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My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.
69th Birthday in St Jean d’Angely

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Contact me by email:feltingindevon@gmail.com

Hi, I’m Judi and I’ve decided to finally do the things in my life that I never got around to earlier, like felting and printmaking and ceramics. Generally, all the creative activities and I am having so much fun.
I’m so old, I no longer care if I make mistakes and miss perfection. I have  come across some really brilliant activities and I’m writing this Blog because I want to share these with you – as you might like them, too. I’m not the brightest or the best at any of them, but that’s not going to stop me!

Inside, where I live, I still feel youthful. I look in the mirror and I can see I’m somewhat deluded. I find that when I’m doing stuff like felting and painting I feel happy and absorbed. I guess some of you feel like that, too.

Felting

My very first felt made with Jean Fenton

So far, I’ve come across wet felting, needle felting and nuno felting. There’s probably other types too but I’ve not yet met them. It’s all good.


Why? The colours of the wool rovings and cute little curly tops and the slinky silky fibres are a delight to just collect and put in a box. Better still, is getting them out, laying them down, lathering them up with soapy water and rubbing the hell out of them to work the magic. If it goes wrong, blame the soap or the temperature – when it turns out well, take a bow baby.

Nuno felted scarf
Slinky silky fibres

Because felting is such a good thing, I’m impelled to share the joy with you. I’m going to run a few felting workshops in Kennerleigh.

Another time, I’ll be posting about ceramics and my ceramic garden totems.

Box of blue rovings

Words for today…from ee cummings i carry your heart

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Contact me by email:feltingindevon@gmail.com

Free Tutorial: making felted beads and balls

How to Make Felt Beads and Simple Jewellery

Felt beads are easy and very inexpensive to make – you only need a few grams of merino wool top and some soapy water.

Combined with glass, metal or ceramic beads, they make beautiful jewellery and they can be made into decorations, zip pulls, hair pins, charms for phones and purses – the list is endless!

1 felt bead

Put some very warm water and a squirt of washing up soap into a bowl.

Get two tufts of merino wool about 4 – 5 inches long (10-12 cms).  This will give you a bead about the size of a small cherry.

If you want to make lots of beads of the same size, weigh the wool so that you know exactly how many grams to use each time.

2 felt bead

Roll up one of the tufts, quite tightly, as shown.

3 felt bead

Place the rolled up tuft at right angles on to the bottom of the other tuft as shown.

4 felt bead

Roll them up together, quite tightly, starting at the bottom, until you have a rough ball shape.

5 felt bead

Holding the ball firmly, dip it into the soapy water for a few seconds.

6 felt bead

Still holding the ball firmly between your fingers, turn your palm upwards and squirt a tiny amount of washing up soap into your palm.

Put the ball between both your palms and very gently and slowly and with no pressure, roll it around.

It’s important that you only just lightly hold the wool ball between your palms when you start to roll it – if you try to force it at this stage you will end up with a rough bead that resembles a ‘brain’. 

7 felt bead

The photo on the left shows the ball about halfway to becoming a bead.

As the ball starts to shrink and harden, increase the pressure of rolling until you have a felt bead.

The finished bead should be very firm but with just a little give so that you can poke a hole through it.

Rinse the soap off and leave it to dry then poke a hole through it with a darning needle – you may need pliers to pull the needle through if your bead is very firm.

8 felt bead

Finished felt bead – about the size of a small cherry.

Felt beads have a gentle fluffiness about them, but if you prefer a smoother finish, use a jumper shaver on them.

You can make different shape beads
To make a long bead, roll the bead in one direction rather than round and round, when the bead is about half felted.

To make pointy ends on a long bead, roll it in one direction in the cups of your hands.

To make a cube, shape the sides by squeezing with your fingers when the bead is almost felted.

To make a disc shaped bead, make a round bead then hammer it flat.

Variegated beads
You can make your beads using more than one colour of wool at a time and you can add a wisp of silk top. 

9 felt bead

A simple bracelet can be made from felt beads and shirring elastic.  Measure your wrist and line up the correct length in felt beads.  Poke a hole in each felt bead with a thick darning needle – you may need to use pliers to pull the needle right through -then string them together with a double thread of shirring elastic.  Tie off and thread the ends back through a bead before cutting off.

10 felt bead

This bracelet was made from plain, round felt beads and glass beads.

The felt beads shown are the size of large cherries.

A simple necklace can be made from a few felt beads threaded onto a metal choker, or onto a length of ribbon that can be fastened with either a knot, or a clasp and ring sewn to the ends.

