After a visit to Beamish Museum two ladies of the parish noticed that the church there had felt pew covers. Great Asby had previously been introduced to felt via a community project in celebration of the millennium, where the people of the village made a huge hanging in felt depicting the village of Great Asby, this is hanging in the village hall.
Inspired by these two events these ladies came up with the idea that it would be wonderful if the village could make decorative pew runners for St Peter’s church. This was initially made possible by Our Green Space, a Cumbria wide project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by Friends of the Lake District, along with lots of eager volunteers.
A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in the making of all the pew runners; without them there would be some very cold bottoms in church!
How’s it Done?
All the pew runners were made using the same materials and felting techniques.
A backing layer of pre-felted grey Norwegian wool was used as a base. Four layers of merino wool tops were placed on top of each layer, each one at right angles to the last, followed by the pattern. Hot soapy water was poured on to the fleece, followed by a lot of rolling and rubbing. This action causes the wool fibres to mat together and shrink. When the fleece was felted and shrunk to the required size the runner was rinsed in cold water, the surplus water was squeezed out, then left to dry.
The detail for each runner was created by pre-felting wool, this is where the fleece is only part-felted so it can be cut into the desired shapes, needle felting was used for detail.
This method requires the use of a special barbed needle, which is stabbed into the wool for more precise work. All the runners were measured and the wool was weighed out, even so some are thicker or longer than others, perhaps due to our stamina and energy levels on different days.
Click on each runner image for a larger version.
Follow the link to “read all about it” and see the runner in more detail.