Felt in modern culture and fashion
“Felt is a dense textile material without any threads, manufactured from felted wool or of synthetic fibers, which are tightly linked together with the help of hot water and steam. Such material-making is called felt-wallowing”.
This is the brief description from encyclopedia. No wonder that in the understanding of a modern man it is something archaic, like granny boots and galoshes. It would seem logical to say that felt is an outdated material in every perspective, but it’s surely not!
Felt is used not only for old-fashioned boots, but also the wonderful world of interesting, useful and fun gizmos - felt products can be of many different colors, soft and very comfortable. You can make a lot of things out of felt, and most importantly, it will be fashionable! But let's start from the origins.
Felt has been known since ancient times. According to the Bible it was discovered by accident when Noah spent a long time wandering in his ark and watching sheep. Historically, felts were used extensively by Eurasian nomads living in Tibet areas, the Caucasus, Altai, Carpathians and the Balkans. Felt is very light, easy to use, retains heat and insulates sound, making it extremely practical. The word "felt" came to us from the Turkic dialects and it means felt material made from the hair of animals - sheep, goats and llamas. Felt-crafting is the most ancient techniques of working with wool and there are reliable sources, confirming that a person has mastered the art wool before knitting or sewing. Animal hair neatly gathered during molting, and first primitive clothing was made and centuries before mankind learned to weave, spin and knit. With the domestication of animals wool gathering process became much easier and more productive, because it was possible to collect wool straight from the animal. Besides the felt was also a perfect material for the first coating, which then became the carpets and bunting for that special sheltered dwelling of nomads - yurts. Interestingly, the manufacturing process was handed by men because it required considerable physical effort. People learned quickly how to decorate felt with paint, cut it and sew patterns.
Europeians did not stayed on the sidelines, active usage of felt came to them with the Mongol invaders. The harsh climate and lack of resources did the trick, and the culture of felt were settled in the northern expanse, giving felt boots, utility cloth, hats, pouches and many others. Felt is also used in outerwear and as an insulation of houses.