number of archaeological specialists, studying the worldview basis of the art of the Scythian-Siberian world, come to the conviction that a woman-goddess of fertility is depicted on the carpet and that, perhaps, “this is a unique image of the Altai version of Mithra” [Martynov, 1987, p. sixteen]. I join the opinion of my colleagues and believe that this woman is at the same time the Great solar deity, from which everything grew, was fertilized, and was born.
The following is a narrative story about how a warrior-leader approaches the throne of the goddess in order to receive a blessing on the throne.The acquisition of royalty meant marriage with the goddess [Akishev, 1983, p. 100]. The leader turns to the goddess with a proposal to marry him. The goddess, with a symbolic gesture of her left hand, “opens her mouth,” giving a positive response to the call of the “groom”. As already noted, the man has a quiver with a bow attached to his belt. It is known that archery played a special role in the marriage ceremony among many peoples, including the Altaians (Kocho-Kan, whose cult is characterized by erotic features) [Shishlo, 1976, p.151-155]. The action of the arrow was given a special role in cosmogony – it was regarded as an act preceding the birth of the Cosmos. Thus, a marriage concluded with a deity gave the leader the right to receive power and royalty, which made him a conductor of divine power on earth [Akishev, 1983, p. 46].
Solar symbols are associated with the cult of the solar deity and are included in three ornamental borders. In each border, using the applique technique of colored felt, about eight figures were placed in the form of a “lotus rosette” composed of four lotus buds, which is interpreted as a symbol of the World Tree.In the center of each “lotus rosette” is a square with concave sides and a “dot” in the center. Usually such a sign is interpreted as a solar symbol [Akishev, 1983, p. 23].
In the ornamental border of the composition, four lotus buds alternate with squares on which images of branched stylized deer antlers, which are also a symbol of the World Tree, are sewn in the applique technique [Akishev, 1983, p. 132].
Color plays an important role in the design of the carpet. The impression of colorfulness is created by skillfully selected tones of red and blue colors.Color symbolism has existed since ancient times. Red acted as a symbol of life, blood, sun. Blue is the color of the firmament. Thus, the cult of the sun, the Tree of Life, solar symbolism, rich bright colors – all these components together sound like a powerful solar symphony.
The question of the purpose of the carpet caused a discussion among researchers. According to S. I. Rudenko, in real life the carpet was a wall carpet and was used to decorate a dwelling. After the death of the leader, in his opinion, the carpet was used for a funeral ceremony.In the grave, a chariot and four horses were covered with it. Adapting the carpet for these purposes, it was cut to a length of up to 6 m. But since its size turned out to be insufficient, a part of another carpet was sewn to it [Rudenko, 1968, p. 64-66].
In the opinion of M.P. Gryaznov, the carpet was part of the burial tent, in which the body of the leader was kept until the moment of burial. As M.P. Gryaznov believed, the base of the tent was a construction of four logs with holes cut through them, into which long poles were inserted.The tent ended with four sculptured felt figures of swans [Galanina, Gryaznov, Domansky, Smirnova, 1966, p. 99-100]. The tent had a slight inclination inward, and the black long felt plates, which were discussed above, hung down in mourning and created a mood of sadness.
SI Rudenko connected figurines of swans with the decoration of the chariot [Rudenko, 1953, p. 295]. Each of the four figurines (GE No. 1687-259-263) (Fig. 4.6) 30 cm long is made of two pieces of thin (1.5 mm wide) white felt, sewn together with strongly twisted tendon threads – a needle-forward stitch “.The felt, from which the swans were made, in the bulk consists of down fibers with a thickness of 12-30 microns. In addition, the felt structure contains approximately 20% awn and coarse awn with a fineness of 72–108 µm. The swan figurines are stuffed with reindeer wool and grass. Thus, the figurines acquired a volume, in fact, being a “soft” sculpture. The ancient master faithfully conveys the characteristic features of the bird: an elongated, streamlined body, a small graceful head with a round eye made of dark brown felt (6 mm in diameter) and the same dark brown long beak with a peculiar bulge-tubercle on the upper valve, thin, flexible , beautifully curved neck.The bird has a fan-shaped tail, painted in red. The wings are made of white felt, the flight feathers are made of dark brown. The tail and wings, sewn on separately, are edged with decorative chain stitching and partly accentuated with twisted woolen thread. Inside the felt legs, hidden under the wings, wooden pegs are inserted, for which the birds were attached to the corners of the lattice overlap of the cart.
These images very accurately convey the specific features of the whooper swan, a characteristic inhabitant of the steppes of the Kosh-Agach region of the Altai Republic [Irisov, 1971, p.182]. This type of swan makes melodic sounds similar to singing. In the religious beliefs of antiquity, the swan is called the “vocal singer”, the bird of Apollo, involved in the three elements – air, water and fire. The swan “fully expresses the idea of Apollo – the rider who connects the worlds, is his symbol. In the sacred places of Apollo, the swan sings constantly, either glorifying the birth of God on Delos, then foreshadowing his appearance, then singing hymns in the country of the Hyperboreans during sacred rites ”(Selivanova, 1998).It was in the country of the Hyperboreans (beyond the Urals) that whooper swans were found. Their decoration of the Pazyryk chariot is deeply symbolic. The prerogative to be harnessed to the chariot of Apollo belongs to the swans. Quite late, at the very end of antiquity, the chariot was drawn by the vultures (Selivanova, 1998). If a chariot decorated in this way were discovered in Greece, it would undoubtedly be called the chariot of Apollo.
Fragment of carpet (GE No. 1687-1) (Fig. 4.7) . Dimensions: 110 x 80 cm.The fragment is made of colored felt using applique technique.
