Felting with yarns

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”.



18 thoughts on “Felting with yarns

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

    1. 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.

    1. Thank you Ruth – the textures are far better than I expected them to be!

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

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

  3. 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.

    1. Did you notice the artistic licence with the colour of the sand? Grey? Nah. Everyone knows that sand is yellow – right?

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

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