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.

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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. 🙂

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Wet Felted Iris Vessel

Downloads2-001I have been making my vessels two at a time in order to save a little bit of time.  Otherwise I would be at it all day!  I originally wanted to make a blue iris, but I didn’t have any blue prefelt, nor the time to make any.  So, I Googled yellow irises and sure enough, there are yellow irises.  I drew and cut out 3 basic shapes on the prefelt as my decoration.  Yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel and I knew that would make the yellow really pop.  I have some lovely lavender Merino batt that I used as a base and used the prefelt as decoration with some Corriedale as the stem.  I hadn’t used prefelt in wet felting before and I was happy with the result and how it felted.  I shall probably use it more often.

Once the vessel was completely dry, I needle felted some extra wool on the flower for definition and decoration and then wet felted it again.  I knocked out the wrinkles to make it really smooth.   I wasn’t going for a realistic flower.  I just wanted people to know what it was.  Looking at it now, I might add some more wool to the flower to give it more definition near the stem, otherwise I am really happy with how it turned out! 🙂

Here it is now with a bit more contrast needle felted to the flower.

Downloads2-001It’s subtle, but it does make a difference.

Wet Felted Fire Vessel

Downloads2-002Here is one of my latest vessels.  I call it the fire bowl.  I had the idea to make it when I made my Autumnal vessels.  I used a Corriedale batt and decorated it with Corriedale and Merino tops.  I worked from the bottom.  I think it is one of my favorites so far.  It has a little bit of Angelina fibers on top to give it a bit of sparkle, but it doesn’t really photograph.  I think it would be great with some battery operated fairy lights that flicker inside! 🙂