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Behind the scenes: Felting balls for our table mats and coasters.

Our felt bobble mats ASIK and MILDO are made from hand-felted wool bobbles that are the dried and hand stitched together! I love the process of the felt bobble making. 

  

The azo-free dyed raw wool is folded into small pods, larger than the desired size.  Each woman has a tray with 600 pods with a squidge of water and soap, and rolls a wooden tray over them, adding a rock for weight when the pods are felted to become denser through the minimal soapy water and friction from the rock tray.  It is great to watch and fun to try too! It can take 45 minutes to fully felt a tray of 600 balls.  Then these are dried for 1 to 2 days on the roof in the sun, to create the felt ball stock for the mats.   At the workshop they can make between 2500-3000 balls in one day!

  

The balls are then stitched from the centre outwards with a strong thick thread to our 10cm and 20cm mats, stitching each ball to the next and inner one, so it is full secure as a mat.  The 100cm width rugs can take up to one day to complete.  The women usually sit on the padded floor in the workshop using their toes to keep the balls in place when stitching.

  

The workshop employs around 110 women who may specialise in the felting process or stitching process or able to mix between. They all live locally and can work flexible hours within the day depending on their family commitments.


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