i was doing a little shopping online recently and, as well as buying the usual pre-dyed merino i use for the majority of my feltmaking, i thought i would buy some undyed fibre to practice dyeing with.
while i was looking, some 'superwash' fibre caught my eye.
oh, thought i, superwash must mean that it has been 'super' washed and will be really clean ... those of you who know what superwash is will be groaning by now!
superwash, in fact, refers to wool that has been treated to remove the scales from the fibre (using an acid bath) or by coating the fibre with a polymer to prevent the scales from attaching to each other.
which pretty much rules it out for felting!
apparently it was developed in the 70's to enable woollen garments to be made which were machine washable. great for spinning and knitting apparently.
but not feltmaking.
when i started to work with it, i thought it felt wonderfully soft. and i also didn't take the time to lay out a test piece first, surely i didn't need to as it was just regular merino which had been washed really, really well?
goodness me what a mess! i had laid out a number of pieces as i usually do, wet it all out and then went to felt it. it turned into a soggy mess of fibres and not surprisingly didn't felt to the regular merino too well.
i now have a new rule - before buying anything that i haven't heard of or haven't used before, i will do a little research first.