I’d planned to finish off a couple of projects yesterday – a bird pod, probably from last year, and a vessel I started at the well being centre on Monday – but thought that since I was getting all my felting stuff out, I’d do a ‘quick’ sampler piece with lots of different wools to take to the centre because a few members want to order some wools for felting at home. Well, it took a little bit longer than I’d planned, and I only used 15 different wools! This is it with the rows laid out:
I mentioned recently that I’m doing a Craft Fair soon. It’s this coming Sunday at Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road in Manchester. They also do guided tours that day, so if you’re interested, have a look at their website.
In my post last time, I showed a faintly plaid felt piece which I’d started to make into a diary cover. Here is the finished cover:
I also mentioned a piece of silk I got for £3 a metre. I did manage to use it on a felt piece, but I haven’t made it into a cover yet. It looked a bit nicer and brighter just before the final fulling, but I wanted to make sure it would stand up to years of handling:
I don’t know if you remember a couple of pictures I posted as part of the Jackson Pollock challenge from a bag I was working on, well, I never did get around to finishing the bag, and when I saw it recently, I thought I could cut it up and turn it into a nice sturdy diary cover. So, I did 🙂 This is the front:
I always forget just how long it takes to do these covers! Also, because I didn’t have any coloured threads which I thought would be just right, I ‘blended’ my own. I took a strand each of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet embroidery floss and made a 6 strand rainbow. I had to do that for each part I stitched, and I was starting to regret it by the end 🙂
One of the things I wondered after the last fair was whether it was obvious that my stuff was actually handmade felt made from real wool. A lot of my stuff is well felted or nuno felt, so to anyone who doesn’t know felt, it could just be commercial fabric I’ve bought. So I thought I would make some obviously wool natural pieces for book covers. They are made from lots of different breeds of wool and embellished with locks, some mohair boucle from Marilyn, some silk noil, and viscose and bamboo. This one has the most added embellishments:
I did actually use the same size template for these pieces, but with all the different wools and embellishments there was different shrinkage. For this piece, I tried to stick to wools which were more similar: Merino, Bluefaced Leicester, Finn and Corriedale, and there are less embellishments:
I bought a new fibre to try out a couple of weeks ago, Kapok fibre. Like cotton, it grows around the seed of the plant, but is much lighter and softer. As much as I like fibre tops, I do like the shorter staple fibres, especially with coarser wools for the way they interact with the wool and produce more ‘natural’ looking effects. They often seem to mimic things you find in nature such as cobwebs, fungus or mould, which look solid but are really soft or fluffy when you look closer. This first panel is natural white 23 Micron Merino. I took a ‘piece’ of the kapok fibres and teased it apart, sames as you would silk noil, and laid it across the wool. It’s hard to see the Kapok at all.
I know a lot of people don’t like curly or coarser wools for felting, especially if they mainly make felt paintings or want a brightly coloured, smooth, firm felt. But I’m the type of person who loves textures and shades and tones as much as colour, and love rocks and tree barks just as much as flowers or minerals. So, if you’re like me, you might like thse next couple of pieces which I made using Shetland and Finnish wools. For this first one, I used grey Shetland tops and added fluffed up, teased apart Kapok fibre:
I made the Finnish piece double sided. I first put some teased apart Kapok fibre on my template, then added the brown Finnish tops. I added a layer of black Finnish tops, then blended some Kapok fibre with black Finnish noil and added that. I added some Kapok fibre on its own in a few spaces and blended a small amount of Kapok With black Finnish top and added that too. This is the brown side:
Do you have a favourite coarse of curly wool? What do you use it for? Do you have a favourite embellishment fibre? You’re welcome to link us to any pics or come and post about it on the forum.
I was thinking recently that I might have to change my plans a little bit, and make some different sized templates for my felt panels. Quite a few of the wools I’ve got have a very long staple length, much bigger than my current template. And the varying shrinkage rates makes a lot of the panels similar but not quite the same; so I think a variety of squares and rectangles might work out better to piece together in the end. I haven’t really thought too much about how I would actually ‘construct’ the hanging, one idea was the sew the edges of the panels together, kind of like seams on clothes, but visible so they formed little ridges, but I don’t want to lose the cool wavy edges some of the wool breeds like Lincoln create.
This is Brown Finnish wool with a covering of flax:
Do you like to try different breeds of wool for felting? Do you have a favourite or ones you think are better suited to particular projects? How about embellishment fibres, do you have any favourites?