Fat wool dreads - best method?

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linziloop
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Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:05 pm

I'm in a little bit of a pickle. A lovely lady has requested some 15mm thick dreads. The dreads i usually make are about 7/8mm thick, and quite tightly felted. I've had a bit of a play and I've faced a few problems.

Firstly, i thought i would just tightly felt more wool, so, i didn't split my roving and went about my merry way. Using my usual dunking/rolling technique, the thickest i could get the dreads was 10mm.

So then i thought, aha! Thicker roving! So i got some....and I'm still not reaching 15mm, or if i do, they're too stiff.

Lastly, i thought. I'll just felt more loosely. So, instead of dunking the roving into soapy water and getting it all saturated, i sprayed it with hot soapy water and rolled it on a towel. I tried my best to pull apart/fluff up the roving beforehand to stop creases and lines, but due to the way roving is supplied kinda flat and not cylindrical, i just couldn't seem to avoid the creases this way. I don't seem to get this problem nearly as much when i have soaked the wool in water first. And believe me, i tried, a lot!

Client is after really soft dreads so they don't need to be tightly felted (really, preferably, not tight felted). Does anyone have a tried and tested method for getting nice thick, soft, dreads with wool? Am i seriously missing something and being a dope here?!

Dreads like those in "TheCuteAlternatives" avatar would be desirable if people are wondering what this thickness would look like in real life...

Any help GREATLY appreciated, and sorry for the text heavy post, i just thought it best to supply all the facts!

Cheers ma dears!
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by VixenSingsBlack » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:22 pm

viewtopic.php?f=65&t=153

With this method, you could just keep building up layers of wool; wrap, felt allow to dry--wrap again, felt, allow to dry. That way you're never felting that much wool at once. You'll have to be careful the wool doesn't stay so wet too long because it can rot. I think though if you really want them supa thick, they're going to be stiff to an extent. But I don't have a good visual of what 15mm is...

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by miasmahair » Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:30 am

And maybe if your customer didn't mind SEs you could double the roving over. Felt a little bit in the middle then double it over and swirl the ends together in the water. You could try boiling the dread (if you haven't already done some beautiful dye job) to get the two bits to felt together without squishing too much, and maybe rubbing a felting needle over the joins if you can still see them? Hopefully that helps, I don't really like doing the sideways felting thing, so let us know how it goes!

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:58 am

VixenSingsBlack wrote:viewtopic.php?f=65&t=153

With this method, you could just keep building up layers of wool; wrap, felt allow to dry--wrap again, felt, allow to dry. That way you're never felting that much wool at once. You'll have to be careful the wool doesn't stay so wet too long because it can rot. I think though if you really want them supa thick, they're going to be stiff to an extent. But I don't have a good visual of what 15mm is...

Thanks for the link...with never trying this method however, and the customer needing the dreads in a couple of weeks, i would be reluctant to try it out for the first time on a set i am to sell...
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:59 am

miasmahair wrote:And maybe if your customer didn't mind SEs you could double the roving over. Felt a little bit in the middle then double it over and swirl the ends together in the water. You could try boiling the dread (if you haven't already done some beautiful dye job) to get the two bits to felt together without squishing too much, and maybe rubbing a felting needle over the joins if you can still see them? Hopefully that helps, I don't really like doing the sideways felting thing, so let us know how it goes!
They need to be double ended unfortunately...and i will be doing a dye job on em. :(

That's another thing worrying me...it might be all well and good felting them loosely, perhaps even with cooler water, but when i come to do the dye job, i worry that if not felted tightly, they will all stick together in the pan :o
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by miasmahair » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:57 pm

Hmm, it's a toughie! You could dye the roving first and then just shape it loosely as it's coming out? I tend to dye first because a) I get all excited and want to dye stuff when I've got no actual dreads to dye and b) cos it gives me a big head start on the felting :P I guess when I dye wool it tend to boil the hell out of it, but yeah, something to try maybe?

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by hellsbells » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:36 am

Hey, I made some this size. I always get my wool from Wingham and it's pretty chunky generally. I split the lengths once and then felted with REALLY hot soapy water. Literally plonked a section in, pulled it onto a big towel on the floor and felted in really hard once. They turned out like this:

viewtopic.php?f=106&t=8153

The black held up really well but the purple got a bit fluffy after a few days and needed a spray and palm roll.
Hope this helps, good luck :)

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by Vicsarina » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:47 am

miasmahair wrote:And maybe if your customer didn't mind SEs you could double the roving over. Felt a little bit in the middle then double it over and swirl the ends together in the water. You could try boiling the dread (if you haven't already done some beautiful dye job) to get the two bits to felt together without squishing too much, and maybe rubbing a felting needle over the joins if you can still see them? Hopefully that helps, I don't really like doing the sideways felting thing, so let us know how it goes!

