Wet Felted Milk Bottle Vases. Why?

IMG_5593These are leftover bits of wool that I saved from various projects that I have worked on since I first started felting in March.  Just like I hate wasting paint, I hate wasting wool, and string and fabric, etc.  I gathered the wool into color groups and carded them.  Carding the wool blended all of the different shades into a new shade.  I was going to use the bits as a bit of core wool for a project, but then I found a couple of bottles of milk left precariously on my neighbors’ dustbin.  The neighbors weren’t home, so I brought them home so the milk wouldn’t spoil.  Turns out the milk didn’t belong to them and they just sat in my fridge as I already had milk.  And that is the story of how I ended up with two milk bottles.

I had seen videos of people felting on old glass vases or jam jars etc.   You see, you can’t put flowers in felted vases unless they are contained in glass, so some people upcycle glass and turn them into vases.  It’s a nice idea.  I have to say that felting glass is not one of my favorite things to do, but I guess it has to be done at least once and rather than putting the milk bottles in the recycle bin, I thought I would wet felt them instead.

IMG_5596I split the colors into warm and cool and these are the result – two wet felted milk bottle vases.  They are not as pretty as the vessels I usually make, but they didn’t turn out too badly.

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Wet Felted Vessel With Hearts

IMG_5582I learn something new every time I make a vessel.  I had some leftover fabric I made for applique.  The fabric didn’t have any stitching on it, so I had high hopes that the applique would adhere to the wool better than on the last vessel I made.   I am trying to use up some of my wool that I originally purchased for needle felting.  This pink is great for noses and tails, but I am not needle felting at this time, so I decided it would make a great contrast for the bright pink applique.  The wool is Corriedale and is a bit too itchy for making hats (though some people do), but is great for making vessels.  I don’t measure out my wool when making vessels.  I had about 100g of this pink and I still have a little bit left over.  I don’t know what was going on in my brain when I was laying out the wool, but I used only 3 layers when I normally use at least 4.  This created some thin spots that I wasn’t aware of.

Downloads2Here is the completed bowl.  When I make a bowl, I tend to cut the hole in one side of the resist.  It is also possible to cut the hole at the top of the resist.  As I stated above, I wasn’t thinking clearly when working out the design and should have put the little hearts slightly below and in-between the big ones on the same side, or I should have decorated it with a view to cutting the hole at the top.  I was trying to avoid putting the applique on the seam.  This created some large blank spaces on the vessel.  Luckily I had some mother of pearl discs from a necklace and bracelet I deconstructed and some beads to fill in the gaps.  Although thread won’t felt, I used some for decoration and I laid down very thin wisps of Merino in the same color as the pink to hold the threads down. The wisps are so thin you can barely see them, if at all.  The applique felted very well, although there were a few areas that didn’t stick down too well and that seemed to be where there was a fair amount of silk fiber that was embellished onto the prefelt.  I just needle felted them down into the bowl and they are now felted in nicely.  I also used some of the Corriedale to needle felt over some of the threads where I stitched on the large pink beads.  Seeing that annoyed me when I looked in the bowl, so I covered them up.  As you can see, the bowl looks lovely on its own and with some fairy lights inside.

On another note, I sold a couple of my Xmas mice and my Long eared bunny on FB Marketplace of all places.  The lady doesn’t live far away and will be coming back for a couple of rabbits and my bumble bees next week.  I’ve reduced the price for the bunnies and bees considerably, but I do need to make space for more wool!  There is a sale on this month! 🙂

Wet Felted Beret, My First Hat

Downloads2A hat is just a vessel for your head.  I think I am pretty good at making vessels now, so I thought the next step would be to make a hat.  A beret uses the same technique as making a hat.  I used my French beret as a template for the final size.  As purple is one of my favorite colors, and I do look good in it, I thought purple would be a good color to start with.  This hat is made with 100% Merino wool.

I used two layers of wool batt and one layer of Merino top.  When I first bought my Merino wool, I was going to use it for making paintings, so I ordered multi-packs of similar colors that came in smaller quantities; purples, blues, greens, etc.  This is great when needing only small amounts for details in a wet felted painting, or just a little bit for making a vessel, but not enough of one color for making a hat or hand warmers.  So I used 4 colors of varying shades of purple.  I was trying to go for the hombre look, but the staples were quite long and so that design changed to what you see here.  I started with the darkest color first.  When I completed my design, I used some silk fibers and threads to decorate the top and held them down with a very thin, wispy layer of merino.  I then felted the wool in the normal way as I would for a vessel.  I have since added a pink fabric covered button to the top of the hat.  The pink button matches the pink silk in the hat.  I am more or less happy with the beret.  It fits me and is quite comfortable.  It just isn’t as soft as I thought it should be.

The resist I used was 40cm diameter.  A few tutorials I found used this size.  I think that size is too big for me.  I shall try a smaller size next time as it took ages to felt the hat down to the right size.  This made quite a stiff felt.  The felt is quite flexible and I steamed it to get some of the texture out, but it wasn’t as soft as my French beret.  I have since joined a wet felting group on Facebook and people there have been giving me some tips.

I have since learned that a French beret is knitted first and then felted, which makes it soft, like a fabric.  Someone also suggested adding some fabric, such as silk or muslin, in between the layers which could soften the material or using a finer Merino and maybe less layers.  I have a few ideas to try now.  If they don’t work, at least I will have a pretty vessel!