On the carpet there is an image of an Altai sphinx – with the face of a mustachioed man with deer horns and the body of a lion. The image is sewn to the base of white felt with twisted tendon threads with a simple overlock stitch. The distance between the stitches is 2.5–3 mm. The fantastic creature stands on powerful animal paws. The front legs, or rather the three-fingered hands, are raised up. The Sphinx has a brick-colored human face with a large aquiline nose.The sphinx’s wings are edged with a twisted woolen thread. The eyes are almond-shaped with a dark brown round pupil. The inside of the eye is overcast with small parallel stitches, located directly to the hem. Wide arched eyebrows in two rows are stitched with thick twisted dark brown woolen thread. The dashingly twisted mustache is made in the same manner, stitched with thick twisted dark brown thread in four rows. A blue headdress is worn on the sphinx’s head, tied in front with a tight knot, which in the longitudinal direction is emphasized by a triple row of beige twisted woolen cord, intercepted in places across by a tendon thread.Hair of light brown color falls down the back of the head, gathered in a plait with the end bent upwards, intertwined diagonally with a thick twisted beige woolen thread. A long, leaf-shaped animal ear with a curl at the base sticks up. The auricle is outlined with a zigzag line of thick brown woolen thread. The head of the sphinx is crowned with large, branched, stylized deer horns made of red felt, sewn to the base with small transverse stitches and tendon threads. Behind the creature’s back rises a luxurious multi-layered wing of multi-colored feathers with curved ends.A woolen cord separates one feather from the other. The flight feathers are outlined with a twisted woolen thread. A tail is stuck between the hind legs of the sphinx, shaped like a stylized antler. The graceful, S-shaped curved body of the sphinx in blue “clothes” is decorated with reddish-brown circles sewn over the blue base with tendon threads, small transverse parallel stitches. Inside each circle, four-petal rosettes are embroidered with a stalk seam with twisted woolen threads.
The image of a human beast has long existed in the Near-Asian art, and, according to S.I. Rudenko, it was from there that this motive was transferred to Altai [Rudenko, 1968, p. 68]. However, it should be noted that the image of a human beast in Altai art is very far from the Near Asian analogies. In ancient Siberian art itself, a similar image existed at least from the 3rd millennium BC. NS. Indeed, on the petroglyphs in the upper reaches of the Lena (Shishkino, Talma, Kiringa) and on the petroglyphs of the Yenisei, one can often find images of a human beast [Devlet, 1999, p. 203].
In 1985, on the territory of Eastern Altai, near the village of Karakol, V.D. Kubarev excavated a series of mounds with stone “boxes” [Kubarev, 1988, p. 96-97]. On the stone walls of these tombs, he found large drawings (30-40 cm), made in black and red paints. Among these drawings, images of a human beast were also found (second half of the 3rd millennium BC). The ancient artist depicted bull horns on the heads of some creatures. Three-fingered hands, tight-fitting clothes covered with dots (symbolizing a spotted skin), a long tail – in all their appearance it is quite possible to see an analogy with the Altai Sphinx.It is known that three-fingeredness is a feature that is reflected in both the visual and mythological works of many ancient peoples, which is associated with shamanistic ideas [Kubarev, 1988, p. 116-117; Kurochkin, 1988, p. 78]. Shaman’s headdress was often decorated with deer antlers or their imitation. For example, Evenk and Tuvan shamans decorated their cap with deer horns. The shaman’s caftan was decorated with wings on the back and tail, and the claws of a bear or a leopard were sewn onto shoes [Potapov, 1991, p.209-217; Kenin-Lopsan, 1987, p. 43-53]. Thus, it is quite possible that this fragment depicts an Altai shaman.
But the closest Pazyryk image of a human beast is found on tapestry stripes adorning women’s skirts from the Shampula burial ground [Bunker, 2001, p. 20, fig. eight]. As an analogy to the latter, silver plaques from the Issyk burial mound 3 are cited, on which the same horned and winged, similar to the Pazyryk, human beast is depicted [Bunker, 1995, p.71]. This image, which has a well-established iconography, probably belongs to the negative characters of the Sakas mythology, since in the scenes woven on the tapestry, this monster is pursued by a rider shooting at him with a bow, and on the Pazyryk carpet, judging by the reconstruction, he is fighting a bird – a phoenix, personifying happiness, calmness in Chinese mythology and having the ability to ward off evil spirits.
The felt of which the carpet is made consists of down fibers and transitional hair. The fineness of the fibers is mainly 18–36 microns.It should be noted that pink-red felt fibers have a fineness of 12–42 µm, and green fibers have a fineness of 6–36 µm. About 5% of them are coarse awn fibers with a thickness of 90 microns.
Fragment of a carpet with the image of a phoenix (GE No. 1687-95) (Fig. 4.9). Found in the fifth Pazyryk mound. Dimensions: 90 x 50 cm. The carpet is made of colored felt using applique technique.
The image is sewn to the base with twisted tendon threads.The fantastic bird is presented with a head topped with a pair of stylized horns and a large curved beak. The head is set on a long slender neck, which turns into an elongated body, covered with plumage, shaped like a “net” or fish scales. This pattern is worked out with a chain stitch. Sometimes, instead of a seam, a cord of twisted woolen thread is laid, tied on top with small stitches with a tendon thread. The bird’s small multi-colored wing is raised upward. The wing feathers are separated from each other by a twisted woolen thread.Feathers are decorated with colored circles, in the center of which are embroidered with a chain stitch “rings”. The wing ends with a black, sharp arrow-shaped end. The tail feathers are interpreted ornamental: two of them are in the form of a stylized animal horn, one (central) – ends with a lotus bud and a flower with a “head” with bifurcated petals lowered down.
The body of the bird rests on strong clawed paws with spurs. The bird depicted on the carpet has no direct analogies in the Pazyryk art itself, which is rich in a wide variety of fantastic creatures.According to MP Gryaznov, this is a phoenix, a bird of happiness in Chinese mythology. Similar images of birds are found on Chinese silk fabrics from the Changsha burial ground dating back to the Zhanguo period [Gryaznov, 1956, p. 40-42].
Undoubtedly, ancient Chinese art influenced the culture of the Pazyryk people. The connections of the Altai nomads with Ancient China are documented by the finds in Altai mounds of Chinese fabrics, mirrors and lacquerware [Rudenko, 1952, p. 82-87].
A border made using the technique of mosaic or inlay is sewn to the bottom of the carpet fragment.The border ornament is composed of two brown horn-like patterns, between which there is a red shamrock with rounded ends. A figured light-beige felt is inserted between these patterns. Pieces of felt are sewn together with tendon threads with small cross stitches. Later, a similar horn-like motif is found in the art of the Turkic peoples, in particular among the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz [Mukanov, 1959, p. 97; Bernshtam, 1948, tab. XV]. The ornamental border is framed by a narrow strip made of small colored felt squares sewn to the base with twisted tendon threads.