Jewellery findings are easily and cheaply available from online craft stores.

To make a simple necklace, poke a hole in each felt bead with a thick darning needle – you may need to use pliers to pull the needle right through – then thread them on to a metal choker or ribbon.

This choker was threaded with three round beads then decorated with sequins and seed beads – see below photos for ‘how to’. 

11 felt bead

To prevent the felt beads moving out of line on this choker, the stitching to attach the sequins and seed beads was done with one continuous thread through all three beads after they had been threaded on to the choker.

12 felt bead

Felt beads can be embellished in many ways:

Beading with glass beads, sequins etc.
Anchor the thread by pulling the tail into the bead and then making a couple of half hitches.  When beading, nylon or polyester will last longer than cotton.  Do regular half hitches to stop any puckering and also to make the stitching more secure.  It is a good idea to stick a needle – or something of the thickness you plan to string the bead with – through the bead before you begin stitching.  This is to prevent the beading thread obscuring the passage through the bead and prevent it from getting broken when stringing the bead.

Embroidery stitches
Felt beads are easily embroidered with 2-3 strands of embroidery floss. 

13 felt bead

You can use many traditional embroidery stitches
on felt beads.  This example was worked with just one simple stitch repeated in a star pattern.

Felt beads can also be embellished with needle felting or wrapped with wire or crochet chains to ‘cage’ the beads.

We hope this brief introduction will inspire you to have fun in making your own unique felted jewellery.    Please check out Rose’s website, too. rosiepink@typepad.com

Free Tutorial: dyeing fleece at home

Dyeing Fleece with Food Colouring

Dyeing fleece is great fun and the results can be amazing! Here is a simple easy method of dyeing fleece with food colouring. If you have raw (unwashed) fleece to dye, see our guide to the basics of washing raw fleece.

You can dye any natural fibre which has had the lanolin removed by washing, such as our natural batts (lighter coloured fleece is best if you want a bold colour), and dyeing natural curls / locks is lots of fun!

Dyeing fleece can change the properties slightly, so you may find it could felt differently after dyeing.

The colours don’t always make sense, sometimes they split into different colours – I once used pink and teal thinking it might make purple and it made green instead!

Dyeing fleece

You will need:

  • Something to heat up the wool and water in – this could be an old jug or old bowl and saucer on top in the microwave, old saucepan on the stove, even a slow cooker!
  • White vinegar
  • Water – enough to cover wool
  • Fibres to dye – wool batts / tops / curls / pre-felt / other fibres – even silk.
  • Food colouring – be aware that you might not always get the colour you expect! Its all part of the fun of dyeing. If using powdered food colouring see notes below
  • Old towel / paper towels / cardboard etc (to lay fibres on to dry)

*Using Powdered Food Colouring: You can mix the powdered food colouring with a little water to turn it into a liquid. You can experiment with different amounts, to give you an idea to start off with you can mix 1 teaspoon powdered dye to 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water. You could also try just sprinkling the powder on.

Method:

  1. Pour a splash of white vinegar into the water, place the wool in and leave to soak, leaving for a longer time (overnight) will result in more intense colours. I use about 1/4 cup white vinegar to 500ml of water, you can experiment with different amounts.
  2. Add food colouring to the pot. If you want an even colour tip the liquid into something else, add a few drops of food colouring, mix evenly, and then pour it back over. If you want to experiment with different tones or different colours on the same fibre, you could try taking the fibres out of your vinegar water and lay them out on something they can be heated on (such as a flat bowl with saucer on to in the microwave (be careful that the fibres don’t burn if using hob etc). Sprinkle the dye over the fibres, you could use two or more different colours to see what effect they have. 
  3. Gently heat the wool and liquid. Do not stir otherwise the wool will felt! Keep heating until the water is just boiling, and the wool takes on the dye. I did mine in the microwave and heated for 1.5 – 2 minutes each time until it was boiling hot, it took about 3 – 4 goes. 
  4. Leave to cool slightly.
  5. Drain fibres and rinse in clean water the same temperature as the wool. Sudden changes in temperature can shock the wool and cause it to felt. Rinse until the water runs clear, and then drain out as much water as you can.
  6. Leave to dry spread on an old towel, or use paper towels over a piece of cardboard.
  7. You can re-use the vinegar water dye bath provided you are dyeing a similar colour – just add more food colouring.

In the picture below the dyed fibres on the left had only just been put in the vinegar water, the fibres in the middle were soaked for 2 hours and the darker ones on the right had been soaked overnight.

