A couple of weeks ago, Zoe from Heidi Feathers kindly sent me some prefelt samples to try out. I don’t have a massive amount of experience with prefelt, I’ve made my own a few times for specific projects, and have tried a couple of thicknesses of plain white Merino prefelt as a base for a few things. We’ve talked about commercial prefelt on the forum a few times, wondering things like whether it keeps its shape well, is it thick enough to use for surface design, etc. I had no idea so I was looking forward to trying it out.
For the first piece I made, I used a couple of layers of Merino tops, then did a very basic ‘weave’ using strips of prefelt, silk and cotton gauze:
I didn’t do anything to the prefelt pieces, just laid them out. As you can see, the silk didn’t attach to the prefelt in a couple of places because it is quite firm and there aren’t any visible loose fibres.
In my opinion this is definitely a good thing, I’d much prefer a prefelt to be firm with definition, and when using with fabrics which might not attach easily, you can rough up the prefelt where you need it, using an old toothbrush or wire dog brush. For the next piece I tried out, I used the same ‘mirror’ idea from the Studio Challenge and repeated patterns either side of an imaginary line across the centre of the piece. I started with two layers of Merino for this too, then just cut a variety of oblongs, triangles and squares in matching pairs and added them to the top in a random reflective design.
The last piece I tried was just a little test using some scrap pieces. Left to right: Some geometric shapes; a piece that I rolled between wet hands; a piece I dampened slightly and coiled; a piece I twisted with some Merino top; a piece I twisted on its own; some very thin off cuts I laid out or twisted and another prefelt/Merino top twist.