Approx 2 to 3g (.07 to .105oz) merino or Icelandic wool (batts or roving) in complimentary or contrasting colours, a spot of clashing colour often works well!
A little silk fibre, tencel, firestar or linen to add embellishment if desired.
Two pieces of bubble wrap no smaller than 12” square or one larger rectangle.
Warm water and soap. An unscented soap with a high fat content is the best for your hands, most soap does work but I prefer olive oil soap or goat’s milk soap.
A small towel and a bottle for the soapy water, an old plastic mineral or milk container with small holes pierced in the lid makes a good cheap sprinkler!
Place your towel on the table with one piece of the bubble wrap on top, bubbles up.
Lay out an even but light circle of wool approx 4” to 5” in diameter and lay a second layer on top of the first. Overlapping the complimentary or contrasting colours works well as does laying out a darker splodge of colour in the centre of your flower.
Place your hand on top of the pile of wool and ‘vibrate’ it slightly to help the fibres stick together, check that there are not any extremely thin areas.
Patch if necessary and add then a little of your embellishing fibre around the outer edge if using. Note, silk, tencel, firestar or linen fibres don’t actually felt themselves, the wool ‘catches’ them so please use sparingly.
Sprinkle some warm soapy water evenly on top of the wool, enough to compress the fibre but not enough to cause water to run off the bubble wrap. You don’t need loads of suds so don’t go wild with the soap!
Place the second piece of bubble wrap on top of your flower bubble side down, if using a rectangle of plastic lay out the wool on one end and fold the other over.
Gently press down to work the water through the wool and remove any air pockets, lift the bubble wrap up carefully and see if the flower is totally wet through, add a little more water if necessary. Replace the top layer of bubble wrap.
With wet soapy hands carefully rub the flower in a circular motion on top of the plastic for about a minute, turn over and repeat on the other side.
Remove the top layer of bubble wrap and gently rub directly on the wool with soapy hands. Once a ‘skin’ has formed on the flower pick it up and start to shape it into a three dimensional shape with your hands. I like to place the tip of my index finger in the centre of the flower and work the felt around the outside of my finger.
The flower will shrink by about one third to one half the original layout size, when you are happy with the result rinse in warm water, reshape and dry. Enjoy!
Now for two thumbnails, WordPress is playing silly games today so apologies I can’t seem to upload any more!
You may remember that I promised to post (especially for Fiona!) a felt brooch tutotial, these were was what all of us in Feltmakers Ireland were teaching during the ‘Learning Curve’ sessions at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin last week. Thanks Holly for giving me permission to share your instructions, here they are in my own words as an abbriviated list, I am assuming that everyone knows how to lay out the fibre but if not please refer to my basic flat felt instructions over on the tutorial page. For these brooches we worked between bubble wrap and used beautiful short fibre merino batts, of course you could use tops/roving but the batts are just so quick and easy it’s not funny! Anyway, don’t be afraid to experiment with the dimensions and fibres/fabric that you use, here is the process …..
Lay out a 10cm (4″) square of one colour, wet out with soapy water and fold in the edges to make more even, put aside.
Lay out an 8cm (3″) square of a complimentary or contrasting colour, wet out and fold in the edges as above.
Place the smaller square on top of the larger and position a round or oval resist on top somewhere making sure to leave some space around the outside to allow you to trap it completely with wool. For my resists I like laminate floor underlay best but any kind of flexible plastic eg. bubble wrap is fine.
Cover the resist totally with a couple of layers of wool, add in blobs of other colours randomly remembering that a clashing colour often provides an interesting point of contrast.
Place a piece of fabric on top, we used muslin or scrim, and lightly wet.
Roll a few little pieces of merino in your fingers and position them as surface decoration, circles or crosses look good I think.
Rub your brooch between the two layers of bubble wrap for 5 minutes on side one, 5 on side two and 5 on side one again. For the purpose of the workshop I just asked everyone to count out 300 rubs X 3, easy peasy! Just check once or twice to make sure that it is both soapy and wet.
After 300 rubs remove the brooch from the plastic and rub it in your hands. If you are using the short fibred merino you can get quite aggressive at this stage, it only will take a few minutes to full and finish it.
Once it has shrunk by about 1/3 cut a small cross into the top of where you positioned your resist, push and seal the cut edges outwards with your fingers.
Remove the resist, rinse and stretch the brooch into shape.
Stitch on a brooch back and wear with pride!
On a larger scale and with a different design these pieces make wonderful framed landscapes, pressies anyone???
Only a few words today because I used most of them up with sixth class this morning!!!
Having fun adding the surface decoration
I was blown away by how creative everyone was. Each pupil was asked to choose two colours to use as a base, then they could select from all sorts of yarn, fibre and fabric to add to the surface layer. A lot of the girls had brought in beads, buttons, pipe cleaners and all sorts of glitzy embellishments with them and these will be stitched on next Monday before the felt gets stuck to the front of their journals. A tip for anyone wanting an easy way to decorate a copy, why not stick velcro to the book and then just press the felt to the barbed side of the velcro??? No sewing, I like that!
Anyone see a favourite colour combination here???
Some of the pieces were fully felted by the end of the session but others will need a little more fulling at home before they are ready to embellish with stitches, beads and buttons. It is always interesting to see how different people felt at different speeds, one of the last girls to lay out her wool was in turn one of the only girls who ended up with a fully felted piece at the end of the session!
Metallic mesh fabric, thick and thin merino, little buttons to be stitched on afterwards
There is no right or wrong way to felt either as many ways to end up with a good finished result but I always like to share with pupils what I was shown when I started because I feel it gives a good foundation to build upon. You can check out my flat felt tutorial if you want to see what we did today.