I finally got around to trying a different shaped pod using prefelt to influence the shape. My first post creating a seed pod is here. I created this pod in the same way but started with a different shape and cut the prefelt differently. I decided to use a bit brighter color for the inside layer.
I used the same green batt that I had used on my last pod but used a tear drop shaped resist. I covered the resist and felted until it was holding together to make a prefelt.
I then cut a little cap off the top and a diagonal type cut all the way down to the end. The photo on the left shows the “front” side and the photo on the right is the “back” side.
I then took the green prefelt off the resist and covered it with orange wool and wet the orange wool down. Then I put the green prefelt back over top of the orange wool. I wrapped the orange wool around the resist from side to side. Next time, I think I would wrap it from end to end to get a more defined shrinkage but it worked this way too. The orange layer is fairly thin compared to the thicker green prefelt.
I then began felting the two together. I carefully rubbed along all the green edges and worked on getting the edges to stick down to the orange underneath. Once everything was holding together, I removed the resist. Then I fulled the piece and rubbed along the orange lines to get the resulting shape. I fulled it very hard so it would hold its shape easily.
And here’s the result. It does look very much like a seashell but also could be a chili pod or some other sort of veggie pod. These are really fun to make, have you tried this technique yet? Please show us your results over on the forum.
I have already shown two felt shapes I created with fiber layout and differential shrinkage. The last one is what I’m calling a “bonnet” shape.
I started again with the same circle template and Blue Face Leicester wool. The center is laid out radially but a smaller circumference was used. Then a circle of wool was added at the ends of the radial wool. Then another layer of radial wool was laid out. I used two layers of wool laid out in this manner. This one reminds me of making a ruffled scarf except it’s a circle.
Here is the wool after it is wet down. This one was felted in the same manner as the “bowl” that I showed you last week. I forgot to take the photos of the felting and fulling process. But I always worked along the length of the fibers to shrink the felt in the direction that the fiber was laid out.
Here is the “bonnet” after it’s finished. The photo on the right shows how I used a rubber band to hold the edge in place while it was drying.
And here are all three pieces. These are made with the same type and amount of wool, felted and fulled in the same way but because of the directional fiber layout and differential shrinkage, different shapes were achieved. I can see how these techniques would be very effective when you are creating felt where you want shrinkage to occur differently and you don’t want even shrinkage.
I’m not sure why I never really thought about this before but it makes perfect sense. I hope it helps some of you when you are trying to create a specific shape with felt.
Last week I showed you how I made a cone shape from a flat circle of felt. I also made a shape that is similar to a bowl without using a resist. The shape is created from the fiber layout and directional shrinkage.
I started with a circle template so that my layout would be the same size as the cone shape I made last week. The center of the fiber layout was done radially. So the fiber was pointing from the center outward. Then on the outside of the radially laid fiber, I laid a ring of fiber. I again did two layers of fiber both done in the same way. The fiber is Blue Face Leicester.
I wet down the wool with cold, soapy water and then began rubbing. I rubbed in the direction of the wool fiber. So the center was like rubbing along the hours of the clock. The photo in the middle shows rubbing at one o’clock. I worked my way around the circle rubbing in this manner. Then I rubbed around the outside edge rubbing along the circumference of the circle. This one did not form the shape as easily as the cone did.
I found a glass vase that was the right size sphere to work on. I was careful with my rubbing since the vase was glass. You can see in the photo on the left that the edges are pleated to conform around the vase. I had to rub and rub and rub to get those pleats to flatten out and to shrink the outside edge. In the right photo, the direction of my left hand is the direction in which I rubbed. I also put the felt wrapped vase on the side and rubbed against the ridged rubber mat. Once the felt was shrinking, I added hot water and continued in the same manner. Next time, I would make the outside ring of fiber a bit wider. I think that would have helped in getting the correct shape.
And here’s the finished bowl. I dried it on the glass vase to keep the shape. It is fulled very hard and holds its shape easily.
Several years ago, I saw a chart on a felt makers blog about using directional fiber layout to create a shape from flat felt. I can’t remember where I saw the information so thanks to the person who got me started investigating this idea.
When you first learn to felt, you are instructed to layout out your fiber in opposite directions to get even shrinkage. Shrinkage of wool occurs most in the direction of the fiber length. I think that we have a tendency to keep laying out this way because we want things to be even. But what if you took the principles of wool shrinkage and used that to your advantage when creating a more three-dimensional piece? I have used fiber layout to create dimension from flat felt.
I used Blue Face Leicester and used a round template to lay the wool out over. I laid out the fiber in a spiral direction.
I started with a small spiral and kept laying out the wool in a clockwise direction. I did two layers of wool and even though I don’t think it made any difference, I laid the second spiral counterclockwise.
I wet out the wool with soapy, cold water and then rubbed gently in the direction of the fiber. I kept rubbing on both sides of the circle moving always in a circular direction. You can see in the right photo that the felt is starting to rise up in the center of the circle.
You can see the cone really starting to form now. I hadn’t starting fulling at this point, I had just been rubbing with my hands. I do use a ridged rubber mat at all times under my felt projects. I never roll felt anymore. I just rub and felt by hand. I have not used any hot water at this point either.
I then started fulling by adding hot water to the felt and then rolling it against itself as you see in the left photo. I also used a wooden top of a meat tenderizer tool. I just used it to rub the felt over itself on the ridged rubber mat. All of the felting and fulling was always in the direction that the fiber was laid out to emphasize shrinkage in that direction. The photo on the right shows the finished cone shape.
This is the same cone that I have shaped differently. The photo on the left shows the cone with vertical folds which gives it a flower shape. The photo on the right shows the cone with concentric ring shapes folded in a concertina manner. This reminded me of a small hat but I didn’t use a resist to create the three-dimensional shape. All I used was the direction of wool layout and shaping through specific shrinkage along the length of the wool fiber.
Next time, I will show a different fiber layout that creates more of a rounded bowl shape.