The Makerss

Free Tutorial: Butterfly

Simple Butterfly using Water Soluble Paper

Needle felt butterfly using water soluble paper

I love making butterflies and this one was inspired by the contents of the monthly Makerss box in June, the theme was Butterflies and Dragonflies… have been seeing lots of those around! I have used multi-coloured wool roving, you can also use wool batts. A fun part for me is trying to get them symmetrical, but you don’t have to. Working into water soluble paper is great to do with younger children as they are less likely to stab themselves when working using 2-dimensional techniques.-SophieYou will need:

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper
Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Cut a workable piece of water soluble paper.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Draw or trace an outline of a butterfly.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Lay the piece on your foam mat.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Pull off a pinch of wool and lay it so that it is overlapping the outline.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Stab into the wool along the outline of the butterfly.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Fold any excess fibres back in, and stab all over the rest of the wing.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

You can use a 7x needle tool and brush mat together to really felt the surface down firmly and quickly.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Repeat the process for the other wing.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

You can let the excess fibres go onto the top wing.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

To get the wings symmetrical, you can split the roving down the middle.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

You now have one piece for each wing.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Repeat for the top wing. 

You can keep the excess fibres in the area of the body this time so they don’t go over your design.

The main colours are done, now time to add some details if you like.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Take a wisp of wool and split it in half. You can twist the fibres to make them stay together, ths will give a more defined line.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Loop the lines around and lay them onto the butterfly.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Felt them in.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Add details on the top wings if you like.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Take some of the fibres and lay them where the body will go.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Felt them in leaving some loose at the top for the antennae.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Twist the antennae fibres to give them definition.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Cut around the water soluble paper to get rid of the excess.

Needle felt butterfly tutorial Water soluble Paper

Dip the butterfly in water or hold it under the tap for a couple of seconds -the paper will magically dissolve! You will be left with a slightly sticky residue which helps to hold the butterfly in shape. Press out excess water on a towel. Now you can bend the butterflies wings as though it is about to fly away. Leave to dry in this position.

You have finished your butterfly! These make lovely mobiles, bunting, card decorations, and more…

The Makerss is a fantastic source for needle felters in particular.

Free Tutorial: Basic Wet Felting technique.. 👀

These instructions show the basic layout and techniques for making flat felt panels. This technique can be used for laying out many other feltmaking projects, including scarves, pictures,felt wallhangings, felt bags, lighting and more. It shows the basic steps used to create a strong, even, wool felt surface. Note for beginners…look at how carefully the fibres are shingled in an open-handed way – no tugging- gently drafting the wool with hands at least 30 cm apart.

Materials used for test piece:

15 grams Merino fibres, (wool tops or rovings)

2 pieces of bubblewrap about 45cm square
Warm water
Olive oil soap or washing up liquid
Foam insulation roller, wooden dowel or rolling pin

Preparing your materials:

Use your towel to protect your work surface.  Layout one length of bubblewrap, bubbles facing up.

Divide your wool fibres into two piles.

The rovings can be easier to work with and lay out as thinly as possible if you divide the rovings along the length. This gives you more of a “hand” sized amount to work with.

MFF2a

To “shingle” your wool in your layout, use your whole hand to clamp down the fibres.  The staple length of your fibres will determine how far apart your hands need to be:  if you can’t pull the fibres out easily, your hands are too close together. Using your whole hand to pull open the fibres encourages more even and fine shingles. When we use our fingers, the wool has a tendency to be more bunched up, or balled.

Lay the one layer of the wool shingles,  overlapping by about 1cm or 1/3 in length, and in each row. Layout a 10 inch (25cm) square. This will give a finished felt of about 6 inches (15cm)  square.

Another method for laying out shingles of wool is to lay the fibres on your bubblewrap, clamp down flat with one hand, and with the whole hand clamping the fibres flat, pull out the staple length to create the shingle.

MFF7

The closer your drawing hand is to the end of the fibres, the fewer fibres will be in each shingle and therefore the finer the shingle, and the finished felt.

Lay out second layer with the fibres perpendicular to the first layer. Carefully look over the surface for any holes, gaps or thin areas. Check particularly where your shingles overlap. This is the area most likely to have thin spots or gaps. If you have more thick or bulky joins, spread the fibres out a little with your fingers. Add more wool, in thin wisps, as required.

