Influencing Shape with Fiber Layout – Part 2

Last week I showed you how I made  a cone shape from a flat circle of felt. I also made a shape that is similar to a bowl without using a resist. The shape is created from the fiber layout and directional shrinkage.

I started with a circle template so that my layout would be the same size as the cone shape I made last week. The center of the fiber layout was done radially. So the fiber was pointing from the center outward. Then on the outside of the radially laid fiber, I laid a ring of fiber. I again did two layers of fiber both done in the same way. The fiber is Blue Face Leicester.

I wet down the wool with cold, soapy water and then began rubbing. I rubbed in the direction of the wool fiber. So the center was like rubbing along the hours of the clock. The photo in the middle shows rubbing at one o’clock. I worked my way around the circle rubbing in this manner. Then I rubbed around the outside edge rubbing along the circumference of the circle. This one did not form the shape as easily as the cone did.

I found a glass vase that was the right size sphere to work on. I was careful with my rubbing since the vase was glass. You can see in the photo on the left that the edges are pleated to conform around the vase. I had to rub and rub and rub to get those pleats to flatten out and to shrink the outside edge. In the right photo, the direction of my left hand is the direction in which I rubbed.  I also put the felt wrapped vase on the side and rubbed against the ridged rubber mat. Once the felt was shrinking, I added hot water and continued in the same manner. Next time, I would make the outside ring of fiber a bit wider. I think that would have helped in getting the correct shape.

And here’s the finished bowl. I dried it on the glass vase to keep the shape. It is fulled very hard and holds its shape easily.

Next week I will show you the “bonnet” shape I created. Do you use fiber layout to create a specific shrinkage/shape? I would love to hear what you have done. Join us on our free forum and post about it.



About ruthlane

When I discovered felting in 2007, I finally found the creative outlet for which I had been searching. I love that the versatility of fiber allows me to “play” with a wide variety of materials including wool, silk, fabrics, yarns and threads. Creating one of a kind fiber art pieces to share with the world fulfills my creative passion.
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14 Responses to Influencing Shape with Fiber Layout – Part 2

  1. annielynrosie says:

    Lovely bowl Ruth! I wonder if your choice of wool helped?

    Your determination shone through with the elimination of those pleats!

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Lyn, I haven’t tried this technique with different wool breeds. Theoretically, it should work with any type of wool.

      Is it determination or stubbornness? 🙂

  2. That is so cool, someday if i ever have time for myself, I will try it!

  3. The bowl turned out great Ruth! I have seen the directional layout used for hat making but haven’t tried it yet. I always think it’s fun to experiment. I look forward to bonnet shape.

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Marilyn, it was fun trying the directional layout and interesting to see the different shapes developed.

  4. That turned out well. The layout makes a big difference. I think I would have tried rolling the edge in my hands to shrink it more. I wouldn’t have thought of a vase.

  5. ruthlane says:

    Thanks Ann, I actually did roll it in my hands as well. I just forgot to say so. The vase was all I could find that was the right size.

  6. Karen Lane says:

    Two very interesting posts Ruth. I also use different fibre layouts and directional shrinkage now for 3D pieces including hats and vessels and bowls. Most of the tips I’ve gleaned have been from Russian feltmakers including Irina Spasskaya.

  7. Antje says:

    A little late in replying but I have enjoyed your posts Ruth. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out the shape I am aiming for and then how the wool should be laid to achieve this.
    Like Karen & you, I have learnt (& continue to learn) so much from Russian Felt makers. Fortunately they usually present lots of photos!

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks Antje. It is challenging to figure out exactly what the wool will do each time but fun for sure. Yes, the Russian felt makers have some very helpful sites.

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