Make your own Loofah from Fiber
How cool would it be to make your own loofah out of fiber from farm animals? I’ll tell you, very cool and easy too! And you don’t need to have your own farm to do it. Nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa offers visitors the opportunity to experience their working farm and take a class in wet felting. I stopped by this spring to see what it was all about. As a native Granite Stater, I have to admit I had never heard of wet felting so I was pretty keen to learn the basic technique.
Working Fiber Farm
I’ve visited the Mountain View a number of times before, but didn’t realize just how many animals they have on site. Between the alpacas, chickens, ducks, goats, llamas, rabbits and sheep, there’s about 60 or so living on the farm. It’s the fiber from the alpacas, goats, llamas and sheep that is used for wet felting.
The staff farmers, (I met Brandon and Brandy), gather the material when they give the animals haircuts in the spring. They also take care of skirting the fiber, which involves separating out the lesser quality fiber and removing any foreign matter from the fleece. After that it’s ready for wet felting.
Surprisingly you need only a few materials for wet felting: a bar of soap, fiber, warm water, nylon, and a washboard. With the first two steps out of the way we can jump right into learning the basic technique of wet felting. Brandy was the instructor on this day, and she easily guided me through the process. You start by wrapping the fiber around the soap, (called roving). Keep roving until the fiber covers all sides of the soap; it should be wrapped fairly tightly. Once the soap is covered, add some colored fiber to jazz it up. Once again you’ll want to be sure the soap is covered on all sides. After you’ve added color, put the soap into a nylon and get out the washboard.
Wet the soap a bit with the warm water then start felting by rubbing the soap along the washboard. Be sure to do this on all sides, and the soapier the better as this is what is felting the fiber and helping make a snug casing around the soap. You’ll probably have to dip the soap in the water a few times to get rid of some of the suds. But once the fiber is snuggly encased around the soap, rinse the bar in cold water and let it dry. That’s it, you’re done. So easy, right?
Here’s a tip, once you’ve used up your soap – make a slit in the side of the loofah and insert a new bar. This natural loofah should last through two bars of soap.
The Mountain View offers guests a variety of activities depending on the season from adult axe throwing to maple sugaring or painting with pastels. If you’re planning a stay, check their calendar for upcoming activities!