My aunt Britt-Marie lives in Sweden and since a few years back she owns and operates a certified organic sheep farm together with her partner Unto. What I love about this farm, apart from the organic side, is that she takes care of everything from her sheep (meat, pelts, wool) and she practices what I can only refer to as "good stewardship farming." What I mean by that is that she is careful to not deplete the natural resources that her farm provides - the areas for the sheep (and one llama!) to graze, as well as the areas where she grows her feed.
Britt-Marie knows how to shear her sheep, she knows how to wash, dye and spin the wool and she also knits, sews, felts and does other crafty and beautiful works of art with the materials her sheep provide.Her sheep are all registered "old world" breeds and she carefully selects her breeding pairs each season.
She also has provided me with three awesome and wonderful cousins! :-) Too bad they live so far away!
My aunt taught me how to do needle felting a few summers back, and I brought some of her wool back home with me. I've always wanted to try to make felted soap, and when my best girlfriend Leslie and her daughter Sydney came to visit, the perfect opportunity arose.
I found the basic instructions from Mielke's Fiber Arts on a page complete with pictures.
Here are some pictures from our session:
First we started by separating the wool fibers. By hand, since I don't have any carders.
This was not Sydney's favorite part. :-) But we got through it.
Then we wrapped the wool around the soap, either mish-mash colors, or I made some patterned ones.
We dribbled warm water over the wool and soap and started rubbing lightly. Eventually the soap started sudsing.
And the wool started to shrink around the soap. Wondering why I'm wearing gloves? I have exzema on my hands. It's a bad outbreak and being in water makes it much worse. So I wear gloves when I'm in water, when I do the dishes, when I bake, when I garden....not fun....ah well.
And then we let them dry. All done! Felted soap work just like scrubbies in the shower. Natural wool scrubs your skin while the soap washes.It was fun - and I highly recommend doing this with kids.