S. I. Rudenko established that the fragment with the image of the sphinx and the fragment with the phoenix are part of the same carpet and that both fantastic creatures are fighting with each other. More precisely, here is a combat scene, where fantastic creatures are shown in equal combat. Perhaps the struggle symbolizes the confrontation between good and evil, light and darkness, life and death. MP Gryaznov succeeded in graphically reconstructing this composition [Gryaznov, 1956, p. 40-42]. The reconstruction was carried out by the artist E.S. Matveev.
The felt from which the carpet was made is made of sheep down and transitional hair. The bulk of the fibers has a fineness of 18–36 µm. Felt has a different color and is slightly different in composition. So, pink-red felt, along with down and transitional hair, contains about 5% coarse awn fiber, their fineness is 84 and 96 microns. Approximately 60% of green felt is made up of fibers of down and transitional hair with a fineness of 12–30 µm, and 40% are guard fibers with a fineness of 54, 72, and 84 µm.Dark felt consists of brown and dark brown streaky fibers. The color of the fibers is natural. The fineness of brown fibers is 12–30 µm, and the fineness of dark brown ones is 36, 60, 72 µm. The degree of fiber degradation is high.
The considered carpets retained bright, rich colors, among which red and blue tones predominate. Felt red is painted with madder, burgundy – with a dye isolated from carmine bugs. Felt blue is dyed with indigo, and when dyed in light and dark beige colors, dyes belonging to the class of flavonoids are used.Iron and copper salts were used as a mordant.
So, in the manufacture of felt, the Pazyryk people have achieved great perfection. They, perhaps, like no one else, knew how to make the finest felts, only 1 mm thick, distinguished by their softness and amazing strength. Comprehension of such a high skill in making felt was achieved over many years, and this precious experience was passed on from generation to generation. Later, the skill of felting, known to the Pazyryk people, was lost, and this experience was forgotten by modern steppe nomads [Studenetskaya, 1979, p.105].
Ancient Altaians made smooth monophonic and ornamented polychrome felts. Applique played an important role in the decorative design of felts. Applique patterns were cut out of colored felt and leather. Some of the felts were silhouette compositions with images of animals, decorated in the “animal” style. They were sewn to the felt base with woolen or tendon threads. In order to convey the volume and relief of the body in flat images, the ancient masters used a certain stylistic technique, well known in ancient Altai art: the use of traditional symbols in the form of a “comma”, “point”, “horseshoe” in the transfer of muscles.These stylistic details were highlighted in color, sheathed with a vestibule or stalk seam, and it was these that gave the polychrome images a bright decorative effect. Usually, felt appliqués were outlined along the contour with a twisted woolen thread or cord, masking the line of joints with this technique. As for the leather appliqués on felt, the lines of the joints were not masked with a woolen cord, but the image itself was covered with gold, tin and brightly colored with mineral paints.
Another part of the felt, also made using the applique technique, was decorated with a plant pattern.Individual elements of flowers, such as “eyes”, “droplets”, were embroidered with a chain stitch, and all the details of the ornament were outlined with twisted woolen threads, which gave the ornament relief and greater expressiveness. The application technique was later “in service” with the Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, Altai, Bashkirs, Karachais, Balkars, Nogays [Studenetskaya 1979, p. 110].
Another way of decorating felt, which existed among the ancient Altai people, is the mosaic technique, or, as it is called otherwise, inlay.This technique is more complex than appliqué. Narrow plates of colored felt of two or three tones were sewn into the cut pattern, especially if it was spiral or curved figures. The seam lines, consisting of small cross stitches, are located perpendicular to the edges of the ornament and parallel to each other and are perceived as decorative sewing. It should be noted that items made using the mosaic technique were not found in the first two Pazyryk burial mounds. Most of the felt items made using the mosaic technique were found in the second Bashadar mound and mound 1 of the Ak-Alakha-1 burial ground.Later, this technique was fully mastered by the Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, Kumyks, Chechens, Ingush, Avars [Antipina, 1962 p. 33; Studenetskaya, 1979, p. 112].
Quilting was another way to decorate felts. True, this technique was probably not very common among the Pazyryk people, since only in the second Bashadar kurgan were a pair of felt fragments made using this technique found. The quilting is made with woolen thread, “dotted” stitches. The Sünnu were well acquainted with the technique of quilting felt, judging by the finds in the mounds of Noin-Ula [Rudenko, 1962 p.56]. This technique was also owned by the Kyrgyz, Mongols, Tuvans [Antipina, 1962, p. 36; Weinstein, 1991, p. 255].
Ancient Altai felts give an opportunity to feel the beauty, art and culture of ancient nomads who have long disappeared from the face of the earth. However, their skill did not disappear without a trace. It gave rise to traditions that are still alive today among many peoples of Central Asia, Kazakhstan and the Caucasus.
Pile carpet weaving
Carpet (pile carpet (GE No. 1687-93) (Fig.4.10) . Found in the fifth Pazyryk mound. Dimensions : 200 x185 cm. The first description of the carpet and its artistic analysis was carried out by SI Rudenko [Rudenko, 1953, p. 351-356]. Later, he addressed this topic more than once [Rudenko, 1968, p. 48-49].
The carpet has an almost square shape, its decoration is rich and varied in motives. The central part of the carpet is occupied by an ornament of 24 cruciform figures. Four of them are located in the transverse direction, and six in the longitudinal direction.Each of these figures is enclosed in a square frame and is a composition of four schematized lotus buds with two sepals connected in the center by a square with a “point”. The considered pattern is located on a red background, thanks to which yellow flowers with blue sepals look elegant.
The entire central composition is framed by a border consisting of individual figures of a griffin with its head turned back, wings and tail raised up. Such images are widely represented in the art of Ancient Iran of the 1st millennium BC.BC NS. [Chirshman, 1963, vol. five].
In the middle of the 1st millennium BC. NS. in Altai, the image of a griffin is becoming very popular and acquires local features, such as a crest on the head and crests on the neck of various “styles” [Barkova, 1987, p. 27-28]. The griffin’s thigh is interpreted as a half-horseshoe, which is typical for the art of Achaemenid Iran, Central Asian Mesopotamia [Zeimal, 1979, p. 39, 44, 64] and for the Pazyryk people.
