9 Vases & a Plant Pot

9 Vases & a Plant Pot

Some of the first felt objects I made were vases: made around a flat u-shaped resist that I designed to try to get a good even layer of felt on the base (wobbly bases not being good for vases). Every so often I get the urge to make a few vases, so I thought I’d show you some I’ve made recently.

My felt pictures are often inspired by my coastal environment. So, I thought I’d make some coast-inspired vases.

I prefelted some recycled silk scarf pieces to make pebbles then added pebble shapes to the lower section. The sea area had a pewter-coloured merino base with blue and green wisps of wool plus some silky fibre for the sea foam. The wave was a combination of some sort of knitted yarn I’d also found in a charity shop, with added mohair and the same silky fibre (I’m not completely sure what it was, it was just hanging around and looked suitable!)

I made 3 in total – here are the other 2.

Sometimes it’s the materials themselves that suggest pieces rather than the local scenery.  I put some beautiful bright coral-coloured dyed locks against contrasting duck egg blue and teal merino and thought that might be interesting

‘Locks’ vase

Continuing my vase-making spree: I’d dyed some merino for a workshop last year and I thought it might be a good idea to use up some of the hand-dyed wool on vases.

Now enter stage left the plant pot.  A friend who’d previously bought a plant pot holder from me asked about making one specifically to suit a plant she had.  I wrote a blog a while ago about my love / hate relationship with commissions but that was about pictures – I felt much happier about a plant pot as it’s not such a big commitment.

I was keen to include her in the design so I did a couple of very quick potential design sketches and consulted her on the fibre colour choices. As the plant was only in a plastic pot with holes in the bottom, I scoured my local charity shops and found a beer bucket to make the plant pot water-tight.

We decided to go for coral / pink / burgundy colours to highlight the under-sides of the leaves and an overall texture rather than a leaf-shape pattern.

I decided to do the top of the inner 2 layers green so it would show when you look down at the pot. With hindsight I should have done the whole of the inner layers green but I wasn’t sure I had enough of the green so did the lower section white. I carded together various colours of merino and silk fibre rather than use the fibre labelled ‘carded’ on the fibre picture – but keep and eye on that as it comes back later on….. Then laid locks on top.

And here’s the plant in its personal designer pot. My friend was very pleased with it.

Then it was back to the vases but with a twist.  I recently found in a charity shop an old chemistry lab heavy glass 3 neck flask and, as ever, I thought….I wonder how that would work with felt.  There’s a little corner of my brain that is devoted entirely to felting possibilities and it kicks into play whenever I’m mooching about charity shops, which is often!

On the same day I found some interesting yarn in another charity shop so I splashed out a further 20p and thought I’d bring these 2 finds together.

I was clearly wearing my sensible head that day as I made a sample with the yarn to make sure it would felt and see how it came out.  Even more sensibly, I used it on both sides of my sample (I wish I always remembered to do that) so I could decide which effect I liked best

I stared to ponder the engineering challenge of the 3 neck vase and decided I’d have to have a hole underneath.  Usually my vase covers are solid on the under side and the glass slips into the top. With this I wanted the felt to fit tightly round the necks so I’d have the glass entry point on the base.  I carefully measured and calculated at least 40% shrinkage then made my resist.  This time an upside-down U-shape

I laid 4 layers of natural white merino over both sides of the resist then ran a single strip of the yarn around.  I then added single black nepps below the yarn line, more densely near the yarn and just a few further down the shape. This seemed like a good idea but it took absolutely ages to separate out individual nepps, pick out only round ones and of a similar size, and then place them where I wanted them to sit.  One of those decisions you regret before you’re half-way through but can’t bear not to finish as you’ve already invested so much time in it!

Anyway, here’s the finished vase.  Actually, I’m pleased with the pattern, although I’d intended the yarn to sit a bit further up the flask. I’d not properly taken into account how much of the felt would be underneath.

I thought I’d find some more old 3 necked lab flasks. Having consulted both EBay and Google it rapidly became clear that they are not to be had.  I have not found a single similar 3 neck flask (there are new ones which are much thinner and tend to have domed bases, no good for vases).  The nearest I could find was a similar heavy glass 2 necked flask which is on EBay for £40.  £40!  I now feel I can’t sell my vase as I don’t want someone to buy it for the flask and rip off the felt! So, that one is staying with me, at least for the time being.

