In my Monet Challenge blog post this past quarter, I pointed out I had used a Domestic 56 base without pre-felting it. The domestic fiber is coarser than merino, approximately a 29.5 micron compared to a 19 of the merino. I had a lot of hairiness migrate through the merino and had to shave the piece a couple of times. I wanted to try a pre-felted base with the same fiber. So, I set out to do another Monet.
I chose Monet’s Water Lillies 3. Water lillys conjur wonderful memories for me from my childhood summers at my Grandmother’s cottage on a channel off a lake.
Using two layers for the base, I wet felted it and let it dry. I was surprised at the shrinkage even though I did light rolling in all directions before drying. A rectangle turned into a square.
I laid out my design. I wasn’t terribly happy with it. I did some needle felting to give the lilly pads more definition. Here it is before wet felting.
After wet felting it, I still wasn’t enamored with it. I did some more needle felting and it seemed to take on a better life.
The one thing I did learn was that using a pre-felted base of the Domestic 56 made it less hairy. I didn’t need to shave it at all. Even though I fulled it the same way I did the first Monet, it wasn’t as stiff. Both methods had advantages. So, I will continue to experiment depending on the results I want to achieve.
What is your experience with using a pre-felted base of a coarser fiber?