M.P. Gryaznov and S.I. Rudenko believed that the so-called. The “incrustation” style appeared in Iranian art under the influence of nomads, including Altai ones [Rudenko, 1961, p.54–55]. It was the nomads who had an ancient local tradition of making all kinds of applications. MI Artamonov, on the contrary, believed that the decorative technique existing in the art of the Altai nomads can hardly be attributed to the application technique. In his opinion, this style most likely appeared in Iran as a result of the interaction of jewelry and weaving industries [Artamonov, 1973, p. 233].
On the next border, 24 figures are woven (6 images on each side of the carpet) of deer or fallow deer following one after another.In animals, the head is lowered, weighed down by large broad-bladed antlers, which are more reminiscent of moose rather than deer antlers. According to S.I. Rudenko, the carpet depicts the Asian deer, or foredeer, a distinctive feature of which is a spotted skin and broad-lobed horns [Rudenko, 1968, p. 42]. The image of the procession of animals is found quite often in the art of Ancient Altai [Barkova, 1984, p. eleven]. But this motive was especially popular in the art of Achaemenid Iran, from where it, apparently, moved to Altai.
Further there is a border, consisting of the same cruciform figures in the form of schematized lotus buds, as in the central part of the carpet.
Finally, on the widest curb are woven 28 mounted and dismounted horsemen, 7 figures on each side of the carpet. The horses have sharply curved necks, their heads are decorated with sultans, and their tails are tied with bows. Patterned rugs are placed on the horses’ backs instead of saddles. It is interesting to note that in the countries of the Ancient East and ancient Greece during this period there were no saddles, in contrast to the Eurasian nomads, from whom they probably first appeared.
The decoration of the horses, the appearance of the riders, their clothing, the headdress with the upper part bent back, resemble images of characters in a Median costume on golden votive plates from the Amu-Darya hoard [Zeimal, 1979, p. 51-52].
The very last border is decorated with the same griffin figures as those that frame the central part of the carpet.
When considering the composition of the carpet as a whole, the opposition of the direction of movement of animals is striking: the deer move to the left, and the horses – to the right.Thus, the whole construction is balanced and subordinated to a clear rhythm.
A handmade carpet never has a perfectly even knot. Although the Turkish knot forms a dense and durable fabric, it can be stretched horizontally, which often leads to deformation of the pattern that is present on this carpet.
In the extreme border, where individual figures of griffins are depicted, such a malfunction was masked by a craftswoman using two sockets. In the next border, where horses are depicted, a gap also formed, which was filled with two rosettes.Finally, in the third border, consisting of schematized lotus buds, the gap was filled with a geometrized insert with two triangles.
All this, according to S. I. Rudenko, indicates that the craftswoman did not work according to a stencil [Rudenko, 1961, p. 25]. It is known that the Central Asian craftswomen of that time memorized drawings and were able to reproduce them from memory [Dudin, 1928, p. 87]. The whole pattern of the carpet is quite diverse and complex. It is difficult to imagine that it could be weaved without having a sample or even a “sketch” in front of you.This is probably how this pile carpet was woven.
The definition of the material from which the carpet is made and the technological characteristics of the fiber were originally made by a researcher, chemist of the Hermitage
V. N. Kononov. Its definitions were included in the book by SI Rudenko [Rudenko, 1968, p. 48-49]. Later, using more modern methods, this work was repeated by EA Mikolaichuk.
According to her, the carpet is made of wool, more precisely, of sheep’s fluff. The warp yarns contain fibers of fluff, transitional hair, fine spine and a small amount of “dead hair”.The fineness of the threads is from 25 to 55 microns. The warp threads differ in color: gray-yellow and dark brown. Both are twisted in half with a dense S-twist – 15 twists per 1 cm of length.
Weft threads are soft, thin, dark yellow in color, consist of two or three loosely twisted Z-twist threads of down fiber with a small amount of transitional hair. The fineness of the fiber of the weft yarn is 12–30 µm.
Threads of pile of red, yellow, beige, blue colors have the same technological parameters.Pile yarn contains fibers of fluff, fine awn and transitional hair. The fineness of the filament fibers is 12–55 microns. The threads are twisted with a Z-twist.
The warp and weft threads, located perpendicular to each other, intersect each other in a plain weave [Mikolaichuk, 1999, p. 13-17].
Number of warp threads 120 per 1 in. The nodes are arranged in horizontal rows. Having finished binding the knots of the first row, the weaver proceeds to binding the knots of the next row. After each row of the knotted weft, a piercing weft was thrown, 3-4 threads each.After a certain number of rows had been weaved, the threads were cut evenly from the top over the entire area. The pile height did not exceed 2 mm. How the ancient craftswomen managed to do this operation so masterly is anyone’s guess. When you run your hand over the surface of the carpet, you feel not only its evenness, but also the velvety pile, all this is evidence of its high quality. When you look at the carpet, you notice one more of its advantages – the entire surface shines slightly, or rather, casts a soft light.Perhaps this property is associated with the processing of wool, and maybe with dyeing.
The carpet is made with a double symmetrical “Turkish” knot. The number of nodes is 3600 per sq. dm. Thus, the carpet is distinguished by a very high density, evenness of warp and weft threads, uniform knitting of pile threads – all these are evidence of the high quality of the carpet. According to S. I. Rudenko’s estimates, 1 million 250 thousand knots are imposed on the entire carpet. Since an experienced Central Asian craftswoman can tie 2000-3000 knots per day, then, according to our calculations, an experienced craftswoman would have to work for about a year and a half to make a carpet like the Pazyryk one [Rudenko, 1968, p.26].
The color scheme of the carpet is distinguished by the richness of colors, while the dominant color is red. Blue, bluish green and intense blue are used to a large extent. There are also yellow and whitish-cream shades. Of course, the once bright colors of the carpet inevitably faded, but even now its color scheme pleases the eye with the richness of color.
According to V. N. Kononov, indigo dye was used for dyeing wool blue, and purple and alizarin dye for red color [Rudenko, 1953, p.247]. Further studies of the dyes were carried out by LS Gavrilenko. She took samples from the outer strip of the border, examined the threads of the pile and warp [Barkova, Gavrilenko, 1999, p. 10-12].
