Second Quarter Challenge Part 2

Second Quarter Challenge Part 2

In Part 1, I showed you my design process for this challenge. It’s based on Art Deco ideas and color schemes but I created my own design.

The first thing I needed was to buy some black wool yarn. I was going to order unspun yarn, which I think would work best for this technique but I didn’t manage to get it ordered. Instead, I went to Michaels (hobby/art store) and purchased this cheap, wool yarn. At least that made it so I could move forward.

Next I placed my enlarged design under a piece of plastic so I could follow the lines with the black yarn first. You need to work upside down with this technique. So the black goes on first. I wet down the yarn per Ildi’s instructions on her recent felt wall hanging post. If I had been paying more attention, I would have looked back at Ildi’s design and seen that it was much more spread out than mine. But on I went.

Here’s the layout after I had laid down all the wet black wool yarn. I found it was easiest to cut all the lengths that were similar and wet them down at once. The yarn had a tendency to just lie on top of the water and not get wet. So I took 6 cut lengths at a time and dunked, patted and pushed the water into the yarn. Then I laid the yarn length along the pattern, sometimes squeezing the ‘corners’ to get a sharper turn in the yarn. I cut off the extra lengths as I worked.

Then I started laying out the colored wool. This was wet down in advance too. It was a bit awkward filling in the areas to start but I soon got the hang of it. I pinched off a bit of fiber, got it wet and then ‘smooshed” (that’s a technical term) it in place. My estimates of the amount of wool needed also got better with practice. I filled in the background color too to make the first layer of wool level. I did look at Art Deco color palettes and chose one that was similar using what I had on hand.

Then I added more of the background wool on top. I wanted it fairly thick so that it wouldn’t shrink too much and squeeze the design down even more.

I covered the wool with a sheer curtain and pressed the air out and added a bit more water to get everything flattened out. From the blue green side, I folded over any stray fiber and made a kind of circle with the background. I figured I would cut it later if I wanted everything to be even.

Then I spent most of my time rubbing and putting pressure on the blue green side. I didn’t do much rubbing on the front design as I didn’t want it to shift. I always use a piece of corrugated rubber underneath the felt while I rub and have the felt covered either with plastic or sheer fabric. Once the design was set and everything was staying in place, I fulled the piece with a rolling pin and with hand pressure. I didn’t do any throwing, rolling or heavy rubbing.

Here it is after felting and fulling. I was surprised at how straight my lines stayed. I did do a little stretching along the length of the lines if they started to get wonky. But all in all, I thought the method worked great. It does take a long time to layout but the design stayed put. The cheap wool yarn worked fine so I didn’t need the more expensive unspun yarn. But I think unspun yarn would felt in more easily and perhaps have less “hairiness” when felted.

And here it is after I cut the edges. It would make a nice hot mat or a design on a bigger felt piece such as a large tote bag. The piece is about 10″ in diameter (if it was a circle). I’m not sure what I am going to do with it. Thanks Ildi for the idea and thanks to Lyn and Annie for another good challenge. Art Deco is an interesting time period to use as an inspiration!

27 thoughts on “Second Quarter Challenge Part 2

  1. Oh,it’s beautiful,you worked a lot,I’m happy to hear that you tryed this technique, congratulations!

  2. Congratulations, it’s beautiful, I’m happy that you tried this technique, great job🙂!

  3. I love this result Ruth, your route from inspiration to finished article is interesting and teaches me a lot on research and developing a design from an idea.
    It looks like Lldi’s technique is going to run and run! After seeing Lyn’s key dish a few weeks ago, I decided that I’d like to try that as I have (for years!) been intending to make some sort of receptacle for my husband’s keys and change that he empties out of his pockets at night. So I’m having a go too. I doubt I’ll get it done before the next Challenge is put up, but better late than never. Watch this space!

    1. Thanks Ann! It is an interesting technique and the results are better than expected. I look forward to seeing your key dish.

  4. That worked really well Ruth, and the art deco inspiration is very obvious. The lines of the pattern stayed very clear – what do you estimate the shrinkage to have been?

    1. Thanks Kim, I am happy with the results. It actually had very minimal shrinkage, I didn’t measure it but the finished design is slightly smaller than the original.

  5. Love your hexagon. I particularly enjoyed the thought process and the finished result is just like a stained glass window. I found hexagonal framed canvasses and bought one to make a ‘honeycomb’ picture with bees. If you find one it would be a perfect mount for your work

    1. Thanks Nancy, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I have not seen any hexagonal canvas but I will have to look for one.

  6. Great result! It surprises me that the wool outline stays in place so well with this technique. I’m going to have to give it a try.

    1. Thanks Karen! It surprised me how well the outline ended up. I’d love to see what you come up with using this technique.

  7. Pretty! Love the green background. The design stayed in place well and it’s perfect for the challenge. It can’t have been easy smooshing the wool into those small spaces!
    It would make a very pretty ‘anything’ – as you’ve already suggested a mat or part of a larger design – so many options.

    1. Thanks Lyn, the layout was definitely fiddly but really wasn’t too difficult. Not sure what the end purpose will be but it will find a use eventually.

  8. It really turned out beautiful! I tried this technique but had trouble filling in the areas. What kind of wool did you use? Did you cut the fibers? My problem was how to smoosh the long fibers into a small area.

    1. Thanks Jill, I used short fiber Merino. I tore off the excess and folded in the excess before laying it down. But it would work to cut longer fiber.

  9. It turned out great Ruth. If it was a bit bigger You could use it as a seat cushion at cold football games. You will have to make one in team colours.

  10. That worked so well, Ruth. Lovely original design and I too am surprised the pattern stayed put. Great job.

  11. Beautiful! Are the darker black lines made from multiple strands of yarn or something else? Thank you for sharing your hard work and process.

  12. I missed this post!
    Great work Ruth from inception of the design to completion. Amazing that your intricate design stayed just that – a lovely intricate piece – and very evocative of the Art Deco period.

    Ilde’s technique certainly has legs & it is something I also will have to try.

    1. Thanks Antje, Ildi’s technique is definitely a keeper. And yes, the intricate design achieved was almost miraculous! 😉

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