So, a couple of weeks ago, my good friend Amanda announced that she and her daughter Hannah were holding a felt-making class at their place and they'd invited a couple of their friends who are long time felters to come along and teach us some techniques.
teasing of the wool tops and laying them into 3 layers.
laying the final design layer of fibres and wool
Now came the messy bit - we sprinkled hot water over the entire surface of our piece and with with a scrunched up plastic bag we scrubbed gently in circular motions at the net to meld the fibres together. We also rubbed soap over the net to create some lather and then scrubbed over the net making sure we were working into all the fibres. We made sure to scrub the other side too.
scrubbing away at the wool and checking to see if the fibres have felted.
rolling rolling rolling, shrinking shrinking shrinking
This is my felted and shrunk piece of felt - oh the joy! Look at all the yummy colours!
So, that folks, was my first attempt at felting and I can't tell you how pleased I felt - ok, ok, that's corny I know, but I just couldn't help myself :-O But seriously though, I was really pleased with what I made and after letting it dry naturally in the sun I folded it into a purse and it looked really good - see for yourselves.............
all I have to do is sew it up and add a nice big button in the middle
We then went on to felt a 3D piece and I decided to make a vase. Making a 3D form is slightly more technical in that you have to make careful measurements and make a plastic template to work onto. I followed the same technique for felting the first piece, except this time I had to work both sides onto the template. Once all the fibres had felted over the plastic template, I cut a slit at the top and pulled out the template. This left me with a bag form which I had to shrink down considerably so that the jar (I was using as mould) could slip inside. Then I had to further shrink and mould the felted bag around the glass jar. It was amazing how it shrank before my eyes and fitted the jar perfectly and I folded and shaped a rim that turned over so that the inner colour of the vase was displayed.
One lesson Amanda and I learnt was that alpaca hair though lovely and soft to start with, becomes very coarse when felted and actually comes through the layers to create a hairy whatever you've made and not only that, it actually moults like an animal and gets everywhere! I know I shan't be using that material in my felting again - unless I want to create a felted alpaca! :-O
My hairy felted vase. I actually had to give this a hair cut - the alpaca hair was just moulting so badly. It also dulls the colour of the wool - this was meant to be bright red with ochre and olive designs in but the alpaca dilutes the colour and it's hairyness takes over :-D By the way, the glass jar is inside so I can fill it with water and arrange flowers inside.
Here endeth our lesson in felt-making :-)