Pile threads. The filaments of the pile have a red color of cold and warm shades. Stained with a dye isolated from carmine-bearing worms, most likely belonging to Armenian cochineal ( Porphyrophora hamelii Brandt). In addition to the above, two more species of Armenian cochineal are known – Porphyrophora tritici and Porphyrophora monticola .In addition, the ancient craftsmen could have used the Polish cochineal Porphyrophora polonica L. For a final conclusion about the type of dye and the type of scale used in ancient times, it is necessary to estimate the percentage of kermesic acid in the dye, since the definition of the type of scale depends on its amount.
The modern method of liquid chromatography gives reliable results of estimation of the percentage content of kermesic acid, which, unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to use.Therefore, we are forced to temporarily use the results obtained by A. C. Whiting. According to his data, the carmine-bearing dye of the pile thread of the Pazyryk carpet contained 10% kermesic acid, which gives grounds to define this dye as Polish cochineal [Whiting, 1985, p. 18-22].
Laser microprobe spectral analysis was used to determine the stain. The determinations were carried out in the laboratory of the Hermitage by M. B. Dmitrievskaya. Calcium, aluminum, silicon, copper, iron, magnesium were found in the charred fiber.The predominance of aluminum and copper indicates that alum was used as a mordant. The presence of copper is not necessarily evidence that it was included in the mordant. The high copper content may be due to the fact that the dyeing was carried out in copper dishes.
Blue and blue threads. At the beginning, the threads were treated with a dye isolated from carmine bugs, and then with indigo. This combination of dyes gave the pile a purple hue.
Analysis by thin layer chromatography showed that the blue dye was Weida.However, it is not possible to indicate a dye source, since there is a wide variety of indigo plants (more than 250 species). Information about their chemical composition is insufficient.
Archaeological data indicate the deep antiquity of the indigo culture and the widespread use of indigo plants by humans as dyes. True, most of these plants grow in the tropical zone, but waida is found practically throughout Europe, in Asia Minor, the Caucasus and the Alatau [Hofenk de Graaff, 1974, p.54–55].
Brown-yellow threads. Phenolic compounds are present in them. Yellow dyes are flavonoids, judging by the positive color reactions on the pile filaments, which have not completely collapsed. Chromatographic analysis showed that phenolic compounds remained intact on the pile threads – probably phenol carboxylic acids. Unfortunately, it was not possible to identify them, since the source of phenolic compounds could be the aging products of flavonoids and tannins, as well as tannins themselves.The presence of a dye isolated from a tanning plant, which could be used as an independent dye or as a dyeing aid, is not excluded.
We would like to remind that the warp threads were light and dark brown, they could be natural or dyed with some kind of tanning dye.
So, let us note that the quality of the Pazyryk carpet, its decoration, the technique of its production – all this testifies to the fact that 2500 years ago carpet weaving reached a high level of development.This is not surprising, for today there are data indicating that carpet weaving existed even in the Bronze Age. Bronze carpet knife blades for cutting pile threads were found in 1972-1976. and in 1990 during the excavation of the Sumbar burial ground of the XIV century. BC BC located in Southwestern Turkmenistan [Khlopin, 1992, p. 59–61].
The people of Pazyryk knew the loop-weaving technique. This weaving technique was first used by the Egyptians [Kakovkin, 1978, p.five]. To do this, the weft threads were pulled to the front side by loops of short length (2–4 cm), and as a result, the fabric acquired hairiness. Often the loops were cut at the top, and then the surface of the fabric became shaggy. Shaggy fabrics with a long pile were found in the second Bashadar, in the second and third Pazyryk mounds.
A fragment of looped weft fabric with uncut loops from the second Pazyryk mound (GE No. 1684-3) (Fig. 4.11) has a rectangular shape.The central part of the panel is made of brown shaggy fabric 40 cm wide. To it in the longitudinal and transverse directions are sewn with a twisted tendon thread, with a simple connecting seam “over the edge”, borders made of lighter fabric 20 cm wide. In fact, this material was used to make a carpet … The middle of the carpet is brown and its border, now beige, has been dyed with red.
Along the outer edge of the carpet and along the connecting seam, an edging made of blue-dyed felt, 0.8 cm wide, which has now acquired an olive color, is sewn.
An unusually interesting fragment of another carpet from the second Bashadar burial mound (GE No. 1793-856). Its dimensions are 8 x 8 cm. This is a small fragment of a beige woolen pile carpet, in which blotches of red and blue threads have been preserved. The carpet itself is made in a different technique: here the craftswoman used an asymmetrical one-and-a-half knot, the so-called. Persian. It was distinguished by perfect technology and a higher density: 1 sq. dm accounts for 7000 knots, that is, 2 times more than on a pile Pazyryk carpet [Rudenko, 1961, p.29].
According to the definition of E. A. Mikolaichuk, the threads of the base of the Pazyryk carpet consist of fibers of down, transitional hair, dyed dark brown and dark yellow. The fineness of weakly twisted S-twisted fibers is 18–48 µm. The fibers are severely degraded.
Dark yellow weft threads, weakly twisted with a Z-twist. The fineness of the filament is 0.25 mm, and the fineness of the fibers is 18–42 microns. The pile yarn contains fluff, transitional hair. The threads are twisted with a weak S-twist. Wool fibers without a channel with a fineness of 18–38 µm.The total thickness of the threads is 0.5 mm. The study of dyes was carried out by L. S. Gavrilenko. By her definition, a brown pile is colored by a tanning plant. Mordant dye. A vat indigo dye was used to dye the pile blue (traces of this dye were found). The source is an indigo plant ( Indigofera ). Red pile – plant anthraquinone dye – alizarin. The source could be different types of madder ( Rubia ) or bedstraws ( Galium ).Mordant dye.
There is no consensus among scientists about the origin and place of production of the Pazyryk carpet. SI Rudenko, having analyzed the stylistic design of the entire carpet and its three borders (with the image of a griffin, a deer and horses), came to the conclusion that the carpet was made by Persian or Median craftsmen [Rudenko, 1961, p. 28]. In Iran, the Pazyryk carpet is considered the oldest surviving example of local carpet weaving.
MP Gryaznov believed that this carpet was of Central Asian work.He argued that the contacts of the ancient Altaians with Iran and the Middle East went precisely through Central Asia. It seems to me that carpet knives dating back to the Bronze Age (Sumbar burial ground) were not accidentally found in southern Turkmenistan. Maybe this particular area was the birthplace of carpet weaving. After all, the best Central Asian carpets are still produced here. The Salor, Iomud, Tekin carpets were especially famous, they were distinguished by the highest quality and high density, which on small items reached 5000 and more knots per 1 sq.dm [Dudin, 1928, p. 117].
