The Rhythm of Autumn

The Rhythm of Autumn

The Rhythm of Autumn is a felted mixed media piece that I made several years ago. At the time I was making it, I thought I might do a tutorial on the process so I took a lot of process photos. It originally was going to be cut up and made into covers for various small kitchen appliances such as a toaster cover or a cover for a mixer. Once it was partially completed, I changed my mind in mid stream. So it ended up being a wall hanging. The final piece measures almost four feet across by 2 1/2 feet wide. Due to all the changes I made in the original plan, it took over a year to complete.


This is the original layout. I think I used mixed 56’s wool but actually I can’t remember for sure. I partially felted the piece into prefelt.


Then I wrapped the prefelt around some rusty pipes to rust dye it. The prefelt was wet and presoaked in vinegar water.


Then I put the rolled up bundle in a pail of salt water and covered it with a plastic bag. I left it for two weeks to rust.

Here it is after two  weeks.


This is the entire piece.The sad part was that a lot of this luscious color washed out with the subsequent felting.


I added fabric  leaves cut out of commercial fabrics. These  were too heavy a fabric to nuno felt so I  stitched them on. I was originally  planning to machine sew them on but that proved impossible. So I  ended up hand stitching them down. That took a while.

Here’s a closer view after stitching and felting.


I had also added some silk bits prior to felting.


Here’s the entire piece after felting. I decided not to cut it up at this point but was unsure what to do with it.


This was an idea of adding more interest by putting darker lines through the piece with machine stitching. I used yarn to mark the lines through the piece.


I did end up cutting along the yarn lines and adding dark wool in the space between the  cut pieces of felt.


I covered the lines with water-soluble fabric and pinned it all in place.


Then I machine stitched a “pebble” design over the cut areas making sure that I stitched over the felt edges. The stitching would now hold the cut pieces together. Once it was all stitched, I washed out the water-soluble fabric.


Unfortunately, at this point, I had given up the idea of doing a tutorial so I don’t have a photo of the piece after all the machine stitching was completed. I wasn’t happy with the result and left the project uncompleted for a while. Then I took it to my local fiber group and Bunny suggested that I crumple the entire piece, stitch and stuff as needed to hold it in place and then make it a wall hanging. The photo above shows the mesh I used to back the piece. It is usually used for rug hooking. I crumpled the piece until I got the shapes I wanted, stuffed some areas with extra wool and pinned it all in place. I then hand stitched on the back side to hold everything together and stitched the mesh in place.


Here you can see some of the stuffed areas on the back.


Here is the finished piece. I ended up covering the mesh on the back with acrylic felt and applying a “quilt sleeve” for hanging. I guess the moral of the story is to never give up. That piece of felt you don’t like all that much can be turned into something entirely different!



15 thoughts on “The Rhythm of Autumn

  1. Wow, I can’t imagine so many different process techniques. I do realize the process of experimenting can get kind of crazy. I was particularly interested in the use of the mesh. What a great stabilizer to keep a large piece lightweight. Very good.

    1. I did go a bit crazy on this one. The mesh actually worked very well. The main reason I used it was because I had it on hand and it was large enough.

  2. It looks great Ruth. Just goes to show that there is no such thing as a felting failure.

    Now, to look in that box of “potential masterpieces” !!! 😉

  3. I’m so glad it turned out as beautifully as it did – it’s a wonderful wall hanging.

    You are quite right – don’t give up on a piece straight away!

  4. It looks amazing Ruth, when you said you left it for the 2 weeks, was it in the water that whole time or just kept wet and in the plastic, I didnt go mouldy ? i love the look of it and i might have to scrounge through hubbies shed lol

    1. Thanks Karen – yes I left it in the water for 2 weeks. It didn’t get moldy. Rust dyeing is lots of fun and great for raiding garages etc. for rusty bits. It is wonderful on a silk scarf!

  5. The wall hanging is great but I like the 10th picture, the one with the yarn on it, the best. I am always different. Isn’t it amazing how showing it to someone else can take your thinking in a different direction.

    1. There were lots of people who didn’t think I should have cut it up or scrunched it up at all. One of my favorite things about working with a group of people is getting their ideas about how to do stuff. It always amazes me how different ideas come from the same starting point when you ask different people’s ideas.

  6. Wow! That really is a lot of thought and work you put into that 🙂
    The good thing about taking lots of photos of the process is you could always recreate it and stop at any of the previous stages. I might have try the rust dyeing, I have some rusty bike parts I was going to get rid of.

    1. Thanks Zed. Rust dyeing is lots of fun. Rusty bike parts sound perfect. Just soak some silk fabric in vinegar water and apply the rusty bike parts. Then let them sit a while (keeping everything damp) until you can’t stand it anymore and open it up for a wonderful surprise.

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