Naturals and Needlefelting

I mentioned that we have tried out lots of different fibres at the well being centre lately, and the other week we tried out lots of different wool breeds too. We’ve used naturals before, but mostly for pods/vessels and lots together for hangings etc, but we made samples to get a better idea of what we could use each type for. Since I have more experience, I thought I’d use Herdwick and Lincoln tops. I used some flax and help tops with the Herdwick sample:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the Lincoln I used Soy tops and Black viscose tops:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the Soy:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd a close up of the Viscose:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is what the back looked like:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of the others tried Texel, and had a hard time getting it felted. After the Botany laps unfeltable tops I had, I was a bit concerned. I’ve taken some wools from ‘Goody Bags’ and Botany lap waste in before now, so worried there might have been other unfeltables that got mixed up. My sample turned out alright though. I used some Viscose and Bamboo staple fibre on it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt did get me wondering how much we automatically alter our techniques when using different wool breeds or mixes etc. I always think I felt the same no matter what I use or make, but maybe there’s a slight difference in pressure, or maybe it’s a matter of just felting longer, I honestly don’t know, but I’m going to be more conscious of what I do from now on!
We thought we’d have a go at needle felting before the holidays, so I made a little sample while testing out some fibres:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t get a photo of anyone else’s, and I don’t often do ‘figurative’ needle felting, it’s usually very abstract, which is why my sheep needs a bit more work! The body is alright though, I used some locks Zara sent me 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that light green bit is a bush, not a weird tail!

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12 Responses to Naturals and Needlefelting

  1. Lyn says:

    Your naturals abstract is worthy of framing – it’s gorgeous!
    Sheepie is cute and doesn’t need much more work and I didn’t think the bush looked like a tail. I always like the countryside colours.

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Lyn 🙂
      I’m bad enough at copying with a reference pic, so without one, it was more like cat-parrot in sheep’s clothing!

  2. Great samples Zed. You must have magic felting powers. I found that the “nonfelting” wool make spongy felt and don’t really shrink even when felted well. Did yours shrink much? This is useful wool to make nice insoles for your boots. I like your alien sample and your sheep must have moved while you were doing his portrait, not your felt for his blurry face at all. LOL

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Ann 🙂
      I actually meant really non-felting, like those ‘superwash’ type samples I made. I like the spongey wools, though this Texel isn’t as spongey as some. I didn’t keep track of the shrinkage really, but yeah, they’re always somewhere between spongey and loose when felted hard. I just wanted to make sure it did felt.

  3. I always like the use of viscose , silk or bamboe through the wool, it gives some shine and it doesn’t look so flat. You could use a soap for the sheep, i don’t know how great the piece is. People like a picture on their soaps.

    • zedster66 says:

      Yeah, me too, I love embellishment fibres 🙂 The sheep piece is really thick, I’ve wondered how people get such pictures on soap.

  4. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    I agree with Lyn about the abstract piece. It’s beautiful. It’s always good to see your samples to have an idea if I want to try a new breed.

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Marilyn 🙂
      We’d been talking about lampshades and slippers, so instead of saying ‘I think you should use this’, I thought it’d be good to do samples for everyone to see/feel differences.

  5. ruthlane says:

    Nice to see the various samples Zed. I do think that with experience, you change your approach with wool breeds that aren’t what you normally use. I think it is because you can feel the difference and know that you need more gentle rubbing (or whatever) before proceeding to more pressure and fulling. Newer felt makers aren’t used to how it feels and just progress from step to step by rote. Then they end up with issues because they started too soon with more pressure (or whatever). I lo e the abstract piece and your sheep is adorable. 🙂

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Ruth 🙂
      I wondered if there was a change we subconsciously feel in our fingers/hands to know when different ones are felted. When people ask ‘how do you we know it’s felted?’ I mention the pinch test, but otherwise never use it. I’ve noticed a couple of times issues with layers not felting, similar to my ‘superwash’ botany lap samples, so maybe it’s time for a refresher day or something, with more instruction rather than just ‘exploration’.

  6. I think pictures on a soap are needle-felted first and than attached to the almost felted soap. The finishing touch must felt them together.

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