No Trace now also manufactures various items made of wool. Often composed by the wet felting of wool.
When wet felting wool, felt is made by moistening wool with hot water and at the same time stimulating friction so that the fibers slide past each other. Because the scales prevent it from going back, the fiber mass will become more compact and sturdy.
This process is called vollen. It’s a lengthy process, because never more than five percent of the fibers change places at once. Some of this can be seen when a woolen garment is washed hot: the wool shrinks because the fibers have started to hook into each other. For centuries, felt has been made in this way using water, soap, heat and friction.
The task of the volder is to fill (have felted)a woolen fabric. This is an operation to work the fibers closer together, creating a sturdy, waterproof fabric that is less prone to shrinkage. According to the traditional method, the tissue is dipped in a large container with hot water, possibly supplemented with urine and / or full-bodied earth, but also with soap. Full-bodied earth (bentonite) is a greasy clay that absorbs the dirt from the fibers. With these chemicals, the lanolin from the wool was dissolved. By stamping the tissue with the feet, the fabric will felt and shrink. The volleying was heavy and dirty work.
In addition to fulling with the feet, the wool and leather were also felted by hitting it with hammers.
After filling, the individual threads of the wool are no longer visible.
Felt was probably, in addition to the interweaving of plant strands, the first form of textile that man made. In any case, the invention of felt far preceded that of weaving and knitting. The oldest preserved felt remains date from around 6500 BC and were found in Asia Minor.
Also in later times, fulling was an important step in making cloth. It was used on a large scale, initially with the feet in large tubs, later in full mills.