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Felting a traditional yurt wall  RSS feed

r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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How do I felt a yurt cover from local wool?

image borrowed from here

A group of textile artisans are looking for a nomadic work space for teaching, working, and demonstrating textiles.  Also a place to hang out and plot our next caper.  We settled on a yurt partly because mine is already started and partly because it was the most awesome nomadic structure we could think of that could be made out of local materials.  The first workshop we will teach in this yurt is "how to felt a yurt wall". 

I have some of the walls finished and all the wood I need to finish the structure.  This is all locally sourced from local trees and milled in small, individual own mills in the local area.  We could cover it with cotton or synthetic, but to keep with the local and sustainable theme, we are going with traditional wool covering.

We are making a four wall, 16' yurt. 

From the book Yurts, living in the round by Becky Kemery:

Wool has many properties that make it perfect fas a shelter covering.  A great insulator against both heat and cold, wool is naturally flame resistant (when on fire, it smolders without giving off heat).  When tightly crimped, as it is in felt, the  materials absorbs odors and noise.  The felting process not only makes wool warmer, it also makes it less permeable and more water resistant.

The seven felts of a typical (4 wall) yurt requires from sixty to as many as one hundred and ninety wool fleeces, depending on the size of the yurt, the desired thickness of the felt, and the type of wool being used.


Feltingmaking is an all-day process that begins with a toast of fermented mares' milk and ends with a feast of roast lamb.  The opening ceremony and post-felting party are considered essential elements of the process. 

She goes on to describe some of the process for preparing the wool and the actual felting.  It's labour intensive to be sure and requires a crowd.

Gathering up the fleeces is going to be a challenge.  But there are a lot of sheep around and the farmers just toss their wool into the forest to rot.  What I need is a gathering crew with the gift of the gab to convince these farmers to donate their fleeces to us rather than the forest. 

I don't have a firm plan of attack yet, so I'm asking here in hopes of gathering inspiration. 

In case you are curious about yurt builds, here are some random yurt resources.
mother earth news, build your own yurt
construction of a yurt
yurt info (so far this is my favourite)
building  a yurt from scratch

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