The vessel I started during the week needs a couple more hours work and then hopefully it will be fully felted and fulled. I realise from some of your comments here, on Facebook and via email that it might be helpful if I wrote down the steps that I am using for this process one by one so here goes, (PS this is not a definitive way to felt vessels just the one I am using for these!) …..
- Determine the size of the vessel and cut out the template, I use 2mm thick laminate floor underlay by choice although any type of flexible plastic or bubble wrap will work just fine
- Make my prefelt from 3 even layers of merino
- Cut out some prefelt shapes
- Lay my template on top of bubble wrap, bubble side up
- Lay my initial shapes directly onto the template, for these vessels I am working with the design inside method. I think that this is keeping the edges clearer and helps me get a seamless edge around the resist
- Lay 2 fine layers of white merino up to and about 1.5cms (half an inch) over the edge of the resist
- Wet the fibres with soapy water, rub lightly either through a net or by pressing another piece of bubble wrap on top
- Turn the package upside down when I am happy the layer is wet through (but not soaking) using a second piece of bubble wrap, bubbles against the fibre as usual
- Fold in the prefelt pieces that are draping around the edge of the template first, lay out more template shapes to complete the design. By using the laminate floor underlay I can see the colours from my prefelt through the resist and this helps me determine where I want to position the rest of the prefelt
- Fold over the white merino from side 1 and then lay 2 layers of the same wool in side 2 this time just going up to the edge of the template but not too far over
- Wet, press and turn over back to side 1
- Fold over small edge from side 2, lay out 2 more layers of white merino going approx 1.5cms over the edge again, wet out and turn over
- Fold over edge and lay out 2 more layers of white before wetting out and folding over any stray fibres to the other side
- Place piece of yarn or different coloured fibre in the centre of the side where I will be making my cut to remove the resist
- Start to felt the vessel by rubbing gently on top of the bubble wrap and then delicately directly on the fibres themselves paying special attention that the edges are pulled up tightly around the resist
- Keep turning the vessel over to work on both sides and rotate to ensure all the package is worked evenly
- When I am happy that the felt is holding together firmly and starting to shrink I cut a circle in the centre of my top side and work the cut edges to seal them before removing the resist. Note in the picture how you can see the design on the inside at this stage, I love this first glimpse!
Tomorrow I will post the rest of the process as well continue with the stiffening debate. Thanks so much for all your comments to date on this topic and the tip about using a yoga or exercise ball for my next vessel, I have borrowed one from a friend (thanks Cathy) so my largest vessel will be underway by Wednesday at the latest!