Maybe using this sort of idea, but make them kind of like harlequin synth. It will probably be somewhat noticeable, but it would probably give you the thickness you require.
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:11 am

hellsbells wrote:Hey, I made some this size. I always get my wool from Wingham and it's pretty chunky generally. I split the lengths once and then felted with REALLY hot soapy water. Literally plonked a section in, pulled it onto a big towel on the floor and felted in really hard once. They turned out like this:

viewtopic.php?f=106&t=8153

The black held up really well but the purple got a bit fluffy after a few days and needed a spray and palm roll.
Hope this helps, good luck :)

Aww cool, it's good to know it is possible with my usual method! They look ace btw! Like manga style! Were they stiff at all? They look quite spikey so i imagine they were a bit...will carry myself off to investigate winghams website - oh one more question - this was merino yes?
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by Squidgy » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:24 am

I buy my wool in it's pure form and it is about 3cm in width, if you were to get this wool and cut 2/3s to 1/3 this would give you the width you require.

my supplier is Sara's texture crafts.

hope this helps, sorry ita a bit vague, am at work at the moment. x
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:58 am

I found a little bit of roving that was about 8 cm wide amongst my random roving, and that was the stuff i tried to loosely felt and got all creased. Might get home tonight and try dunking that and felting once on a towel...I'm sure I'll manage it! I must! Good to know i don;t even need it that wide to get what i want though.

Thanks Sqiudgy! I'm at work too :roll:
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by Squidgy » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:03 am

linziloop wrote:I found a little bit of roving that was about 8 cm wide amongst my random roving, and that was the stuff i tried to loosely felt and got all creased. Might get home tonight and try dunking that and felting once on a towel...I'm sure I'll manage it! I must! Good to know i don;t even need it that wide to get what i want though.

Thanks Sqiudgy! I'm at work too :roll:
I find he best way to ensure you don't get cracks is to use this methid of felting -

viewtopic.php?f=65&t=2475
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by hellsbells » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:22 am

Hehe, thanks :)

They weren't at all stiff, they were only really felted externally so if you rip one up you can make it into skinnies afterwards :D They were so spikey because of the length I believe.

*edit*
Yes indeed they're merino :)

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:29 am

Squidgy wrote:
linziloop wrote:I found a little bit of roving that was about 8 cm wide amongst my random roving, and that was the stuff i tried to loosely felt and got all creased. Might get home tonight and try dunking that and felting once on a towel...I'm sure I'll manage it! I must! Good to know i don;t even need it that wide to get what i want though.

Thanks Sqiudgy! I'm at work too :roll:
I find he best way to ensure you don't get cracks is to use this methid of felting -

viewtopic.php?f=65&t=2475

That's the method i tend to use, i had problems when i tried to not dunk the wool and spray it with hot soapy water, note to self, don't do that again!
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:30 am

hellsbells wrote:Hehe, thanks :)

They weren't at all stiff, they were only really felted externally so if you rip one up you can make it into skinnies afterwards :D They were so spikey because of the length I believe.

*edit*
Yes indeed they're merino :)

Hoorah! Perfect! I shall show y'all when they're finished!
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:49 pm

Urgh, this isn't working out at all. Can't get em right. And then i came to another realisation, it's all well and good felting them loosely, but they need to be transitionals so i need to dye em...if i put loosely felted dreads in the hot pot they're going to stick together...and then rolling them afterwards (if I'm lucky and they don't stick together) is probably going to make them stiffer.

I want to put more time and effort into perfecting the super fat transitional dreads but with a million things on at the mo and the customer needing them for chrimbo, i don't want to be selling sub-standard dreads. What shall i do?!?!?! No payment has been made yet or anything, but i hate to let people down.
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by LittlePinkFaery » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:01 pm

i've never tried tis, and the idea might be way off...but what about making a wool dread from knitting wool (twist or braid) and then felting robing around it- that way you can make up a solid core to the dread and build up the roving around in using the jungle dread method?

As said, never tried it so it might not work!

