Here is a photo of some felted area and throw rugs from the Fall Fiber Festival (2013) in Montpelier Station, VA, held this past weekend. I think I just might try to make one (though all that work just for dirty feet!). I think I will need some coarser wool than usual and a thicker batting. I will also likely need to make it in the bathtub, due to the larger size.....hum, got to get planning!
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Here is a closeup of some of the embroidered leaf veins:
Sunday, September 1, 2013
I had some thick, brown, needle-felted batts that I wanted to make into shoulder bags and a messenger bag, and make them themed for the four seasons. So, I started with autumn. I have a series of photos to show some of the stages in this process.
First, I laid out and cut the appropriate size of batting. The I lightly covered it with some loose, white, Icelandic wool that I am trying to felt before I purchase it (and it felts well). This is to lessen the very deep, charcoal brown of the base batt. Atop that, I randomly added strands of purple and a unusual coral-orange colored, both 100% wool boucle yarn. To this I layered leaf-like shapes cut out of colored prefelt. And this is what I had at this stage:
I next used a felting needle tool to needle, or "lock in," the main elements I wanted to stay in place (stuff shifts around as you wet felt. See previous posts for more info on using a felting needle). In this photo, you can see that the main shapes are now lightly needle-felted:
Then, I transferred the composition to a large piece of bubble wrap (this presents the uneven surface necessary to encourage the wool to felt, or bind together). I covered the entire project with millinery netting (the kind used in hats) to prevent the wool from felting into itself when I roll it. You can also used a slick, rayon fabric.
See the cut, pink pool noodle in the photo below? That is used in the rolling part of the process.
Below: bubble wrap, wool project, netting:
The next step is to wet down the entire project, saturate it, with a solution of a squirt of dish washing liquid in a 1 gallon bucket of hot water (I actually used a homemade solution of olive oil soap, shaved and mixed with water, and left to soak, but dish soap works fine- I like the natural ones). I wrung out a sponge full of this soapy solution all over the project. You can also use a spray bottle or bulb sprayer, but an inexpensive sponge works fine:
Here is the roll, tied up with old stockings, on a towel to absorb water (best to have a few old towels around to use to sop up excess water):
Using my wrists, on a tall enough surface to ease my back (my kitchen counter) I rolled it back and forth 100 times, unrolled and checked to see how well the wool was locking together, then I rolled it back up for 100 more rolls. Below I am performing a pinch test, to see how well the wool is locking. Very little is coming up in my fingers, so it is getting pretty well felted.
When done, I rinsed it in warm water with 1/4 c of white vinegar added, then I rinsed it again in cool, clear water:
I am in the process of embellishing the project and locking down a few stray areas using needle felting. And here is the result (so far):
Thursday, August 1, 2013
I recently took a Nuno felting class with Magi Shapiro at the Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen http://www.artsglenallen.com/ Though I am familiar with almost all the steps of this felting process, I wanted to gain some hands-on experience with the guidance of a teacher. Magi also teaches wet felting and owns a herd of Icelandic sheep!
We first learned how to make all-wool felt, but most of us were itching to start Nuno felting. This type of felting uses a light-weight fabric, most often silk, but you can use rayon, as a base on which to lightly apply and felt wool. First, I laid out my design on the silk scarf, then lightly needled into place anything I did not want to move during the wet felting process.
Next, the scarf is gently laid on a long piece of bubble wrap, then covered with a piece of nylon curtain fabric (I have used netting instead with good results). The entire scarf is then wetted with warm water into which a squirt of dish soap has been added (about 1 gallon of warm water to that squirt of soap: I often use a gelled mixture of olive oil bar soap instead). Maggie has cool bulb sprayers, but you can use a spray bottle or saturated sponge. Then, the entire thing, scarf, nylon and bubble wrap is rolled around a tube of some sort; we used cut up pool noodles (flotation devices), but for smaller pieces I have used a rolling pin that I wrapped in plastic). The whole roll is tied together with old stockings (hosiery) then rolled 100 times, back and forth, across a towel.
The roll is then unrolled and the wool checked for felting- you take a light pinch of the wool and see if it has adhered to the silk. I then rolled it back up and rolled it 200 more times, checking at the halfway point (my guess is you will need to do this at least 300 times, but, using the wrists to roll, it is not difficult and does not take a long time).
After unrolling the scarf, we then scrunched it up, as shown here:
..and this is ruched: see the puckers in the silk fabric? That is what you want. You can throw some more and get more ruching, but I was finis!
Close up of ruching:
After the scarf is done, rinse it in a basin of tepid water to which a half cup of white vinegar has been added to remove and neutralize the soap and dry it flat. If you need to ever wash it, wash it in cold water with gentle soap.
And here is the final scarf! It lost about 20% of its length as the wool felted to the base. Not bad for a first time using silk...onward and upward!
PS "Ruching" is better defined as pleating, and maybe "puckering" is more accurate?
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
A month or so ago I posted a photo of a piece of felt I made using a combination of wet and needle felting. I turned that into the green bag above, with a wet-felted, wool rope handle. The interior of the bag is lined with linen and it is stitched together with DMC cotton floss using a blanket stitch. The little bag above it is a "wallet" or eyeglass case, made of contrasting colors and a few accent colors echoing the larger bag. I will be embarking on another similar project soon, and will post step-by-step photos and instructions. Oh, the bag still needs a button closure, and I will be working on that too.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
I have been working with a combination of wet and needle felting that, for want of a better term, I have been calling "felt painting." Above is an example of a decorative wall hanging. I wet felted the base, using prefelt (a pre-made, first layer of wool) and arranging a variety of greens and a few yellows on it. I used dyed curly locks that I purchased at a fiber festival. After wet felting and allowing the base to dry, I individually needle felted the pink roses and small purple flowers, attaching them to the base with a felting needle. I will begin working on the rose leaves, though I don't want to put on so many that it obscures the cool background.
Update: The felt piece is now dry and I folded it the way it will be when I make it into a bag:
It looks a little crooked, but won't be when it is done!
Monday, May 20, 2013
I know, we usually do not wear woolens on the spring and summer, but with felting you can make cute ornaments or accents, like the felted flower for this straw garden hat! When I make felted flowers, I usually try to make all the petals from one continuous hank of wool, twisted and needled into the flower shape. Then I needle in the contrasting center and any other color accents. This makes for a sturdier flower, one that will never loose its petals!