Finally, there is another opinion expressed by the American researchers Harald Bouhmer and Jon Thompson, who do not exclude the possibility that the nomads themselves could have copied the Pazyryk carpet from the Persian original [Bouhmer, Thompson, 1991, p. 34].
These disputes seem to me not so fundamental. It is clear that the skill of carpet weaving could relatively quickly spread from the center of its origin to the entire territory inhabited by ancient nomads, whose origins, like culture, are closely intertwined with diverse and long-term historical ties.
It is much more interesting that the technique of manual carpet weaving, created, apparently, about three thousand years ago, immediately turned out to be so high that in the best examples it has practically not changed to this day. Quality, strength, rich colors and complex ornaments delight the eye of modern people as well as in past centuries.
Household items are mainly associated with an active lifestyle, therefore the ancient Altaians used unbreakable materials such as leather, fur, felt.They were used to make light, comfortable things – all kinds of handbags, pouches, bottles. All the things that are discussed in our work date from the same time, namely the 6th – 4th centuries. BC NS.
Pouch (GE No. 1684-106). Found in the second Pazyryk mound. Dimensions: 21.5 x 18 cm. The pouch has a shape close to oval; it is sewn with twisted woolen threads from two pieces of loose dark brown felt (4–5 mm thick). Its upper edge is torn off. Probably, medicinal herbs were stored in such bags [Rudenko, 1948, p.31].
Felt rings (GE No. 1295-86, 88). A total of six felt rings were found. Three rings were found in the first Pazyryk mound, the rest – in the second Pazyryk mound (GE No. 1684-46, 48, 50, 52).
All rings are made of thick dark felt (3-4 mm thick). The rings are rolled into a tube having a circular cross-section with a diameter of about 2 cm. On top of the rings, the rings are trimmed with red felt (1.5 mm thick) and sewn with a simple seam with tendon threads.All rings have a standard diameter of 14-14.5 cm.
One ring (GE No. 1684-50) made of dark brown felt was sewn into the corner of a small piece of felt mat (32.5 cm long and 20 cm wide). A fragment of a sand-colored rug is trimmed along the edges in the longitudinal and transverse directions with brown edging (2.5 cm wide). In one place the rug was cut, and a narrow strip of red felt was sewn into the cut. The seam is masked with a twisted woolen thread.
The rug is embroidered with a pattern in the form of circles, made with a stalk seam with woolen threads of brown and beige colors.During the excavations, it was discovered that a flat-bottomed earthen vessel stood inside the ring. In other cases, wooden vessels with a spherical bottom stood in such ring-supports as in the nest [Rudenko, 1948, p. 24] (Fig. 4.12).
Felt pad (GE No. 1687-75). Found in the fifth Pazyryk mound. Dimensions: length 25 cm, width 17 cm.
A rectangular cushion sewn from two felt plates.The front side of the pillow is sewn from four pieces of felt. Simple connecting seams are made with transverse stitches, tendon threads. It seems that this felt was reused, and originally it was part of some object.
The back of the pad was made from a single piece of felt. Both felt halves of the pad (each 3 mm thick) are sewn together with tendon threads with a simple stem-like stitch. The pillow is stuffed with reindeer hair. The seams run along two longitudinal and one transverse side, retreating from the edge by 1 cm.A narrow leather strap is attached in the center of each side. The second transverse side is roughly sewn over the edge. The cushion is quilted in the center in the longitudinal direction and is thus divided into two equal parts.
It is difficult to speak about the purpose of this pad. Perhaps it could have been placed under the saddle.
Silk bag (GE No. 1685-24) (Fig. 4.13). Found in the third Pazyryk mound. Dimensions: length 20 cm, neck width 11 cm, base width 6 cm.The pouch is pear-shaped, made of smooth light beige silk, such as taffeta. Its lower end has a rounded shape, in the center there is a narrow interception. The upper end is shaped like a bell. The pouch was cut from two shreds of silk, sewn together with a simple joining seam with a spun twisted Z2S thread. The fabric was woven in a plain plain weave. The density of the warp was 63.33 threads / cm; weft density – 38.66 threads / cm [Lubo-Lesnichenko, 1994, p. 221]. The purpose of the pouch is unknown.Perhaps it was intended to hold the amulet.
Items related to beliefs
Ladanka (GE No. 1684-103). Found in the first Pazyryk mound. Made from two pieces of loose, dark brown felt. It has the shape of a versatile triangle with one side 15 cm, the other 11 cm and the third 19 cm. Along this long side there is a roughly made seam “over the edge”, sewn with a thick twisted yellow woolen thread. The other two sides are smoothed out and tied in places with brown threads that merge with the main background.Therefore, the seams are difficult to see.
A small bundle of black human hair was kept inside the amulet. The presence of this object and a number of similar ones found in the first and second Pazyryk mounds is evidence that the ancient Altaians, like many ancient peoples, believed that hair was a talisman of the soul. Therefore, cut or combed hair was carefully hidden and kept from prying eyes. People believed that if combed hair falls into the hands of a person, then through it they can harm a person and be attacked by evil spirits [Frazer, 1980, p.265-269].
In the burial mounds of Ulandryk, along with all the buried, amulets made of felt and leather with clipped hair stored in them were found [Kubarev, 1987, p. 128-129]. Ladanka, apparently, had the meaning of a talisman, and it was probably worn around the neck. In the Noinuli mounds, miniature silk purses were found tied at the upper ends of the braids. Such purses contained cut nails and hair [Rudenko, 1962, p. 89–90].
Item of unknown purpose (GE No. 1685-12) (Fig.4.14). Third Pazyryk mound. The product is made of thin white felt. Felt thickness 1.5 mm.
Found together with a caftan in a horse burial. SI Rudenko believed that this item served as a hood [Rudenko, 1953, p. 108]. The thing has the shape of a circle, the diameter of which is 104 cm. Its entire surface is not made of a single piece of felt, but of six sectors of different sizes.