Mix about 1/2 teaspoon of soapflakes or liquid soap with 2 cups of warm (not hot) water. Apply this mixture evenly over the surface of the wool using a plastic water  bottle or by pouring the water through a colander. You can also pour the water slowly over the back of your hand to wet out the wool. We aim to simulate a gentle rain shower falling onto the wool- evenly distributed.   Try to lightly water the surface, without moving our wool designs; just enough for the surface to be wet, but not sitting in a pool of water. (I use a ball braiser to spray the water, but it’s not necessary.)

Ball brauser

Pouring water from a cup over the back of your hand onto the wool works equally well as a brauser or spray bottle.

Cover the wool with the second piece of bubble wrap and press down with your hands. Keep your whole hand flat, using a compressing motion. Our finger tips tend to move the wool fibres underneath. This flattens the wool fibres and distributes the water and soap mixture. Press down 10-15 times in one spot to thoroughly wet out the fibres, before moving on to the next section.  Work over the whole piece in this way.

Lift the bubble wrap and check that all the fibress are flat and wet. Add more water if necessary,  and repeat the compressing in that spot.  With the bubble wrap cover in place, add a little of the warm soapy solution to the top of the bubblewrap. This allows your hands to move easily and lightly over the surface, gently creating the agitation needed to form a felt skin on the surface of the wool.  You can also roll over the surface, very lightly, applying no pressure, using a length of PVC pipe, rolling pin, or a pool noodle. This helps to evenly wet out the wool fibres.

 Roll up all the layers of bubblewrap and wool around the foam roller or dowel or rolling pin. We all have different felting rhythms, so you may roll up tightly and roll vigorously for 10-15 minutes total, or roll more gently for 30-45 minutes. Periodically open the roll, check the felt surface by rubbing your finger over the surface to see how much the fibres are moving, or by pinching to see how much the fibres lift.  Rotate the felt by 90 degrees or a quarter turn, and re-roll.  This allows you to work in the felt in all direction. The shrinkage happens most in the direction we roll.

To finish the felting we will alternate between these three techniques:

Toss the balled up felt down hard onto your open bubble wrap. This really helps to shrink the wool felt very quickly, but we have no control over where the shrinkage happens.

Fold up the felt and roll it on itself. This gives the felt a tight even surface.  The felt will shrink most in the direction in which you roll, use this to control the shrinkage and shaping of your finished panel.

With hands flat on the surface of the felt, rub the felt over your bubblewrap surface. With this technique you are shrinking all of the felt, but can focus the shrinkage in particular areas, like corners, edges, or thin spots. Too much rubbing will create a slightly balled or fibrous surface. This is why we alternate the three techniques as they each have drawbacks and benefits.

Continue until the wool is quite well fulled, and feels firm. Check your measurements to see if you have reached a 35-40% shrinkage rate.

Rinse well in warm water and lay flat to dry.

MFF19a

Congratulations! You have created a wet felted sample using a range of techniques. Judi Binks

(F. Duthie credit)

Judi Binks feltingindevon@gmail.com

Published by Felting in Devon

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Wet Felt a Wall-hanging Kit

Free Tutorial: wet felt a Wallhanging

Felted wallhanging.
This Wallhanging measures approx. 60cm by 100 cm.

Wet Felt a Wall-hanging Kit

This kit contains the wools, carded batts, silks and yarns in a wide range of vibrant colours and textures.

Prices start at £30 for a wall hanging kit 60 cm by 45 cm + P&P £3.70.

Wet felting Kit contains merino wool tops, batts, yarns , silks, scrim, water soluble paper

Kit also includes …

Silks and curly tops for embellishing felt painting.

Newcomers to felting can receive the kit with a draft design layout of fibres to get started. See below. Or, you can do your own thing!

The design of wools and silks can be laid out ready for y our wet felted wall hanging.

Cotton Scrim Scrim backing is shown here on reverse of the felt. It helps to give soft structure and strength to thinner felts. However, it can also be gently pulled away to provide a windowhanging or two way felted picture, that looks good from both sides.  I use this as backing material to add a soft strength and structure to your wallhanging. The wool fibres penetrate through the open weave easily thereby aiding felting. Also, this additional first layer allows you to obtain a good finish with only two layers of wool fibres instead of three. So, it’s less bulky and easier to felt. Secondly, because I cut a larger piece of scrim than the project, it enable you to create a top or bottom hem or border which is useful when you hang your picture from a pole, dowel or branch later. The scrim can also be gently pulled away to provide a windowhanging or two way felted picture, that looks good from both sides.

