First time felting with fifth year students

On Wednesday morning I had a very enjoyable session working with 20 fifth year Enniscorthy VEC students helping them complete their first flat felting project.  My good friend Shaz is their regular art teacher and had invited me several weeks ago to speak about feltmaking and give a short demonstration explaining the process further.  Because there is no funding for this type of activity at fifth year level parents contributed a small fee per student to cover my time and costs while I provided all the materials necessary for everyone to create a beautiful piece of flat felt to take home for themselves at the end of the morning. 

Students with their beautiful felt pictures - please excuse the quality of my images today

This workshop was optional for the students and as a result everyone who attended wanted to be there although as always some people found the actual felting and fulling harder than initially anticipated!  

I started the morning by asking everyone to choose just two main colours, less choice is MUCH simpler I find at the beginning and weighed out 60g Icelandic wool per person.  They laid out the wool in several overlapping layers and when all the wool was used then came the fun part deciding what colours and fibres to use for the decorative top layer.  Many of the students were quite adventurous with their selection enjoying a range of fibres including a coarse bamboo, silky corn, fluffy angora (from a friends bunny!), shiny acrylic yarn, painted sliver, merino and more Icelandic wool, there was also some silk chiffon and cotton muslin which a couple of the students choose.  I was very impressed with how everyone concentrated on their own work and nobody seemed to copy their friends which sometimes happens when you get a large group working together.  Quite a few of the students had started with the same two colour combinations but everyone was amazed at the end of the morning to see how totally unique each of the felt pictures ended up when finished!  One of the students incorporated a lock of his own hair in his felt, a modern take on a Victorian idea? 

Close up of various fibres and textures

Detail including human hair in the centre of the top right piece of felt

Anyone interested in a felt-a-long?

I am just throwing out the idea of hosting a virtual felt-a-long sometime during the first couple of weeks in January.  Following on from my last post I thought how much fun it could be for those of us already addicted to felting to share our knowledge and introduce some of our friends or children to this wonderful and fascinating technique.  I was thinking that a suitable project for us to do together would be a piece of flat felt which could be framed, stitched into a small bag or else stuck on the cover of a note book or diary.  My idea would be to make a piece myself taking pictures of the progress from start to finish, these would tie in nicely with the tutorial on the workshop page and would also expand on the instructions which I post out with all my flat felting kits.  I could set up a new group on Flickr for us to share our photos and ask each other for any help and advice, this would not be a competition but a sharing of knowledge and a great way to spread the fun of felting!  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Felt ornaments, beads and hair accessories

Yesterday was ladies day at the Golf Club and as I only had a couple of hours in the morning to attack a felting project I decided to convert some flat felt samples into smart and colourful Christmas ornaments.  Using this great tutorial from Betz White I slashed, manipulated and stitched a large felt ogee.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find my tailors chalk (no surprises there!) so it took me a lot longer than it should have to cut the lines.  This was a bit frustrating but I didn’t want to make any mistakes and the stitching did compensate somewhat as for once it only took a couple of minutes to get through this dreaded task! The resulting ornament is definitely pretty but until I find my chalk I am just going to string this with some large glass beads and enjoy it hanging in one of the trees in my garden.  Any more of these ornaments will just have to wait until I am properly prepared at the slashing stage although I might get inspired to cut a few out from paper as I try and destash my interiors magazines!

I did put up some images of the felt and ceramic necklace on Flickr yesterday forgetting for a minute that they would automatically link through to my Facebook profile so here is a close up for you to see the contrast of felt and ceramic. 

Close up of felt, ceramic and organza necklace

Hopefully the intended receipient won’t realise that the necklace is her Christmas present so the surprise will not be spoilt.  These large beads are strung on a copper coloured organza and this is an effect that I intend to replicate with a couple more necklaces using some gorgeous vibrant coloured lime ribbon that I brought back from Denmark. 

Felt hair bobble

Having routed out some pieces of flat felt my other project yesterday morning was this simple spiky hair bobble.  Just get a long piece of felt a couple of inches wide and using a sissors or craft knife cut lines into one long side but not right through to the other side (hope this makes sense!).  Starting from one end roll the felt up into a rosette shape stitching a couple of times as you go along.  The slashed ends form a funky anenome style design and you could add a brooch back or as I did stitch on an hair elastic to create a fun felt accessory!