When I bought this felt rolling machine, from Feltcrafts , it came with enough blue solar pool blanket material, to wrap the nuno felt work up in before placing it on the machine to roll. But, I found that technique slowed the process down, so I put the work on the machine to roll in the same way as when I had rolled it by hand. Many of my pieces are thin, so I was always looking for a way to create the roll big enough around and with enough body not to slip or twist between the two lower rollers as they turned. I had even placed textured stair tread tape strips on the rollers to keep the roll from slipping. You can see that gray stair tread tape in the first photo. But the gravely texture of the tape was chewing up the plastic cover on the work, so I removed it. The quest continued. Then I hit on the following: I made a roll from a piece of the solar blanket, to be used as a center to roll my work around. In the 4th picture down you can see the "core" roll. It is the same length as the rollers on the machine, and thus stays in place perfectly. And most important, it makes the work felt faster to have that textured, some what flexible core in the center.
Pleased with the results on the machine, I then adopted this method in teaching my workshop students. They make a center core for rolling by taking their blue rubbing mats, rolling them up,
bubble side out, secured with rubber bands.
So much more effective than a rolled up towel or a pool noodle.
One idea leads to another. The other day I was watching the machine do it's thing, and I got to thinking. If the pool blanket material is so effective in the center of the work, ( often felting the center faster than the rest of the piece), what might happen if the rollers that the rolled up work was coming in contact with were also that same textured material? I cut some of the blue bubble stuff to fit around each bottom roller, and taped it in place. I am here to say, it works fantastically! The first nuno piece I tried it with felted up in half the time!
Rollers covered with blue pool blanket
Center core roll, secured with rubber bands.
Here you can see the work in place on the machine, and rolled around the core.
Can't you just see those fibers rolling and bouncing and working their way quickly through the fabric?