The two largest sectors make up almost half of the area of the circle and are sewn together with a tendon thread, a simple connecting seam.The seams are decorated with a twisted woolen cord. One of them consists of a single piece of felt. From the top of the sector to the edge of the circle in the longitudinal direction there were 3 parallel seams, from which traces have survived. The second sector is a solid piece of felt. In the longitudinal direction, there are traces of two seams on it. The third and fourth sectors are a long plate extending from one edge of the circle to the other. Towards the center of the circle, the plate narrows to 7 cm. The fifth sector also consists of a single piece of felt, and the sixth, unlike all the others, consists of three fragments.In general, the preservation of this item is unsatisfactory, there are losses of felt. The original edges have not survived, so it is rather difficult to talk about its original dimensions.
The item was duplicated on tulle by restorers. What was its purpose? This question is not easy to answer. SI Rudenko’s assumption that it was a large spacious hood seems unconvincing to us. It is unlikely that it was used in this way. First, it is too big for a hood. Secondly, there are no traces of fastening on him and on the caftan.Apparently, the purpose of this item was somehow different. NV Polosmak suggested that this round felt cloth could serve as a veil for the “six-legged”. But for these purposes the panel is rather short. However, we do not know its true size.
Another suggestion can be made: perhaps this felt was used as a cover for an umbrella. It is known that the umbrella in ancient times in the East served as a “imperious”, “royal” symbol, a sign of high rank and dignity, and besides, it could be associated with a certain ritual.Images of umbrellas are found in the art of Sumer and Akkad, Assyria and Babylon, Asia Minor, Persia, Greece, Rome, China, Egypt. Interestingly, two umbrellas were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
One of the earliest depictions of an umbrella is found on a relief of the Akkadian king Sargon I, dated to about 2300 BC. NS. [Akimova, Kifishin, 1994].
In China, the nobility used umbrellas during the Zhanguo and Han times. Somewhat later, the Xiongnu aristocracy, imitating the Chinese, also used umbrellas.An idea of their construction can be made based on the finds in the mounds of the Noin-Ula burial ground. Bronze tips of the umbrella spokes and the upper end of the handle with 24 vertical slots for wooden spokes were found there [Rudenko, 1962, p. 48].
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How to clean white felt boots at home
The content of the article
Valenki have always been considered very warm and comfortable winter shoes. Modern designers create felt boots in various colors, including white. If you are the owner of these wonderful things, then you need to know how to clean white felt boots at home.
Before you start cleaning boots, carefully study the tips for drying and caring for them.
- This type of footwear must not be dried by placing it on the central heating radiator. The coat will shrink and lose shape.
- Also do not use electric shoe dryers, which could damage the surface.
- Do not dry felt boots near an open fire, for example, near a stove or fireplace. Wool fibers are highly flammable and can catch fire.
- In order to dry felt products, paper is stuffed into them so that they do not lose their shape and are placed in a dry, warm place.If the felt boots are very wet, the paper should be changed periodically. This will speed up the drying process.
- Use special water-repellent impregnation for felt before going outside, this will significantly extend the service life of felt boots.
If there are decorative elements on the shoes, for example, crystals or pendants, it is recommended to strip them off the product before cleaning so that they do not interfere with the process. If they also get dirt, you need to rinse them with water and let them dry. After final cleaning and drying, the decorations are sewn into place.
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Woolen fiber is the raw material for the manufacture of this type of footwear. Its main properties are increased moisture absorption and tendency to deform when wet. In this regard, it is impossible to wash felt boots, especially in a washing machine. The wool will fumble, loose its shape and shrink heavily. Therefore, you need to clean such shoes at home very carefully using special products.
- First, remove the remaining snow and heavy dirt from the shoes.Use a stiff-bristled shoe brush to remove large lumps of dirt from boots. Shake off any large adhering pieces and then proceed to remove small spots.
- Dilute a wool carpet cleaner such as Vanish in cool water. Whisk the solution into a lather and use a sponge to gently apply to the soiled area. Rub gently and leave for a while. Wait until it dries completely and remove the remaining product.
- Take Laska detergent and dilute with water according to the instructions.Using a cloth or sponge soaked in the solution, rub the dirty area until the stain is completely removed. Repeat the operation if necessary. Then dry the treated surface.
- If the items are badly damaged by dirt, you can use washing powder with bleach for the cleaning operation. Dissolve it in a little cool water and rinse the stained area well. Allow to dry at the end of the process.
- For light surface contamination, sprinkle semolina or flour onto the felt.Rub well into the structure of the product. After thoroughly rubbing in, knock out the cereal until the particles are completely removed. These products perfectly clean things from various kinds of dirt and leave no residue behind. You can also use starch.
- If the dirt is dry and lumpy, you can try vacuuming the felt surface.
- Boots with the addition of artificial fibers can be rubbed with a bar of soap, having previously moistened the places of contamination, then rinse with cold water under the tap.The presence of additives in the composition of the felt can be found on the manufacturer’s label.
- Use special cleaning agents produced by some foreign manufacturers of felted footwear. They also make brushes and other care products for these products.
Following all these recommendations, you will use your shoes much longer. By taking proper care of beautiful white wool items, you will keep their original appearance for a long time.
90,000 How did felt come about? – TapkiVip
One of the first historically accurate descriptions of felt and its use belongs to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.
In the 5th century BC. he described in detail the life of the Scythian people in his essays on Scythia, where he often mentioned felt,
as a material used for a wide variety of purposes. From his works we learn, for example: – about the dwellings of the Agripeans:
“Everyone lives under a tree.In the winter, the tree is covered with a dense white felt every time, and in the summer they are left without a cover “;
– about the steam bath: “… three poles are installed, with their upper ends inclined towards each other,
and then they are covered with woolen felt; then they pull the felt as tightly as possible and throw it into the vat,
set in the middle of the yurt, stones red-hot to red … “
Over time, the culture of creating felt products spread from the Turkic-Mongol peoples throughout Central Asia
and with the invasion of Genghis Khan came to Russia.Of the many felts made by the Mongols,
in Russia, felt boots, as well as felt slippers and household items, have taken root most.
Interestingly, the felt hats that Asian peoples use to protect them from both heat are
and from the cold, the Slavs have become a favorite bath accessory that protects the head from overheating.
Confirmation that felt was actively used in everyday life by the inhabitants of Central Asia are objects,
found during excavations of burial mounds in Gorny Altai.
They date back to the 6th – 3rd century BC and belong to the Pazyr culture,
which in turn belongs to the “Scythian circle”.
