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Experimenting with Felt Rope and Structure

Experimenting with Felt Rope and Structure

I thought I would move on in my experimentation with creating structure in felt and differential shrinkage, this time using a felt rope. I’m not sure why I thought this was a good idea but I suddenly remembered why I don’t make many felt ropes.

I used a batt of yellow short fiber merino and tore it into a strip. I then worked a bit on trying to dry roll it to get some of the air out. But that wasn’t working too well so I added soap and water. The rope turned out OK but is far from perfect. I always forget how much patience these take to do them correctly. Now that the rope was done, how to add the felt to this spiral structure?

I came up with the idea of covering a PVC pipe with lime green mixed 56’s wool. I probably should have used merino but this is what I had grabbed for this project. I covered the pipe with wool and then wet it down.

I wrapped the rope around the wool covered PVC pipe and then began adding wisps of wool over the rope. I wet it down as I went to hold everything in place. I then spent a fair amount of time rubbing and working around the rope so that the wisps would stay in place and hold the rope down to the felt. Apparently, not enough.

Here it is after felting. What a mess. The ends of the rope were coming loose and it looked like my dog Edgar had been chewing on it. (Not really because he would have torn it to shreds in a matter of seconds.)

I took a break and then decided I need to full it much harder. I found a thinner stick to put in the middle and worked the piece with soapy hands as well as rolling it on the ridged mat and banging it hard against the table.

Here is the end result. Not appealing or impressive. But I might try again with a much thicker inner and outer layer of wool.  I also will probably try wrapping the rope around a flat resist instead of a 3D object. I can always full around the pipe or dowel rod after the felt is holding the rope together better. Not totally a disaster but close! I do think it’s good to go ahead and post about something that doesn’t work out as planned. Perhaps someone else will learn something from my trial and error experimentation. And perhaps you can empathize with me that not all projects are beautiful or perfect. What have you experimented with lately?

Experimenting With Felting

Experimenting With Felting

Today we have a Guest Post by Lyn from rosiepink.

Experimenting with felting is the best way to learn, and you learn just as much from things going wrong as you do from things going right.
After making ‘The Fingerpost‘ picture, shown below, I was full of enthusiasm for the ‘chopped up bits of felt look’ and I wondered if I could make a small decorative  pod with it.

2_DSCF1053 Fingerpost Land's End Textured Felt ArtSo I spent ages getting sore fingers chopping up pieces of scrap fulled felt …

DSCF1080 - Copy… then I arranged some of it onto one side of my circular resist.  I had to use tweezers as the felt bits either stuck to my fingers or flew off to the other side of the table when I tried to place them – it was a painstakingly slow job and my eyes went a bit wobbly with the concentration.

DSCF1089 - CopyI then applied two layers of white merino wool before flipping it over to start painstakingly applying little bits to the other side.
This is when the alarm bells started to ring…

DSCF1094 - Copy…I realised at this point that I was going to have a white band running around the middle of my pod … unless I could perhaps pull the white fringe of merino wool from the other side v-e-r-y- snugly around to squish the layers together?
So I carried on to eventually complete the second side.

DSCF1096 - CopyAww – I thought it looked pretty – a bit like a plate of ‘dolly mixtures‘.

I had real nagging doubts about the success of the project but I knew that I would learn something from it so I carried on. As I started to wrap the white merino ‘fringe’ over one part of the edge, some bits fell off from another part.  It was a struggle and it ended up looking like a bag of potatoes.

After I’d applied all the layers of wool, I had an embryo pod that was the thickness of a car tyre. There was no way I could roll it in a bamboo mat, so I listened to the radio while I rubbed… and rubbed… and rubbed until I thought it would be ok to remove the resist.

I cut a hole to remove the resist then turned the pod inside out to full it.  As I did so, several colourful bits of felt flew off the pod – it looked like a boxer spitting out teeth – and lots more pieces were loose.  It was unworkable.

I could see what I’d done wrong.

I should have fulled the pod a bit after removing the resist before attempting to turn it inside out.  It might have been better too, considering the amount of shrinkage of a pod, if I hadn’t put the coloured bits on the resist so densely.

It’s frustrating when things go wrong but valuable lessons can be learned from the experience.  I don’t give up on a piece easily, and I usually keep the felt to re-use, but this pod was definitely a lost cause and as there was nothing I considered salvageable for re-use, I consigned it to the felting box in the sky.

at the bottom of the bin