Meet the embellisher. It may look like a sewing machine, but instead of using thread, there are 5 needle punching needles instead. I had been wanting one for ages when I bought a book about embellishing felt. There are a few to choose from, but the reason I chose this one is because I can change the needles individually when they break. I already broke two when making this project I am going to tell you about. There is not much info about this type of machine on the internet or in books even though they have been around for quite some time. Not only can you make felt with it, you can make paintings, embellish clothes, and use fabric in your work.
I made some prefelt with the machine the other day and I am going to use it in a project soon. However, I had this dish sitting around that I wasn’t happy with.
It is pretty hideous. This was an experiment that went bad. The dish is 100% Merino batt that is felted quite thickly with leaf skeletons. Surprisingly, the leaf skeletons felted really well to the wool and I had a difficult time getting them off the top side of the plate. I covered up the leaves with leftover wool. As with paint, I don’t throw anything out. I had some wool leftover when I was felting soap as some of it didn’t felt well. I used that to cover the bowl and leaves and embellished it with the machine. The dish was quite thick and really well felted already, but the machine felted even more and thinned it out to a really firm piece. Once the wool was nicely embellished onto the piece, I then added bits of wool and string. String won’t felt in the wet felting process which is why you need thin strands of wool to hold it down, but the embellishing machine will punch it down into the wool. The great thing about embellishing wool is that some of it will punch through to the other side which can give a nice effect. Sometimes it is nicer than the right side of the piece as it is more subtle. So this is what we have now.
I cut into the wool on all 4 sides to bring them together to make a basket. The cuts are overlapped. They were too thick to use the embellishing machine. I broke a needle trying! So I used a needle punching tool I use for needle felting. It also has 5 needles. It helped to stabilise the sides before I embroidered with a blanket stitch to keep it all together. To make the shape, I re-wet the piece in very warm water and shaped it over a plastic storage container. It is quite sturdy now. I would normally bling it up with some beads, but I’ve given it to the hubs to put his watch in on the bedside table. 🙂