Third Quarter Challenge – Beneath the Surface

Third Quarter Challenge – Beneath the Surface

This year’s challenge theme is all about surface design. So you would think that most surface design is just that, the top layer of embellishments added to the surface. But wool is such an interesting fiber. You can add things underneath the top layer of wool that will affect the surface design. So that is this quarter’s challenge. To add something underneath the top layer of wool that will change the surface after felting. I am using photos from our library here on the website so not all of these photos are of my work. But these are to give you some ideas.

One of the things that you can put beneath the surface are inclusions such as marbles. Here Ann has made some felt cuffs where the marbles definitely change the surface design. You can leave them in, take them out or cut them partially open to have the marble or inclusion partially exposed.

Here are a few more pieces that have inclusions in the felt. I have used yarn, a felt bead, marbles, and a glass color sample. I have also created craters with a different color wool underneath to create a complementary color scheme.

You could also use resists under the top layer of wool to create a design. By having a different color underneath, you will expose the contrasting underneath color when the resist is cut out and removed. The piece on the right is cut back applique where three layers of felt were stitched together and portions were cut back to reveal the design.

Another method of changing the surface from beneath is to have two or more layers of wool in different colors, these can be stitched as in the photo above to create ridges and then cut back. Or you could try this with felt beads with layers of color and then cut them to use on a surface. Or if you created a vessel with thick walls with multiple color layers, you could carve parts of the vessel back to show the different colors. There are many options with this technique.

Using a coarser wool under a finer wool will change the surface design as well. In the photo above, Terri Berry used a Gotland wool underneath the top surface teal merino. She used a plastic resist to create the pattern under the merino. The Gotland migrates through the merino and the only teal merino left is where the plastic pattern blocked the migration. You can read her entire post about it here.

You can use different wool underneath to achieve a different texture on the surface. These two samples were created by Zed with two layers in each sample. The sample on the left is Mixed 56’s on the bottom covered by 18.5 mic Merino. The sample on the right is two layers of 18.5 mic Merino. The coarser wool underneath gives a different texture than the two layers of Merino. (Thanks Zed!)

One very simple way to change the surface is to use a different color underneath the top layer. As you can see in the photo above, the red on the black wool looks different from the red on the white wool.

There are many more ways I have seen that people have created different surface designs by what they put underneath that top layer of wool. These are just a few examples to get you started. What can you create by changing the surface design from beneath the surface? I hope you’ll give it a try. And if you create something for the challenge, please show us over on the forum. 




12 thoughts on “Third Quarter Challenge – Beneath the Surface

    1. Hi Josey, glad you like our website. There is a button on the right side of this page where you can follow the blog via email. Just push on it and fill out the information. If you’d like to join the forum, there is a forum button at the top of the right side of the page where it will take you and you can register there. If you would like information on classes, please let me know which classes are of interest and I will put you on that email list.

  1. OOOH You have me thinking again!! thanks for the challenge i hope to finish on time this time!!

  2. Hmmm! I’m more used to putting things under fabric to change the effect, or thinking about how different wool affects fibre, so I’ll really have to get my thinking cap on for this one 🙂

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