Cotton scrim is pre-cut to size and used as a backing material for wet felted painting.

You’ll only need …

Work surface, waterproof covering, old towel, 2 sheets of bubble wrap, foam roller or pool noodle, plastic bottle with water and soap.

The Artfelt water soluble paper is pre-cut to size and ready for you to draw your design template. Or, I can pre-draw your preferred design for you, together with colour guide. See below.

Artfelt water soluble paper complete with design and colour guide ready for laying out fibres.

First, clear the deck and prepare work surface by-

1. Laying out a towel on table. 2. Placing first sheet of bubble wrap on top of towel – bubble side up. 3. Laying out the cotton scrim on top of bubble wrap. 4. Lay out the water soluble paper (with pre-drawn design) on top of the scrim.

Design Layout. First stage is lay down the base layer using mainly the carded batts of wool, looking like cotton wool. You will lay out 2 layers of wool. First the foundation or base layer using the batts. These can be torn or cut to a rough shape, or, you can shingle them in smaller pieces.

The second layer (shown in Green) is the Design Layer, where you build up details by gradually adding small embellishments of contrasting or complementary coloured fibres. See above. In this example, I’m building up both layers of one colour at a time. You may prefer to lay out your base layer first, in all the colours of green, red, blue, yellow, purple, pink etc… It’s your choice.😀

adding the first layer of fibres.

Having made a start with the green, follow your template guidelines and gradually add in other colours, remembering to lay down base layer first before adding the details and embellishments. You can see how I’ve moved on to add the reddish carded batts. I will keep returning to the initial colours to add details if I want.

Adding on the second layr of fibres as embellishments.

The next few pictures show in greater detail how I start to add detail and interest to the second red layer by using twirls and swirls of different shades of Merino wool tops. I’ve introduced pinks, Scarlets and wisp of violet. I use very thin wispy pieces and try out various positions until one clicks!

laying out the first layer of red fibres.

Notice that, as the colours come up against each other, I make sure the fibres not only touch but definitely overlap each other. The fibres need to lock on to each other in order to fully felt later on. More on this later!

Adding detail and embellishments ot red layer.
Close up of red embellishments.
Cloe sup of pink and purpole added to red base layer.
Lighter green yearn adds detail to green batt.

Next, I added in the first layer of light blue batts. Notice how the reds, blues and greens overlap in the section on the right in the above photo. *Close up photos. If the fibres don’t fully touch each other, there will be a hole or a thin, weak spot here later on. It’s important to think about the structure of the wallhanging, as well as its design. The finished piece will be quite large and heavy, so it pays to keep checking for weak fault lines.

Building up the colours of the design and adding more and more details.

The pale blue batt has a soft cotton wool texture. It is made by carding together wool fibres using a pair of hand carders or a drum carder. Using batts saves time spent shingling individual layers of fibres. It is useful for covering blocks of colour.

Neighbouring fibres must actually overlap each other in order to felt fully later on.

Next, I add the second layer of embellishments to the blue section. I’ve used dark and royal blues to contrast with the pale blue base. Later on, I’ll pop in some turquoise streaks to make it more vibrant.

Adding detail to the wallhanging layout.

Yellow is the final base colour to be added. Because the yellow areas are quite thin, I’m not using a carded batt for the base layer. Instead I’m first shingling 2 or 3 light layers of buttercup yellow merino wool tops to create a base before I add oranges, pinks etc in the second design layer. It’s starting to take shape at last! Keep checking and tweaking and rearranging the components of your design. Gently press down with palms of your hands to slightly compress the fibres so they get to settle into each other. This will aid the felting process later on. You can move things around. Nothing is fixed or unalterable at this stage. Enjoy it. Walk away from it. Look at it upside down.

Final layer of yell is introduced to felting.

Above, I’ve added contrasting colours of shocking pink and orange to the base yellow layer to make it ‘pop’. Notice how extra colours have also been sprinkled on to other sections, as well.

As the design lay out nears completion, I can add the final touches. Blue and orange curly locks on the central panel. Pink and turquoise Angelina fibres are sprinkled around, making sure that some strands of wool fibre trap them on to the design. With so much going on, it’s a good idea to re-shape or redefine the key shapes of your design. Using the pencil yarns to outline shapes or to create overarching swirls is a useful tool. Adding pencil yarns restores some cohesion and unity to the picture.

Continue adding details of silks and yarn and contrasting colours.
Use pencil yarn to outline and redefine areas of interest in felt painting.

