Sunday, April 4, 2010

from filthy fiber to some cute new needle felt friends

I recently bought some fiber on Etsy that was advertised as "washed" but with small amount of Veg. matter . They lied . What I received was smelly, greasy, had large and small sticks and even some beetles ! I have never given negative feed back on Etsy because I hate conflict . However, I am rethinking this habit after receiving so many wrong orders, half felted roving advertised as "buttery soft and ready to spin" and this current nightmare of filthy fiber . Buyer beware . Statistically, I have received more great fiber then bad and try and let the great fiber dyers know how much I appreciate them but it is always a gamble and best to buy in small quantities when trying a new seller .

I tried handwashing this but after the 4th changing of water that was still dark brown...I gave up and put the whole thing into the washing machine on cold, with laundry soap and in a "delicates bag" . I just washed it on regular cycle....agitation included . I figured I would end up with a lump of felt but was willing to risk the experiment as I am so low on fiber and wanted to see how these colors work . The fiber itself was fine, a nice white and grey mottled Corriedale . I then through the bag into the drier on cool/fluff cycle and once mostly dry, spread it out to dry .

The end result was 80% usable fiber but still had to be picked through to remove felted nubs and additional vegi matter . Some had to just be discarded as the vegi matter in some areas had been crushed to tiny pieces that couldn't be removed<----that was there before I washed it and not caused by the washing but the washing didn't remove it . Anyway , if I hadn't been so desperate for fiber, I'm sure I would have just thrown it all in the recycle bin but I HAVE to have something to felt and this turned into an interesting experiment as I found I really like the precombed natural fiber and think it has a much more realistic "animal" look . I won't be returning to this seller but an now looking for more natural uncombed fiber with color variations . I'm hoping that I can make some possible trades for some felted animals with an interested fiber seller during Shepherds Harvest but I will be able to check it before buying which will be a nice change over the mystery of buying on-line and I don't plan on doing my own washing any time soon .

Happy Spring celebrations to all .
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  1. I think it's great that folks experiment with different fibres., and your latest creations look wonderful.
    What a shame though, that you were disappointed (and somewhat shocked) and rightfully annoyed, at the state of the fleece on delivery. However; you made good of it. Well done.
    I've been fortunate of late to make contact with some local spinners,(here in Leicestershire UK) who use local fleece. The Blue Face Leicester and Alpaca are herds that graze just a few miles up the road. Yes, the raw fleece is mucky stuff !...but I like the idea of supporting local businesses and don't mind preparing the fleece initially. At least I knew what I was letting myself into !
    It does need 3 or 4 washes to remove all the grease and lanolin. (just as well that I don't have a water meter !)
    One of the ladies who belongs to the local spinning group, prepares some beautiful BFL, plain and dyed. Over this weekend, I've been experimenting with raw Hebredean fleece. It hasn't been too good for wet felting, but it needle felts well.

  2. I posted you story on Craft Gossip Felting. Love the little sweeties.


  3. These are beautiful in spite of the "filthy" condition the wool was in when you got it. Many kudos to you for your patience and tender mercies given to make something beautiful out of something most folks would consider ready for the trash heap.

    Your loving hands made all the difference. Thanks for not giving up in creating your little masterpieces for others to enjoy.

  4. Thank you all for the encouraging words . It was a good lesson for me to learn as I tend to be to trusting and need reminding that not everyone in the world shares my ethics . (I guess I just thought they were all on Wall Street or in government and not on Etsy ) bad .

  5. I've had similar purchases ( ebay for me).. not as bad though. But it smelled ! I goofed when washing it and ended up with some wadded areas. So thanks for the instructions! Next time I'll do better. I do think neg. feedback is necessary to help other buyers weed out the bad suppliers but also to force the bad suppliers into changing their ways!
    I have found some local alpaca suppliers but not wool and the fiber group in Missouri has canceled its yearly festival.

  6. Your patience was obviously rewarded. Felting is an area I have resisted (so far) because I can see the addictive qualities. Adorable pieces out of a near disaster...bravo!

  7. Oh yes kudos to you for not giving up, i enjoy the whole process of washing, dyeing and carding fleece but when someone states that its clean then its a bit of a shock when its not. She should know that your not happy, you did a Fabulous Job on your critters though :)))

  8. 我們唯一需要恐懼的事,是恐懼本身........................................

  9. Etsy's feedback process makes it difficult to be honest - it punishes both artist and buyer for even a 'neutral' feedback, which is ridiculous. But when the purchase is this egregiously bad, I think you really should leave a negative feedback. It defeats the whole purpose of the feedback/rating process if we leave positive feedback for really bad products... and in effect we (as buyers) are then aiding and abetting in subsequent cheating of innocent customers.

    Sometimes it's a matter of subjective tastes when it comes to what is a good fiber or color, but this goes way beyond subjectivity. If the 'artist' involved is a decent person, she will want to provide improved product and will want to 'make it up' to you. If she isn't a decent person, then she deserves to be called out.



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