Types and Applications of Materials for Felting - part 2

Types and Applications of Materials for Felting - part 2


Alpaca or Paco (Auchenia Raso) is one of the species of American llama. This gentle, elegant, and intelligent animal with a long neck is raised for its warm and luxurious wool. Alpacas live in extreme climatic conditions, where temperature fluctuations from -20 to +18 degrees Celsius occur within a day. To survive in such conditions, alpacas have a special type of wool: light, thin, soft, and at the same time so dense that it does not let water through. Alpaca fibers (25-27 microns) are quite coarse compared to fine merino wool and contain small curls. Alpaca wool is very fluffy, pleasant to the touch, strong (three times stronger than sheep wool), lighter, warmer (seven times warmer than sheep wool), and more durable than sheep wool. Fabrics made from alpaca wool are resistant to pilling and stretching, the wool does not mat or pill, it is resistant to dirt and does not cause allergic reactions. Finished products made from alpaca wool are moisture-resistant and have anti-static properties. At the same time, it has a beautiful silky shine and the softest touch. Alpaca wool insulates against both cold and heat, making it comfortable in any season (it's warm in cold weather and not too hot in warm weather). In addition, alpaca wool is completely free of lanolin and other organic fats, making it lighter and more weightless. It is also free of dust mites, making it hypoallergenic. In nature, there are two types of alpacas: Suri and Huacaya. The animals differ only in the appearance of their wool. Huacaya alpacas have wool similar to a plush teddy bear, while Suri alpacas have wool that hangs in long dreadlocks. The natural color of alpaca wool has the widest range of colors in nature (more than 22 shades), ranging from burgundy to brown, from gray to black, from white to cream, providing a wide variety in creativity and decoration. It is suitable for all types of felting and also works well as an additive for enhanced penetrating properties. Felt made with the addition of alpaca wool is textured and durable, and due to the different fiber shrinkage, it is possible to achieve an extraordinary decorative effect.


Camel hair is supplied to us from Tibet, Persia, Mongolia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It is obtained from the Bactrian camels that have excellent fine and soft hair, which protects them from extreme temperature changes (from +40° to -50°). The hair is combed from young non-working camels once every five years, making it quite rare. Camel hair is thin, soft, and has pleasant curls. It has a scaly structure and is hollow inside, making it very lightweight. Its high hygroscopicity promotes the absorption of a large amount of moisture. Products made from camel hair are highly resistant to dirt. Camel hair also has an interesting property of removing static and nervous tension. Products made from camel hair have a healing effect and are recommended for people suffering from circulatory disorders and musculoskeletal diseases. Contact with camel hair has a rejuvenating effect on the skin, making it more elastic and resilient. The natural shades of camel hair range from light beige to brown. It cannot be dyed. It is suitable for wet and dry felting, but not for the nunofelting technique.


Yak Wool. The yak is a Tibetan ox with long shaggy hair that hangs down to the ground, and inhabits the Himalayas in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. The wool is collected by combing once a year. Yak wool is unique in its ability to retain heat, reducing the difference between body temperature and air temperature. The wool is very soft, lightweight, and hygroscopic, with good conformability, excellent elasticity, and resistance to crushing. Yak down has a similar structure to human hair, making products made from this wool very comfortable to wear. Yak wool is an ecologically clean product of natural origin, with the ability to relieve pain, hypoallergenic and long-lasting, as it is very strong and resistant to wear and tear. The natural shades of yak wool are gray, dark gray, and brown. Like camel wool, the down of the Tibetan yak cannot be dyed. It is ideal for creating "soft" linings for felted clothing.


Silk is classified as a type of animal fiber due to its protein structure. It is a physiological fiber that has a chemical composition similar to human hair. In mature silk moths, protein fluid is secreted from spinning glands located in the front of their heads, which then solidifies upon contact with air and forms a filament. The filament is then woven by the silkworm into a cocoon around itself. The length of a single silk thread can reach up to 600-1500 meters. After the silkworm spins its cocoon, it dies, and the cocoon is unraveled. Wild silkworms produce rougher fibers, whereas domesticated silkworms, which feed exclusively on mulberry leaves, produce very fine, smooth fibers. Silk is very strong but not very elastic, so knitted silk items tend to stretch out slightly when worn. Silk has excellent thermal insulation properties, a pleasant luster, and can be easily dyed, but it is prone to fading. Mulberry silk is the highest quality silk produced from the threads of artificially raised silkworms that are cultivated under specific conditions. The process of obtaining Mulberry silk is entirely manual and does not involve the use of chemicals. It has a pearly white color and rich color variations that offer endless possibilities for creative and unique design solutions. Tussah or tussore silk is a general term for various types of wild silk produced by the Antheraea moth. The caterpillars of the Antheraea moth develop on the leaves of various types of trees, such as oak, willow, birch, hazelnut, and other forest trees, resulting in a wide range of colors for the silk fibers, including cream, beige, brown, and golden tones. The fibers are soft and shiny. Silk does not felt on its own, but it is commonly used for wet felting and nuno felting techniques because it adheres well to wool. During the felting process, the wool shrinks while the silk does not, creating shiny wavy motifs.


Viscose (from Latin "viscosus" meaning "sticky") is the most natural of all synthetic fibers and the first one created. Its production began in the late 19th century. Viscose is made from cellulose extracted from wood and plants using a pressing method, which is why it's also called "wooden silk." The natural color of viscose fiber is off-white, but it can be easily dyed. Viscose is a relatively strong fiber when dry. It's soft to the touch, hygroscopic, and breathable. It's also worth noting that viscose doesn't accumulate static electricity. Viscose blends well with other types of wool, and in some combinations can even improve the quality of wool, such as the combination of viscose with cotton: adding it to cotton yarn increases the rate of moisture absorption, which is low in cotton. The drawbacks of viscose fiber include its tendency to wrinkle easily, insufficient resistance to wear and tear, and significant loss of strength when wet. Clothes made from pure viscose are best washed by hand using a gentle cleaning agent. Viscose is suitable for all types of felting.

Back to blog