The challenge for this quarter is “surface decoration by twists, tubes, yarns” and I chose to use only yarns as surface decoration.
This is my inspiration photo, taken by my daughter Annie, on a local beach. I used it to inspire my felted piece for the challenge.
The first thing I see in the photo are the ropes, thick and thin, in white, orange and turquoise and there’s a lot of frayed ends. Then at the top there’s a metal ring that may have had chain attached to it at some time, and in the middle is some tangled fibre.
I decided to make the yarn embellishments first, starting with the ropes.
I used 100% wool 4-ply yarn to make the ropes (there’s a good tutorial by ‘Textile Arts Now’ that shows how to make a twisted cord). The thickness of the cord will depend on how many strands of yarn used to make it.
Note: Some 100% wool is labelled ‘Superwash’ and it won’t felt.
To distress the ends of the ropes, untwist the yarn strands. It can be tricky – I lost a bit during the separation of the strand below – it looks like 3-ply now!
I used 100% wool yarn to make a chain by tying knots at regular intervals in a double length of yarn.
A piece of this fancy yarn, after distressing, made the fibre mess I needed.
I wanted to add a little something that wasn’t in the inspiration photo but I still wanted it to be made from yarn.
After a quick trip to Googleland I found a lovely free knitting pattern, by ‘knittingninja’, free starfish pattern, so I made one from pink mohair. A piece of knitting can be fairly ‘solid’ so I thought the fluffy mohair would help the starfish to felt in easily and I made the stitches a bit looser than I normally would.
So I then had all the components I needed – all made from yarn.
I made a base of loose yellow merino wool fibres to compose my challenge piece on. When I’d finished I took a quick snap on my phone to check the composition – it’s much easier to see the whole thing on a screen.
I started the felting agitation very carefully so as not to disturb the design, then turned it over and worked mainly from the back – checking the front at regular intervals.
When the yarns were loosely attached I rolled the felt until the piece felt firm. When it was dry I trimmed the edges with a rotary cutter – the finished size is 32 x 26cm (13″ x 10″).
As you can see from the close-up below, the texture is pronounced but none of the yarn embellishment moves under finger pressure! It’s all felted in there “good ‘n’ proper”.