What is merino wool felt?
Felt is wool. Wool is hair from sheep. It’s that simple. Of the many varieties of wool available, the one we use comes from a specific breed of sheep called Merino. Merino wool is unique among all wool varieties and prized for its strength, flexibility and softness. The secret of Merino wool is the ultra fine fibers, which allow it 50% more flexibility than traditional, courser wool varieties. Merino fibers are typically much longer, creating density, structure and highly reduced pilling.
The felting process
Merino wool fibers are cleaned and combed to remove impurities. Sheets of these combed fibers are exposed to hot water and steam. Repeated rounds of agitation and compression between oscillating plates cause the long fibers to become entangled and create a singular expansive surface – felt! It’s quite a journey from shorn wool to felt but as one of the world’s oldest textiles, it’s had thousands of years to be perfected.
Our beautiful Merino wool felts are produced in some of Germany’s most esteemed factories, known for their seamless combination of traditional know-how and state of the art technology.
What happens if I spill something on my felt bag?
Don’t panic. The merino wool does not take color easily and most stains can be removed with a little soak, a rinse and an absorbent towel.
Water will not damage felt. In fact, the material is able to wick away large quantities of moisture - which is why our coasters are so popular!
Wine, oil, and food:
- Wet the spot well with a mix of warm water and light detergent until saturated
- Massage the stain lightly to break up fibers - wait 2-3 minutes
- Pat – don’t rub - the area firmly with absorbent paper towel to remove moisture
- Repeat 1-3 as necessary till stain visibly lightens
- Rinse and repeat until detergent clears
- Pat (again, don’t rub!) surface well and lay flat to dry
Lint rollers are a best first option for dry stains - a few passes with a good adhesive roller should reduce dry stains significantly and freshen up any felt product.
The most important thing to with mud is let it sit and dry. Dryness is the key for releasing fine dirt particles. Once dry, slightly beat the felt to knock out the remaining dust as much as possible. Vacuum lightly to finish.
It may seem strange, but it works!
A few tips:
- Make sure hose attachment is clean (very important)
- Hold the felt securely in place
- Apply the vacuum with quick up and down motions to the affected area
Will the felt start to pill?
Surface pilling should not be a problem with the merino wool felt used in our products. The long fibered felt is very dense and pilling complaints are rare. If you do happen to experience minor pilling on the surface or edges of your product, we suggest a few circular passes with a home fabric shaver.
Can felt lose its shape?
Under certain wet conditions, the pressure of a heavy or angular object inside the bag may cause the felt to slightly change shape. Running a steamer or iron lightly over the general area can help return the bag to its original form. After a few light passes of 2-3 seconds the area should begin to smooth out. Always err on the side of less passes and less heat. A little help with your fingertips to flatten the area never hurts.
Dry cleaning is a great way to refresh your bag season to season. Since most of our styles feature a mix of felt and leather, we highly recommend using a cleaner who specializes in leather products.
If you have any additional questions regarding the care of your Graf Lantz product, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices at:
Vegetable Tan Leather
Veg-tan leather is as old as civilization and still has no rival. The skins are tanned with plant based materials and take no pigment or surface paint so only the A grade hides get to become veg-tan. It’s tough, lasts forever, is easy to maintain and ages gracefully. That’s why we use it.
Graf Lantz works with only American and European veg-tan hides for our SS ‘17 collection. Seasons are all about slow and subtle changes. To us nothing reflects the beauty of change more eloquently than good veg-tan that’s seen a few seasons go by.
Developing a Patina:
The intention with veg-tan is to encourage the progression of a surface patina that gradually develops a glowing gold/red hue. To accomplish this, the surface is left naked and unsealed so that oxidation can begin immediately with exposure to open air and sunshine. Water is not usually a problem as once it dries most marks usually disappear. Oils, wines, and coffee, etc., however, will make a mark. Not to worry though, with a little time the color begins to even out over the whole surface in the process of darkening to achieve the patina. A little saddle soap rub applied occasionally will keep the surface clean and smooth and hurry the patina along. For the quickest solutions, shoe repair shops usually stock many leather treatments and should be able to identify solutions immediately.