Felting with yarns

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.

inspiration photo for 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.

different thicknesses of cord

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!

frayed yarn rope end

I used 100% wool yarn to make a chain by tying knots at regular intervals in a double length of yarn.

chain made by knotting wool yarn

A piece of this fancy yarn, after distressing, made the fibre mess I needed.

distressed fancy yarn

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.

starfish knitted with mohair yarn

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.

quick phone snapshot to check layout

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”.



About annielynrosie

rosiepink is a mother and daughter team.
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18 Responses to Felting with yarns

  1. Lindsay says:

    Lovely work, Lyn. You’ve achieved the look of the tangled debris really well yet also managed to make it aesthetically pleasing.

  2. Leonor says:

    I like how you used something that’s considered de facto rubbish as inspiration and made something so pretty 🙂

    • annielynrosie says:

      Thank you Leonor. My daughter takes photos of peeling paint, rust, dead leaves etc and they are all interesting and sometimes beautiful in their own way.

  3. ruthlane says:

    Great challenge piece Lyn! The textures you achieved are wonderful and I too like that the inspiration wasn’t anything “beautiful”.

  4. Very Cool Lyn. It’s funny how even trash can look good in a picture.

    • annielynrosie says:

      Thank you Ann – these challenges make us look at stuff differently don’t they?

  5. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    Beautiful Lyn! A fun, but thoughtful layout and variety of yarns. It’s a very interesting and pleasing to look at.

  6. annielynrosie says:

    Thank you Marilyn. I loved making it but I wouldn’t have even thought of it had it not been for the Forum’s challenge.

  7. tracey2008 says:

    This is great, a well thought out tangle!

  8. annielynrosie says:

    Thank you Tracey. Planning again! Love it!

  9. Antje says:

    What a fabulous success – vibrant colours, cords and yarn well felted, and turning a negative (the trash) into a positive (the inspiration).

  10. zedster66 says:

    This is amazing, Lyn! 🙂

  11. annielynrosie says:

    Thank you Zed. Another great challenge – keep ’em coming!

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