Tulle Netting traps the design. I include 3 pre-cut lengths of tulle netting which you use to carefully place over your design when you have finished laying it out. The netting traps the fibres in place and so protects your design. In this large project, you can cover each section with tulle as you go, allowing you to overreach it safely. When the design layout is finished, ensure every section is covered. Take care when lift ing the netting as fibres will stick to it! Once this is done, the project can be wetted down or dampened down so you can press gently downwards for 5-10 minutes without rubbing, or massaging your work. Introduce it to the warmish water gradually. Don’t drown it or drench it!

Tulle netting used to trap the design of wools and silks.

Finally, add the tulle netting carefully when you are satisfied with your lay out. The netting helps to protect and preserve your design as you move forward into the next stage of the process.

Tulle netting used to trap the design of wools and silks.

Wetting Down. Use all 3 pieces of netting to completely cover your design so that you can sprinkle warm water all over your project. Don’t drown or drench it. Gradually, add the water like it’s a gentle shower of rain, making sure it is equally and consistently damp all over. Press down gently onto the piece with the palms of your hand in order to disperse the water without disturbing the fibres. No need to add soap at this point. Water should be tepid or cool. This process should take 5 to 10 minutes at least. It’s a gentle pressing down action only. No massaging!

Water and soap needed for wetting down process.
Lay second layer of bubble wrap bubble-side down onto felt painting.

Excess moisture can be soaked up by patting down with a soft sponge and squeezing out the water.

Sponge down to soak up excess moisture.

I use a ball brayer to spray the water as it creates a gentle shower of rain effect. Equally good, is a plastic bottle with holes punched in the lid.

A ball brayer.

Rolling Out. I find insulation foam is an excellent roller. Pool noodles, rolled carboard tubes and roalling pins are also useful. Save all your larger sheets of bubble wrap which provides gentle friction that accelerates the felting process.

Foam insulation used for rolling out the felt.

Roll your felt inside the two layers of bubble wrap ( including the cotton scrim and Artfelt paper) into a tight sausage and secure each end with elastic band or old popsox.

Roll up into tight sausage and secure with ties.

Roll a towel around the sausage to prevent slipping during the rolling out process.

Roll inside a towel.

Next, the Felting Stage begins! A few notes to begin with… Take the second piece of bubble wrap and place it bubble side down on to project. (You can keep the netting on for another 5-10 minutes before carefully removing it.) The felting process needs warmer water, soap and friction to work successfully. It is a slow process. It can get quite physical when the rolling starts later. Take it in easy stages. If you get tired, you can leave it, and return to it the next day. When this happens, I gently sponge off the cold and stale water first, and then add a refreshing warm to hot spray of water to revive it before continuing to felt again.

From this stage on, follow the usual wet felting routine of gently massaging the fibres and increasing the vigour with circular and firmer movements for 15-20 minutes.

Here’s a link to Basic Wet Felting technique on my blog. Basic Wet Felting technique

Get ready to start the hard work of rolling out the picture 200 times in one direction and 200 times the other way! Keep unrolling and rotating and rolling by 90 degrees. It’s not easy or quick, but the more you do this, the smoother the final felt.

(By the way, I did not actually wet this project at all as it was to demonstrate the lay out. See above. I have sent you the completed ‘jigsaw’ ready for wetting and rubbing and rolling.) However, if you want, just have a look at how I built up the design and then …take it all apart and start again with your own design!

I have included an extra bag full of wools and a bag of silks, sari silk slivers and Angelina fibres in a smaller bag so you can add lots of extra details.

Published by Felting in Devon

Felt artist, Fibre artist, Wet Felter, Nuno Felter, Felting in Devon workshops, View more posts

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Free Tutorial: Rainbow wall hanging

The rainbow window hanging originally displayed in shop window is now a wall hanging in our house.
You can see that wet felting is not an exact art like embroidery. Wonky lines and overlaps can occur, which usually add to its charm.
I added details in silk to each radiating arc using the colour of the adjacent arc. So, indigo circles were worked on the blue, green on the orange, yellow on the orange etc.
The colours are so vivid, they almost vibrate. Notice the thin inserts of pink and turquoise which add a ‘pop’ of colour.
Another rainbow layout – measuring approximately 70cm by 70 cm from top of sky canopy to tip of fringes. Here, I have added patterns using yellow, purple and green pencil yarns which felts really well.
The large rainbow kit contains 450 g of wools and silks.
Window hanging at Kennerleigh village stores

What you will need

A large table or work surface you can use for a few days at least
Large sheet of bubble wrap.
Old bath towel to lay on table.
Spray water bottle. Warm water. Soap.
A foam insulation pipe to use as a roller in the wet felting process.
Your imagination to run free!