Its carriers lived in the adjacent territories of Kazakhstan,
Republics of Altai and Mongolia.
Of particular interest among the objects found are women’s felt caps 60 -90 cm high with narrow brim
(they were dressed over a high headdress, they were kept straight thanks to the sticks inserted inside),
and felt boots-stockings (they were made from a whole piece of white felt, the sole was cut out separately,
The sock was folded up and pulled together when sewing) All sewing was done with tendon and woolen threads.
Also, from felt, the Pazyryk people made slippers, carpets, scoops, military ammunition, slippers and much more.
Today all this can be seen in the Hermitage.
Undoubtedly, the most outstanding felt product among the Asian peoples is the felt house, the yurt.
Cool in summer and very warm in winter, easy to assemble and mobile, this comfortable home is still in use today.
The ambassador of the French king Louis the fourth, monk Guillaume de Rubruck, driving through the steppes to the headquarters of the Mongol khan (1252 – 1254).)
described the arrangement of Tatar dwellings (in fact, Polovtsian): “The house in which they sleep, they put on wheels made of wicker rods,
its logs are rods converging upward in the form of a small wheel, from which a neck rises upward, like a chimney;
they cover it with white felt, more often they also impregnate the felt with lime,
white earth and bone powder to make it shine brighter; and sometimes they also take black felt.
They decorate this felt near the upper neck with beautiful and varied paintings.They hang felt in front of the entrance,
varied from the variegation of fabrics. They are the ones who sew colored felt, or other, making up vines and trees, birds and animals. “
The width of the cart, measured by Rubruk, was 9 meters at the base, and 33 pairs of bulls were harnessed to carry it!
Inside the felt house there were many things made of felt: felt carpets, slippers, bags, pillows.
The topic of felt carpets is so extensive that it deserves a separate study.
Carpets are still made in different technologies and have different names,
depending on the nationality.For example, Kazakh ornamental felt carpet tekemet
is made from well-compacted autumn shear wool as follows.
Wool – the base is laid out on a cord or tarp.
Women sit around the workpiece and with elastic sticks (from tal or chingil)
knock down the wool to a state of fluffiness (analogue of prefelt). Then the ornament is made:
narrow rolls of colored wool are rolled out on the basis or blanks pre-cut from colored felt are laid out.
Next, the entire layout is carefully wrapped in a mat and sprayed with hot water after each turn.
The resulting roll is tied with a rope, at the ends of which circular ropes are placed,
by rotating which the roll is moved along the ground. Several people follow the roll and tamp it with their feet.
Then the mat is removed, and the craftswomen tamp the half-rolled felt with their elbows.
After the felt is stretched and steamed. The central tekemete field is usually decorated with rhomboid figures
(shashra) with patterns inscribed in them, for example, “kos muiz” – horns connected in the form of a cross.
Zoomorphic motives – images of various stylized parts of animals (ram horns, maral horn,
crow’s paw, dog’s tail, etc.) are generally traditional for the peoples of Central Asia.
There are also plant ornaments – gul (flower, leaf)
and symbolic images of the elements (water, wind, earth and fire).
With the help of these images, the master could tell a story on felt,
depict an event or wish wealth and well-being.
Three different technologies are used to create another Kyrgyz felt carpet – syrmak:
inlay (mosaic) of multi-colored pieces of felt,
an applique made of plain fabric over white felt and cord ligature over plain felt.
The inlay technique involves combining two felt canvases, different in color,
and cutting of the same type of patterns in them. Next, the pattern of the first felt is inserted into the cutout of the second felt,
and the pattern of the second goes into the neckline of the first.The cut-out part thus creates the background of the pattern.
Then the entire ornamented blank is placed on a white felt base (komshu)
and quilted with a thread through camel hair.
The pulling thread usually runs in several rows along the contour of the pattern from its inner and outer sides.
After that, the patterned and background parts are fastened using a double twisted thread.
It is applied along the contour of the connection of the patterned and background parts and is quilted along these two blanks,
creating a solid syrmak structure.It is interesting to note
that the Kazakh inlaid syrmak has an analogy – felt carpet shirdak,
manufactured in Kyrgyzstan. To make syrmaks, the pattern and the base are quilted only along the contour of the patterns,
and not over the entire area of the product. Creation of a cord ornament is an old way of decorating syrmaks.
A solution of salt and flour is prepared in milk.
With the help of a pointed stick, the contours of the patterns are applied to the surface of the felt.
Salt acts as a fixer and as the solution dries, a clear white outline is indicated on the felt.
A double cord thread is applied over it and quilted:
first, one and then the other thread of the cord is fixed, and so on along the entire contour of the pattern.
Sometimes fabric with embroidery is sewn onto the felt – such carpets are called tuskiiz.
The embroidery pattern is applied to cotton or silk fabric, velvet.
Embroidered tuskiizas are created by the most experienced craftswomen throughout the year as a source of pride for every family,
or even more.The ornament of such carpets is mainly vegetable, very complex, symmetrically built.
The contours of the pattern are embroidered with a chain stitch, and the surfaces are embroidered with satin stitch.
The design of the yurt also dictates a certain style of furnishing:
storage facilities for household items should be light and not clutter up the room.
Consequently, felt hanging bags with loops were invented.
They were not large in size, but roomy and elegant.
The front part was decorated with an ornament in the form of applique, embroidery or cord ligature.
The edges of the bag were decorated with fringes or tassels. The most common was a bag for utensils – a cap.
In the conditions of a nomadic lifestyle, wooden bowls, dishes and other utensils were put into these bags.
It had a base in the form of an oval, which corresponded to the shape of the objects placed in it.
With the disappearance of wooden utensils, the cap began to be used for storing linen and acquired a rectangular shape.
Also in the yurt there were felt suitcases – shabadan and bales – ten.
Shabbadan was used to store things and was the main decoration of the yurt.
It was sewn from three parts: rectangular felt making up the front and side parts,
rectangular felt bottom and woven woolen fabric forming the back.
In tenakh, belongings were transported, hanging them in pairs on the sides of the camel for balancing.
In conclusion, it should be noted that, despite its long centuries-old history,
this amazing material – felt – still hasn’t lost its relevance.
Of course, today it is rarely used for mass production of things, but people are very fond of it,
where there is a spark of creativity and the makings of a designer.