And finally we come back to the pre-mixed fibre I mentioned (labelled ‘carded’).  If you’re ever lucky enough to visit World of Wool in Yorkshire, you’ll see they have two huge skip-type bins full of ends of lines and wooly remnants (one with coloured fibres and one just cream /white). There’s a low fixed-price per weight for the content of each bin and you can ferret out all sorts of hidden gems. I can spend a long time almost falling into those bins. This mystery fibre-mix was one such find.

I thought I’d make a vase using that plus a piece of a pink silk scarf I’d just found in a charity shop.  That day, alas, I was not wearing my sensible head and didn’t think to make a sample: partly because I didn’t have a lot of the fibre and partly, well, because I just didn’t think about it.

I laid out 2 layers of a matching pre-dyed merino, 2 layers of the mystery fibre and a strip of silk and set about felting.  Fairly soon my error became clear.  The mystery fibre was not felting at all.  I persisted.  It still didn’t felt.  I persisted.  And persisted.  In the end it did felt, presumably with help from the 2 inner layers of merino.  It shrank more than I’d expected and the fibre hadn’t been all that keen on pushing through the silk, which means the silk ruching is rather loose in places. But it’s fixed completely round the edges and anyway, I like a bit of loose ruching.

So, here are my recent adventures in vase-making, with a little diversion via a plant pot.  I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Do you have a favourite?

27 thoughts on “9 Vases & a Plant Pot

  1. What a find! Never seen a 3 neck lab flask before but doesn’t it make a fabulous vase!

    It was worth all your perseverance with the ‘raspberry ripple’ vase – it’s gorgeous.

    The commissioned pot is perfect for the plant and as you say, a lot less stressful than a commission for a piece of felted art. The beer bucket was a good find and your choice of green for the top of the inside works well against the vibrant outer colour – the colours being a lovely complement to the plant.

    We like all the vases you’ve made and it’s hard to choose a favourite, but if pushed it would be a close tie between the first coastal inspired vase and the red/orange vase. The coastal vase doesn’t need to have flowers in it – it looks fabulous on its own.

    1. Thank you very much for your lovely comments. It’s interesting how the right flowers can make all the difference: I’d have said the red / orange one was probably my least favourite until I found those roses, which go so well.

  2. Now how on earth am I to choose a favourite? For each one in turn going through the post I said “Ooh look at that, that’s amazing/beautiful/gorgeous”.
    I was going to plump for the first seascape vase, then I saw the red orange one which matches the roses so beautifully – and so on. I think though that if I had to choose it would be the Locks vase.
    What do you use for the inserts, are they bought vases or bottles of some sort? Buying them must be an expensive pass time.

    1. Many thanks Ann. I’m glad you like them. Most of the ‘vases’ I bought in bulk from IKEA a few years ago. I think they were actually beer glasses so were in packs of 4 or 6 and were very cheap.

      I like to use a standard size as I can swap round the felt sleeves and keep lots of felt outers and only a couple of glass inners at home. I never buy new full-priced vases. You can pick them up very cheaply in charity shops. Obviously those aren’t a standard size so each one has to have its own resist made but it doesn’t take that long. I did think about getting a bottle cutter & making my own vases from wine bottles but I find the prospect of cutting and smoothing glass a bit off-putting. I think I’d shred my hands and not be able to make felt!

    2. Thanks for the Ikea tip Lindsay, we’ve got to go there soon so I’ll see what I can find.
      I tried bottle cutting when the idea first came out years ago but it wasn’t a fad that lasted with me. I found the results much to “clunky” and went back to sewing.

  3. So many beautiful pieces to choose from Lindsay! It’s hard to decide which one is my favourite as I love them all. Your flask reminds me of a Dutch tulip vase – all your hard work with the nepps proved worth it. And what a great catch (and good investment) in that 20p mystery yarn.

