handknits . woolfelting at Craft NSW
We market unique Australian handknits with a character which can't be replicated by mass produced articles.
Our members can also offer you handspun, hand dyed or greasy Australian wools and New Zealand mohairs, available by the skein to knit your own garments and create your very own Australian arts and crafts.
Felting (which is thought to have originated in Asia) is one of the oldest textile processes and was used for hats, wall coverings, boots, blankets and the covering of yurts.
Fibres, usually wool or other forms of animal fleece or hair, are manipulated to form a densely interlaced mass which can then be flattened, moulded or otherwise shaped. Felting is an efficient form of insulation.
'Nuno' means fabric in Japanese. Nuno felting is a process which melds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze.
This creates a lightweight felt that can totally cover the background fabric or be used as a single decorative design.
The Nuno felting process is particularly suitable for fine garment making, since silk-backed felt ensures a stable felt that will not stretch out of shape like normal felt.
Because it is lightweight and easy to manipulate it can also be dyed more readily than traditional felt. Other fabrics or open weaves can be used as the felting background, resulting in a wide range of textural effects and colours.
Handspinning is an age old craft and the basis of knitting and weaving. Fleece or other material is spun to make one twisted thread called yarn.
Up until the 16th century, yarn was spun using a simple spindle, a technique which required the use of both hands. Then spinning was 'modernised' when, by the addition of a treadle, a spinner could rotate the spindle with a foot and have both hands free to manipulate the fibres.
The development of cotton fibre in the 18th century brought the spinning jenny, a machine which could spin from more than one spindle at a time, but handspinners today still use a spinning wheel, a piece of equipment which is centuries old in design, a spindle driven by a crank or foot treadle to produce fine yarn.
Australia is the world's leading producer and exporter of merino wool. This is described in terms of 'fineness', a measurement of the average diameter of the fibre.
Australian fine wool is classed as 19.5 microns and finer. It is valued as a natural fibre with many positive properties.
These properties; thermal, water resistance, fire resistance, durability, elasticity, dirt resistance and ease of dyeing, result in fabrics, knitwear and carpets made from a wide range of wool types varying from extra fine to broad fibres. In fashion, wool comes in a wide choice of textures, weaves and weights. As fabric, wool has wonderful 'drape', is alive, flexible and tailors easily.