Felt History

Felt from wool is considered to be the oldest known textile. Many cultures have legends as to the origins of felt making. Sumerian legend claims that the secret of feltmaking was discovered by Urnamman of Lagash.
The story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher relates that the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters while fleeing from persecution. At the end of their journey, the movement and sweat had turned the wool into felt socks.

Most likely felt's origins can be found in central Asia, where there is evidence of feltmaking in Siberia (Altai mountains) in Northern Mongolia and more recently evidence dating back to the first century AD in Mongolia. Siberian tombs (7th to 2nd century BC) show the broad uses of felt in that culture, including clothing, jewelry, wall hangings, and elaborate horse blankets. Employing careful color use, stitching, and other techniques, these feltmakers were able to use felt as an illustrative and decorative medium on which they could depict abstract designs and realistic scenes with great skill. Over time these makers became known for the beautiful abstract patterns they used that were derived from plant, animal, and other symbolic designs.