Felting Soap

 

IMG_5361I know, who knew you could do that, or would want to?  Here are some reasons as to why one would want to wet felt soap:

  1. The felt acts as a scrubber.  Not exactly rough, but it acts like a built in wash cloth.
  2. You use less soap and as such, it makes your soap last longer.
  3. No soap scum at the bottom of the soap dish.
  4. Using hard soap is more environmentally friendly than using gel soap or body wash.
  5. You use up all of the soap, so you don’t have to throw little bits away.
  6. When the soap is finished, you have a felted piece of fabric that you can re-use for other projects
  7. Another reason to felt soap is so that you can have the color that matches your bathroom or kitchen! 🙂  I made this one up, but it is one reason I tried it.

Going back to number 7 above, I have some nice lavender soaps I purchased in France, but they are purple.  My bathroom has ocean colors and my kitchen is linen colored.  Purple really doesn’t go in those rooms.

The first bar I felted was the one on the top left.  It is a Dove bar (for sensitive skin).  I blended some blue Merino with green Corriedale top and tied it with some wool yarn.  I used the instructions here: https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/how-to-make-felted-soaps-and-pebbles.html

I was originally looking for instructions on how to make a wet felted vessel and found the soap tutorial also.  I watched countless videos on youtube, but wasn’t very impressed with them as I thought the soaps looked too lumpy.  I think wet felting soap can be a bit hit and miss.  I used two shades of blue Merino for the large bar of soap in the middle top.  My son gave me a nice bar of soap from Marseilles that has been scenting my scarf drawer, but it will be used as hand soap once the one I’m using is finished.  The rectangular bar on the top left is lavender soap that I have been using in the kitchen.  I used it felted today and I think it is better at getting off the dog grime because of the felt.  This was made with Corriedale tops that have long fibers like Merino, but are not as soft.  The soap on the bottom right is made with a Corriedale roving that is already blended.  For some reason, I don’t think it came out that great.  It might get better with use.  Ditto for the one next to it.

I had fun making these and it was a very soapy experience.  I will only ever be making these for myself or any family members that request it!  These soaps were the first thing I made in over a week as I had been on dog duty all week as my hubs was at my daughters’ helping her with some decorating and other things.  So I was pretty tired after walking the dogs early in the morning, coming home at lunch, and walking them after work.  I had just about enough time to feed myself.  At least with felting soap, you don’t have to worry about stabbing yourself with a needle! 🙂

 

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Flower Painting Completed

 

IMG_3742-001This painting is the inspiration for going out of my wet felting comfort zone.  I am still learning about the wool and what it can do.

IMG_5264This is the painting after wet felting for the second time.  I regret not having taken a photo after the first stage.  I used natural white Corriedale batt as the base and pink for the next layer.  The flowers and leaves are a mixture of Corriedale roving and Merino.  I also used Wensleydale locks for the drippy bits and a bit of silk noil.  After the first wet felting, the pink migrated outwards and instead of shrinking the way I wanted, it spread out.  Some parts were really thin, and the flowers lost some color and definition.  I then reworked the piece with needle felting in some dry wool to get the flower shapes back and filling in some spaces.  This also gave me an opportunity to add some extra details to the flowers and some more leaves.  I then added some more Corriedale to the thin spots and then wet felted the whole piece again.  The piece only shrunk a little bit more so I threw it into the tumble dryer to see if that would do anything.  Apparently it didn’t make a difference.  The piece measures approximately 12 inches wide x 14 inches on its longest side.

IMG_5305The next step is to machine stitch the piece.  There is such a thing as less is more, but as this is a flower painting, I felt that each flower and leaf needed to be stitched.  I even added a few extra leaves.  Free style machine stitching makes me nervous, but once I got going, I was ok and was happy with the result until I saw this photo.  So, before going onto the next step of embellishing with embroidery. I ripped out the silk noil and the extra leaf under the blue flower on the lower left corner.

IMG_5339Here is a close-up of the finished piece.  I used embroidery and beads.  I purchased a couple of books on embroidery stitches that were very helpful as it has been a long time (teenager) since I did any embroidery.  I think my grandma would have been proud as she taught me how to do most everything.

I didn’t have a frame large enough to frame the piece in its natural state.  I really love the look of the raw edges, but I wanted to frame this and had to compromise.  I had a square frame that is 16×16 inches with a 12 inch aperture that is meant to be used as a box frame, but unfortunately that is not the case by the way it is made.  I had two of these frames and took the mount out of one of them to double them up in order to keep the painting as far away from the glass as possible as wool has a tendency to sweat if touching glass.  I know it’s weird, but it happens.  This is why it is better to frame them in a box frame.  In any event, I always say that art looks great when it’s framed.

I have some good news on the job front and managed to snag a temp contract for the next six weeks.  Considering that none of my applications brought fruit, this is a welcome relief as it has been a struggle these last few months.  Although working will be great, that will mean less time for playing around with wool, but at least I more or less know what I am doing now!  Thanks for stopping by!

Needle Felted Winter Gnome

Downloads2Meet Sedgewick, my Winter Gnome.  I am hooked on making these guys.  Sedgewick is sporting a grey coat and hat with ‘fur’ edging and pom-pom.  He doesn’t go anywhere without his skis and poles.

Sedgewick sits on a snowy white base of sliced white birch and is approximately 6.5 inches tall.   He is now available in my Etsy shop.