Two sheets of bubble wrap

Tulle netting or a lace curtain to hold the design in place whilst it’s under construction and before the wetting down process.

A sheet of water soluble Art Felt paper at least one metre square on which to draw out the rainbow template denoting the coloured arcs. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Plenty of hot water in plastic spray bottle or braiser. Hand soap or liquid soap.

Laying out the colours of the Rainbow

Different shades of each colour add interest and vibrancy.

1. Divide your selection of all the hues into two equal piles before you start so you don’t run out before completing each arc. The picture below shows how I simply laid out the yarns in your pack so as to get an idea of possible design.

Seeing the possibilities by just laying out the unshingled fibres first.
Experimenting with how you can use the pencil yarns and embellishments is also a good idea at the outset.

2. Shingling and First Layout. I usually start by Shingling my chosen fibres and laying out these drafts of chosen colours by starting from the bottom left red grid and working up to the apex before working down to the other side as it helps ensure you don’t run out of fibre unexpectedly.

Lay out the shingled fibres using grid lines to help control the design.
My preference is to arrange the hues in a sequence within each colour to create a tonal vibrant effect, rather than a solid colour block. The solid colour block effect works really well with children’s rainbows as it is simpler to follow.
Shows fibres overlapping and interlocking so as to felt strongly and seamlessly. Notice also how different shades of reds, oranges, yellows and greens are arranged.
A colour ‘pop’ is achieved by interspersing shocking pink within the red arc, and turquoise in the blue arc.
Make sure each shingle overlaps with its neighbour. Notice how extra lengths are added at the ends for the tassels. I’ve used the purple and lilac batting initially in the inner arcs to add strength and cohesion.
After layout, check each layer of fibres overlaps its neighbour. Press down gently with hands to check there are no holes.

3. After the first layout, use remaining to fibres to lay down a second layer making sure to overlap adjacent colours. If you feel you are losing definition, use the pencil yarns to create an outline effect.

4. Add the extra details and silk embellishments rembering to use wisps of Merino wool to attach silks to the project.

Adding a Sky background

Adding sky is useful way of adding height and interest to your rainbow. More importantly, it provides a surface to hang it from.
Arranging the Sky batt in place. It could be extended or modified by using the additional wools from the sky pack. This sky probably needs widening to ‘square off’ the look of the piece.

Felting Process begins!

