Machine Needle Felting a Wool Collage

I have begun another class at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center in LaConner, WA. The class is Advanced Experimental Stitch 301 and lasts for two years. Our first session was all about color, dyeing and then creating different fabric collages in a variety of color schemes. If you want to follow all of my progress and homework, you can take a look at my Permutations in Fiber site.

I decided I wanted to try a few of the color schemes in felt. I could use up some printed felt that were samples from my online courses and also use my Janome needle felting machine that has been languishing in a corner of my studio for years. A win-win!

I started out with a dark violet background and then cut out two partial printed leaf shapes and three circles from orange printed felt. The color scheme is violet, orange and green. It is hard to see the violet and green since they are both such dark values.

First I had to unearth my needle felting machine buried under a ton of stuff. I should have taken a photo of the buried machine but didn’t think of that in time. I began by felting in the two leaves. Since everything was felt, the machine handled it very well. The only issue is the edges get a little wonky and you need to start from the outside edge and work in. The felt leaf shrinks as you go and will get all bunched up if you try to needle felt down the outside edges first.

Here is the end result. The photo on the left shows the front side. Because the felt is printed, it is white underneath and I didn’t like the white showing through so much. I turned it over (middle photo), and liked the back side much better. But still a little too much white. What to do? I have no problem with mixing medias so I found an orange and green Sharpie and just added a little ink to the wool to get the colors the way I wanted them (right photo).

On to adding a little hand stitching with hand dyed thread. I had originally planned to do chain stitch and cover the green and orange completely with chain stitch as a filling stitch. But then I decided I like the colors of the mottled orange and green. So I stuck with just outlining. For the leaves I used stem stitch. I could add some veining in the leaves but decided to leave it as is for now. It’s not a color scheme I use all that often but I like it. Do you try different color schemes? Or do you stick with your favorite colors?

 

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13 Responses to Machine Needle Felting a Wool Collage

  1. annielynrosie says:

    We hope you enjoy your new course – 2 years sounds a long time but it will fly by!

    Your sample makes good use of leftover felt and that’s a good tip about working from the inside to outside on the leaves.
    Your stitching brings out the colours of the felt beautifully.

    It’s hard to go outside the comfort zone with colour but we do try sometimes!

    • ruthlane says:

      Thanks! I am enjoying it already and the two years does go by quickly for sure. I have found that the more you try different color schemes, the more you like them. And it’s just fun playing to see what you can come up with.

  2. Kathryn says:

    thanks! I think one of these machines is in my future. I like the 12 needle ones.

    • ruthlane says:

      Kathryn, I thought I would use the machine much more than I do. I am making a concerted effort to try and use it more. I hope you find the machine that you like and will use 🙂

  3. Suzanne says:

    So happy to see things about machine felting. Where do you get your needles?

    • ruthlane says:

      Hi Suzanne, glad you enjoyed the post. I ordered my needles online quite a few years ago. I will have to look and see if I can find the site. I haven’t used the machine for so long that I haven’t had to replace any needles lately. If I find the site, I will get back to you here.

    • ruthlane says:

      I found where I ordered the replacement needles but it doesn’t look like the company is still around. They were called Just Felt Like It. I did see that some vendors on ETSY had machine felting needles. I hope that helps you.

    • You can cut your own. They are regular needls cut down to fit the machine.

  4. Antje says:

    I know you will enjoy your course, learn oodles & keep us all in the loop as always….lucky us!
    Great way to use leftovers.
    You recent experiments and asking the question about our colour schemes….you’ve nudged me to maybe try something new.

  5. ruthlane says:

    Thanks Antje! Yes, I am already enjoying my class, I always learn so much from pushing myself to try different color schemes and techniques. I look forward to seeing your “something new”. 😉

  6. Great use of the machine Ruth. I still have my small original one but I sold my Viking. I didn’t like it. I wouldn’t mind trying a different machine sometime. I do try to go outside my favourite colour scheme or everything would be purple.

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