Felt Making in Tire

My-scarfOur Craft club went to Tire where we had arranged with Arif Cön, one of the very famous felt makers in Turkey to have our felt workshop.  We gathered at 09:30 and divided ourselves into two cars to make the trip.  There were nine of us in total.

Arriving at the workshop we were offered tea and those of us who had not bought our own silk to use were given a choice of scarves.  The pattern I originally wanted to make was not available in a suitable weight for the technique so I settled for a paisley scarf in blues and purples.

We were shown how to pluck the wool and lay it, first on the mat then, having spread the scarf over that layer, onto the scarf itself.  Everyone, of course, had quite a different idea of what they wanted to achieve so there were  a variety of directions to the creative effort.

Once the wool was laid onto both sides of the fabric, we watched it all being sprinkled with soapy water then rolled up in the plastic mat and put into a pounding machine.  Traditionally the mat would be pressed with feet and rolled around – the machine takes some of the hard work out of it.

Even more so for us.  We went for lunch whilst the machine worked its magic…

Back at the workshop our work was carefully removed from the machine and unrolled.  We had the opportunity to add more wool and correct minor flaws in our concept before it got resprinkled, rolled up into the mat and put back into the machine.

We were then taken out for tea…  Or rather we were directed to an extraordinarily pleasant park area with a number of tea gardens.  We strolled around for a while (during our stroll I discovered that it is acacia that makes me sneeze) admiring the scenery then had a glass of tea before heading back to the studio.

We claimed our scarves, settled our bills and headed for home.  The instructions were to wash the finished work at 30%, subjecting them to a spin cycle should we wish the felt to shrink further.  I carefully washed mine by hand in cold water.  Quite a lot of dye came out.  When the water ran clear, I took it up to the roof to dry on the line…  I was quite happy with the final result.

8 responses to “Felt Making in Tire

  1. I love the colours you chose. What size did the scarf end up?

    • It’s about 60 inches long (I have spread it out across the width of our bed) and about 15 inches wide. It’s hard to be accurate as we deliberately left the edges wavy. I decided not to do the things that would shrink it more.

  2. Annette newton

    Well done I would have loved that,still one never knows what’s round the corner .hot here now but really feel well after a few days,hope you are both ok x

  3. Beautiful scarves! I’ve always wondered how they made these felt items as I’ve seen them for sale in the bazaar in Istanbul. Thanks for sharing!

    • We think it would be possible to use this technique at home, if you could get the right sort of wool. We thought it would be a bit like pilates, rolling the mat around and applying pressure – the machine does it with so much less effort!

  4. . . excellent fun! Had a great time with a traditional felt maker in the town of Yalvaç near Lake Eğirdir – he delighted in showing us how they did everything and he was using some fantastic old machines. Then he stripped to the waist and began pounding with his great belly demonstrating the original process. I rewarded him with a commission for a wonderful waistcoat that has pride of place in my wardrobe. So enjoyed your story.

    • Thanks. The machines are wonderful but I couldn’t get a photograph of them in motion. We have a few pieces of Arif’s work. The slippers are particularly popular, being very snug in winter.

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