"felt: a kind of cloth made by rolling and pressing wool or another suitable textile accompanied by the application of moisture or heat, which causes the constituent fibers to mat together to create a smooth surface."
In recent years there has been a lot of local interest in making beautiful objects by felting wool. Wool is a material that can be colored and shaped into a huge variety of useful and beautiful products, even without going through the process of spinning and weaving that we usually do. Felt is particularly warm and water resistant, and stiffer than woven fabrics. It is also a good way to use the fleece that is not so good for making yarn: the short, broken and matted fibers.
The Thumper is a prototype machine in operation at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center. It works by turning and pounding the wool fuzz, creating friction that mats the fibers together. Large sheets of felt are made by first arranging the batting on a mat, then rolling and wetting it with hot soapy water. It is put into the machine which turns the roll and thumps it with increasing force. The resulting felt is very strong and durable.