Felting process

  1. Place the netting down carefully on your rainbow layout.
  2. Sprinkle coolish warm water on to project using any of the suggested methods. Dampen it thoroughly without drowning it!
  3. Press down gently through the netting with palms of hand for 5 – 10 minutes all over in order to diffuse the wetness without disturbing the pattern. A chance to tidy up or tuck in any loose or steady fibres, too.
  4. Keep the netting on and add warmer, soapy water and massage gently downwards and then in a circular fashion for 10 – 15 minutes to circulate the warmth and soap needed to start the felting process. The water soluble paper will dissolve allowing the fibres to work their way through the cotton scrim backing.
  5. By now, you can see the effect of the water on the fibres through the net. At this stage, I sponge up excess moisture using a sponge to remove any excess ‘exhausted’ water.
  6. Carefully remove the layer of tulle netting and check over your project before sprinkling again afresh with hotter, soapy water.
  7. Carefully place the second sheet of bubble wrap bubble side down on to your project to make a sandwich. The bubbles serve to add extra friction necessary for felting.
  8. Palming stage. Squirt some more hot water on top of bubble wrap to help glide soapy hands over the surface as you now start to rub and massage the project more vigorously for as long as you can. You could also a palming tool to increase the friction. You can also flip the project over and massage it from the scrim side on the reverse.
  9. Inspect your piece from time to time by pulling back the top layer of bubblewrap and remember to pull and reshape as necessary.
  10. Ready to Roll. When you’ve had enough of this, sop up any tired excess moisture and add warm soapy water again and wrap the sandwich around the foam roller to make a sausage. Tie it with elastic to stop slippage. I also wrap it in a towel which stops the sausage slipping.
  11. Rolling rolling rolling. Roll 200 times in each direction. Work clockwise from North, East, South to West. Flip it over and repeat the rolls on the other side. You can sing or use a music tracks to help you give a fairly uniform number of rolls so that shrinkage rates are not uneven. Remember that your project can shrink by up to 25%during felting which is why the cotton scrim backing is useful to help maintain its shape and size. (Helpful to take an occasional peek to check on progress and to disentangle the tassels! )
  12. Take a break. It’s perfectly fine to leave your project at any time and return to it – even days later. Keep it rolled up damp: just squeeze out excess moisture gently and refresh with hot soapy water when you’re ready to start again.
  13. Pinch Test. Felting has taken place when you can pinch the piece without whiskers of fibre coming off.
  14. Fully felted? Unroll and inspect your project. Pull it back into the shape you want. Sort out the tassels with some extra rubbing and friction. Remember you can add extra embellishments afterwards by needle felting or embroidering.
  15. Rinse and Repeat! Rinse and squeeze repeatedly in clean water and leave to soak in final clean water rinse with a drop of spirit vinegar to neutralise the soap.
  16. Fulling. This is the final part of the felting process and is often omitted. Fulling will shrink your work further but it also makes it stronger and more compact. It’s up to you! In the sink, wearing rubber gloves, add very hot almost boiling water to the project and then roll it up and let it drop on to draining board a few times. You will notice the difference as it tightens and toughens. Don’t overdo it or it will become a coaster!
  17. Allow to dry flat in natural heat. About 24 hours usually.
  18. When it’s dry, embellish the tassels fringes and secure additional silk decorations with a felting or embroidery needle.
  19. Hanging. The versatility of sky background at the top allows it to be rolled so that a wooden or iron pole can be inserted for hanging. Sometimes, I just use a large twig or small branch to good effect.
  20. My blog http://www.feltingindevon.com has lots of free tutorials on interesting techniques and ideas you can incorporate into your designs.
  21. I’m a teacher and these instructions are a just a substitute for personal tuition. If you want to buy any material, I can customise a kit just for you and post it to you. I am happy to assist with your queries and help any time. Judi Binks
Lay down the pieces of tulle netting to secure the fibres of design in place.
Spraying water onto project through the tulle netting.
Gently sponge up excess stale moisture.
Roll sandwich around the roller.
Wrap towel around sausage sandwich.

Gallery for June: “The Kiss” by Klimt. My take on this classic piece by felting in wools and silks.

Mounted on gold board and framed in black box frame.
Ready for framing
Laying down the outline.
Second layout.

Free Tutorial: Felting a Devon Landscape or Sheepscape Kit

Buy the Kit for £20 + p&p.

When you open your kit, you’ll find at least 16 different colours of Merino wools, mulberry silks, angelina fibres and curly tops, as well as 2 sheets of white pre-felt, netting and bubble wrap. There’s also a printed copy of illustrated instructions.

Below, I’ve made 13 short real-time videos to help show you how to approach your project, step by step. Hopefully, it will you the confidence to be creative in your composition and help you put your own individual stamp on it.

This post is all about creating your composition. It’s the fun side of felting. This is the critical process where you can spend as long as you like getting it just right – before the actual wet felting process begins. It’s also the most absorbing part. The actual felting process is simple and will be shown elsewhere. This is sheer creativity. After 3 hours in the workshop, most of my students took home wet partly felted pieces to finish off later! I love looking at their pictures which show such happy faces and everyone’s picture was unique. Thank you.

Part 1: Contents of the kit

1. The Contents of kit.

( Sorry about quality of filming: this was done on my mobile, with only one hand free to work the wool, and, it was unscripted.🙏 )

Part 2 Getting started on the sky by blending the blues

2. Blue skies

Part 3 More about carding fibres to blend colours

3. Carding the wools to blend the colours of the sky.

Part 4 Laying down the fibres for sky and middle ground moorland

4. Different ways of laying out the drafts of wool for the sky.
4b. Blending and placing the greens for the base pasture layer.

Part 5 Foreground composition element of pasture

5.

Part 6 Completing the first layer of landscape background

6. Finishing the first design layer of background sky, moors and pasture.

Part 7 Starting from the top – adding the second design layer

7. Embellishments to sky

Part 8 Adding the sheep

8. Adding the Sheep.

Part 9 Adding close up details of stalks and grasses.

9. Close up of grass, stems, stalks.

Part 10 Snips and nepps, flowers and field texture

10

Part 11 Adding Silk Threads for shine and texture

11

Part 12 Adding texture, tone and perspective to your composition

12

Part 13 Adding the finishing touches to the composition

13

Some of my beautiful students with their Sheepscapes. Missing you all. 🥰🌈