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:09 pm

littlepinkfaery wrote:i've never tried tis, and the idea might be way off...but what about making a wool dread from knitting wool (twist or braid) and then felting robing around it- that way you can make up a solid core to the dread and build up the roving around in using the jungle dread method?

As said, never tried it so it might not work!

Aww, thanks for the quick reply, but I'm not so comfortable with the jungle dread method and i don't want to make a customers dreads the test subject. I'm at work every day, doing freelance graphic design work at night, a part time fashion and textiles course, and trying to hand make all my xmas presents, I'm seriously pushed for time, so experimentation with new methods needs to be kept to a minimum.

I can get the fat dread now at least....but the dyeing part worries me, as does the longevity of loosely felted dreads when I'm selling them :?

I would feel awful if i dragged this out so long that the customer was left with no other options, would it be bad form to ask if anybody feels they are more qualified for the sale?! Oh i guess i just did ask....
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by LittlePinkFaery » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:24 pm

contact your customer and chat with her, I know I would rather an order be late but be well tested :)

good luck! I know what you mean about time...if only we could invent an extra day! Hope to see pics when you perfect it :)

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by linziloop » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:35 pm

littlepinkfaery wrote:contact your customer and chat with her, I know I would rather an order be late but be well tested :)

good luck! I know what you mean about time...if only we could invent an extra day! Hope to see pics when you perfect it :)
I've sent her a message, explaining my whole kerfuffle, time would be the one factor here that would help heaps that's for sure! But as these are especially for xmas dreads, it's sadly a factor i can't change...unless we move xmas...altogether now - HEEEEAVE! Lol!
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by miasmahair » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:55 pm

Hey dude, I've been having a fiddle with some stuff...
I grabbed two lengths of (Corriedale) roving, and the needlefelted them together a little bit, so if looks like this
Image
Then I chucked it in some boiling water and let it go for a while. Then I pulled them out and palm-rolled them, but instead of doing it normally, if you just doing lots of felting so there's lots of friction on the outside but not too much pressure. Then dyed the middle and voila! This one could have done with even less pressure with the felting, but I only really figured it out halfway through. If you pull the dread out of the boiling water halfway through and give it a few more stabs with the needle then you get something like this...
Image
Image
I have no idea how thick they actually are (misplaced my measuring tape, duh) and they're sort of woolier than the stuff you usually make, but it's doable! :D

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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by zeara » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:06 am

If you're worried about the dying, maybe you could use the steaming/microwave method of dying instead of the boiling water method. That is how i make my transitionals anyway, and they don't get any more felted.
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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by VixenSingsBlack » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:57 pm

zeara wrote:If you're worried about the dying, maybe you could use the steaming/microwave method of dying instead of the boiling water method. That is how i make my transitionals anyway, and they don't get any more felted.
What is this method?!


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Re: Fat wool dreads - best method?

Post by zeara » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:09 pm

To steam dye dreads with acid dye you mix the dye as for silk painting, instructions from the dharma trading company website:
1. * Add 8 oz. (1 cup) of very hot water to one .5 oz. jar of Jacquard Acid Dye powder.
* Stir until dissolved. This will yield a very concentrated dye stock solution. Most colors require further dilution. Note: Every color has a different solubility. Some colors are difficult to dissolve, but most are easily dissolved. A small amount of alcohol (about 1 tablespoon) can be added to the dye solution as a wetting agent.
2. The final concentration of the dye solution for painting should be between 4 and 8%. Start by adding 4 oz. (1/2 cup) of water to the 8 ounces of stock solution you have, test the color and continue adding water until desired shade is achieved.

I also add a glug of vinegar as it adds to the acidity and therefore effectiveness and vibrancy of the dye.

You then paint this solution onto the dreads in any way you like (you could also dip the dreads into the dye) this is great as it creates easy transitionals in only one dying. Next you wrap your dreads in plastic wrap. You can bundle dreads of the same colors and patterns together but should keep different dreads separate to prevent bleeding.

Next you need to get a large pot and a colander which fits in it. fill the pot with water to about half way to the bottom of the colander. Put it on the stove. Put the plastic wrapped dreads in the colander and cover the pot with a lid. Let it steam for an hour.

After an hour take out the dreads and hang them up to cool. Once cool you can unwrap them and wash them out as normal.

I recommend wearing rubber gloves while working with acid dye as it isn't too nice on the hands.
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