    I imagine your friend was very excited with her new plant pot. I suspect she really appreciated being involved in the design process – she will treasure it even more having worked on it with the designer.

    Feeling envious of your proximity to World of Wool. 🙂

    The coastal vases are so beautiful – I am certain they will be snapped up by happy customers.

    1. Thanks very much for your comments. I thought I’d replied earlier but it’s not coming up so maybe I touched the wrong button. I only get to go to World of Wool when I visit my family as it’s quite a lot of hours from where I live now. Indeed, I haven’t been there since pre-COVID. I’m just imagining how full those remnant skips must be by now!

  4. Without a doubt, the Locks vase. Love the contrast! How did I miss WOW in Yorkshire when I visited several years ago? 😢

    1. Thanks for choosing! I like the locks one too. Unfortunately I’m out of those lovely dyed locks so will have to look out for some more. WoW is definitely worth a visit if you go back to Yorkshire. I get most of my wool from them online but nothing beats the skip diving.

  5. Wow! They are all so beautiful. Hard to choose but the locks vase was stunning. Thank you for all the inspiration!

  6. Too much choice to choose a favourite! Lindsay each one is unique with its own character.
    The coastal vases will be great to accompany your pictures.
    Then you present your chromatic pieces each showing a fabulous transition through adjacent colours (hope you are impressed!). The orange/red one is lovely with its slightly more defined pattern. And adding the flowers….put those in your hut exhibition & they will fly out of the door.
    The colour combo of the teal/orange is great but the use of those licks elevate it to the ‘stunning’
    I hope your friend was delighted with her matching plant accessory.
    As mentioned above….I too thought immediately of the Dutch tulip vases with your 3neck bottle. Having inserted the bottle from the bottom up, have you stitch a base on or left it open? Just love the design & your efforts paid off with the nepps.

    All in all – Inspiring….perfect timing.

    1. Wow. Thank you, Antje. Of course I’m impressed! The adjacent colours were mostly achieved by dripping one colour into the next in the hand-dyed skein of wool. For the vases I separated out the wool sections and used the colours that were next to each other.

      With the 3 neck vase I worked the felt jacket under the base and kept shrinking it. So there’s a solid section of wool under the circumference of the base, which means it’s stable, but a hole in the centre. I imagine it’s possible to remove the flask by pulling the base apart but I’m not planning on testing it. I’m not sure how clearly I’m explaining it. Maybe I should just send a photo. It’s serviceable but not pretty!

  7. I think my favorite is the three neck vase. Your work with the nepps certainly was worth the effort. I really don’t like using nepps myself so bravo! All of the vases and plant pot are wonderful though. Great job 👍

    1. Thank you, Ruth. I think that’s my favourite too, though the one I’ve used most is the purple one. I agree nepps can be tricky – I find if you treat them gently and put a few strands of wool on top most of them will stick.

  8. I would have great difficulty in choosing a favourite. They are all so lovely. I do love the speckled appearance that the yarn has given to the white 3 necked vase, it gives it a very sophisticated look. I love the colour of the Tulip vase too, and the pebble effect on the seascape looks wonderful. Beautiful.

  9. These are wonderful! I have only done vases for dried flowers before because I was worried about mold if the wool hot and stayed damp. How are you avoiding mold?

    1. Hi Lori. There’s a glass vase inside the felt that’s almost the same size so there’s no problem with mould. To clean it you slip the glass out to wash it. You can also wash the felt as it’s wet felted so made with lots of water then reshape over the glass. The wool doesn’t really get damp apart from that. Also, if the felt is really well fulled it tends to shrug off small amounts of water, eg when topping up the flowers. Hope that explains it.

  10. all are wonderful as I knew they would be as I scrolled down. I like the seashore ones best.
    Finding matching roses for the red orange vase really makes a difference.
    The 3 neck bottle was a great find and I love the yarn and how you used it. I would look great as a lantern of vase cover. Our dollar store does plane vases like that but cutting a plastic 2 litre bottle would work too.

  11. Lovely work Lindsay! I like them all but if pushed I would have to say my favourites are your coastal vases and the triple bud vase. The placing of the black yarn and nepps on the white base has resulted in a very classy design.

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