Remembering how to make felt.

Remembering how to make felt.

I have not made any felt since last November, and the possibility that I may have forgotten how to make wet felt was upsetting. So, with this post looming, I began thinking about what to do, and to make something that would reassure me.

I decided to make a vessel, and to use the few remaining heart shapes I had, for decoration. I had made some flat felt to make heart shaped lavender sachets, to be placed into Christmas stockings last year. Valentine’s Day is well and truly over for this year, but it was a good idea to use them up.

The last vessel I made did not have a nice flat bottom, but that was due to the shape of the resist, so for this one I used a disc shape. I also wanted it to stand up, and not collapse in on itself, and to be useful to keep ‘things’ in. The colour was dictated by the fibre in my plastic storage box.

This is how it looked when I finished my layout.

I used an 18 inch disc shaped resist and laid my fibre out and arranged the hearts around the centre, and decorated with a little silk. I wanted the opening to be in the middle. I placed the final heart on the inside, hoping that it would be visible when looking in.

I used quite a few layers on each side. I used a palm washboard (recently purchased)  for rubbing, it is so nice to use, and no missing any areas either. I rolled in all 4 directions on both sides too for good measure, about 400 times, and then when I could see and feel the resist beginning to curl at the edges, I cut a hole in the centre.

After a bit more rubbing, kneading and rolling, there was a satisfactory shrinkage, and I could see the centre heart. More rubbing, and shaping followed and a bowl shaped vessel emerged.

I healed the edge, and then I had to get the shape right. Some steaming with the iron, more rolling. The hearts kept their shape pretty well, although, now I feel that they were not quite in the centre, but I am happy that I remembered how to do the whole process.

I wish I knew how to get a rolled in edge on a vessel though. Is that even possible?


This is how it looks when dry, and the towel removed from the inside.

It is standing up nicely, keeping it’s shape, the heart inside is nicely centred, and there is very little fuzz. It would have been good if the inside had more white, but it was all I had. Not quite round either, but I can live with it, and it will be useful. It is quite magical making felt, and I will practice more often.

I called in at my local library the next day, and found Ruth’s book! I have borrowed it.


15 thoughts on “Remembering how to make felt.

  1. That’s a lovely vessel: you certainly do remember how to make excellent felt. I really like the slightly organic shape. By rolled edge do you mean a smoother edge to the hole? If so, 2 suggestions. 1 if you keep working it with wet soapy fingers for a long time it will become a bit more even. 2 in your layout, you can run extra fibres (either in your bottom or top layers in a circle where the hole, or more importantly the edge of the hole, will be. As they shrink there will help pull the circle evenly together.

    1. Thank you Lindsay. Great tips too to get the edge smooth, I will keep working at it the next time.

  2. Love the colours – the hearts and the silk ‘pop’ on the dark background – and the shape is pretty!

    It’s hard work making a large vessel so you really did test yourself. Kudos to you 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Lyn, I was beginning to think that I should have made a smaller one, and my arms did ache a bit!

  3. Love your pot, and the hearts are a lovely colour. I’m sure that the originals made lovely lavender bags too. You obviously do remember how.
    Perhaps making felt is like riding a bicycle – you never forget? Mind you that’s what someone said to me about spinning, but I cannot really remember how. I have hardly spun at all since felt took over my life.

    1. Thank you Ruth, your book is so full of information, it is wonderful. It must have taken you a long time to compile..

  4. Looks good to me. I once did a rolled edge on a hat – maybe if done in reverse you could do that w/ a vessel? Or maybe not if the roll is on the inside. But on a roll on the outside? Leave a “neck” on top of the opening and start rolling it down towards the body of the vessel (a fulling stage) to form the roll?

    1. Thank you Janet, yes, I wanted to roll the edge to the inside, but I should have cut the hole a smaller size so that the hearts remained fully visible at the edge.

  5. A lovely pot. the hearts outside and in are perfect. The rolled edge, I am thinking like the edge on a rolled neck sweater. I have managed it a few times but only by accident. It either ends up as a fold or regular edge when I try. Maybe I need to chat with my knitting friends to find out what they do to get that nice rolled edge.

    1. Thank you Ann, yes, like a rolled neck on a sweater, but rolled inwards a little. All advice welcome!

  6. I’ve been making some pots/bowls recently on a “pot shaped” flat resist rather than the usual round one I would use like you used. I wonder if a neck section on a pot shaped resist would them enable it to be rolled down. I’ll try! Love your beautiful bowl.

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