Wet Felted Vase Makeover

Sometimes things don’t always turn out the way you imagine they would.  Every time I wet felt something, I hope for the best.  Everything I make at the moment is an experiment, as it is still new to me.  I am learning the language of wool.  The example below is not one of my finest efforts.

IMG_5374

I used  natural Merino batt with skeleton leaves.  It took ages to get the shape correct.  Although the vase is well felted, it is a bit blah!  Actually, it is more than a bit blah.  So, I looked at it for weeks and before I was ready to throw it out, I had an idea.  You know how I hate to waste anything.  I had to find a way to make the vase better or find another use for it.

IMG_5609

I used my embellisher to make some fabric with leftover wool and cut out leaf shapes.  I hand stitched the leaves onto the vase and viola!  I have a new vase for my fake plant.   It isn’t perfect, but at least it is no longer blah!

Wet Felted Vessel With Applique

Downloads2-033Here is my latest vessel.  I am starting a new contract, so I will only be able to felt on the weekends!  It is approximately 6h x 7w inches.

I used the embellishing machine to make some fabric.  I embellished different shades of pink and purple wool, with sari silk fibers and sari silk ribbon onto a piece of Merino Prefelt.  The silk gives the fabric a nice sheen.  I also added some Angelina fibers for a bit of sparkle.  I then used the sewing machine to sort of make some round flower shapes.  I have to admit that it was tough going without a backing fabric on the piece, but I wanted to use the fabric as an applique, as I did with the iris vessel.  I lost the will to live with trying to sew the whole piece of fabric, which is a good thing as I have an idea for another bowl.

I decided to make the design on the inside of the bowl, which would ultimately become the outside.  I thought that wouldn’t disturb the applique too much.  In any event, some parts of the applique didn’t felt completely to the vessel, but as it is all a learning curve, that was ok.  It may have had something to do with the stitching.  The wool and silk felted nicely in any event.  I embroidered a running stitch around each piece of applique and stitched a few beads on each piece too.  I was going for an abstract flower design.  The felt is nice and thick and I am happy with how sturdy it is.

On another note, I went my first meeting of the East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers this weekend.  They meet once a month on a Saturday.  It was suggested I go by two people I met and I finally decided to do it.  I have to say that there is a combined wealth of information to be had here.  Although I don’t weave or spin, I am interested in dying and carding wool.  I met some really lovely ladies.  Although we are not supposed to bring work to sell, some people had bits of carded wool and books for sale.  I restrained myself from purchasing anything other than dye.  There was a guest speaker who talked about her life in dyeing and she had product for sale.  There were some bargains to be had.  If I had known about the dyeing class on Sunday, I would have booked that.  Something to look forward to in the future.  There is an exhibition at the end of the month over two days that I am looking forward to going to.  It could be an opportunity to show my work one day. 🙂

Playing With a New Toy

IMG_5561Meet 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.

IMG_5376

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.

Downloads2-001I 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. 🙂