Fabulous Felting group

Sue, Joanne and Tasch have explored lots of techniques of wet felting landscapes. Sue has created a beautiful landscape which she’ll embellish at home.

Beginning the landscape by Sue.

This week she wanted to express herself in colours through abstract design and the result was awesome! See below.

Sue is laying out the Merino wool fibres in abstract design.
Ready to roll.
Adding embellishments such as threads, silks and curly tops.

Adding the final dynamic diagonal in black. Well done Sue!

Sue’s comments…

Judi’s enthusiasm is infectious and under her guidance and encouragement during our three sessions I now feel capable of working independently at home. A good introduction to the art and craft of wet felting.

Meanwhile, Tasch wanted to practise adding detail through needle felting and by laying down fibres with free movement.

Tasch used her time to sample various ways of using vivid and dynamic colours.

Judi’s classes are relaxed while at the same time she teaches you everything you need to know from start to finish to be able to do your own wet felting from home. I had no idea how to felt before taking the class, it’s very easy to learn and Judi gently guides you through the process which makes it thoroughly enjoyable.

Tasch

Joann works carefully adding detail to her piece inspired by her amazing photograph of tree shadows on snow. This is work in progress. At home Joanne will use needle felting to add more details as she builds up her felt painting.
We found that by looking at the project through the camera viewfinder, tonal details could be identified more clearly.

Joanne’s comments on the course…

Judi is talented and enthusiastic. She uses guidance and encouragement whilst allowing you to be creative in your own right. She has also been very generous with materials. I have thoroughly enjoyed this course.

Basic wet felting

Preparation:

Never rush felting. Give yourself lots of time. Do not have anything at all planned. Be as free as a bird for several hours.

Clear off your whole working area. Get rid of clutter, cleanup, remove non-waterproof items from table surface.

Collect all of the equipment together at the beginning so you don’t have to run around for things between each step

Make your environment pleasant. Suggestions: Adjust the temperature, put on music or a show, add scents to the air, add more lighting if necessary, get a beverage or snack,

Get your own body ready. Put up hair, take off jewelry that snags, put on supportive shoes, wear comfy clothes that are okay to get wet, or put on an apron

Equipment

Gather the following supplies:

Wool – Local stores, sheep farmers, wool festivals, order online. Merino is the softest and works very well.

Netting – Tulle from the fabric store, mosquito netting, leftover from an old dress or canapy.

Bubble wrap – Office supply store, discount store, leftovers from mail packages. Small bubbles, not the jumbo

Liquid hand soap – nothing with bits or particles in it (like oatmeal etc)

Empty squirt bottles, or spray nozzle bottles

A few old towels

Pool noodle, foam tube, or wooden rod (optional, but helpful)

Bamboo mats – part of a bamboo curtain, sushi mat, or placemat

Scissors

Duct tape

Elastic ties – Lycra, nylon or spandex strips, about 18” in length

Laying out the wool

Lay down the bubble wrap, bumpy side up. If the piece

Make the shape about 20% bigger then you want your finished piece to allow for shrinkage. (This is only an estimate)

Lay down another layer at a 90 degree angle on the top of the first.

Keep layering back and forth until the desired thickness is achieved.

Look for thin spots, with the flashlight, and pressing down with your hands. Add more fiber to the thin spots.

On the final layer, create your design. Beginners should start with just different colors of wool, for the first time.

If you wish to have straight edges, tuck them under and/or manipulate them now.

Double check your design, and be sure you are satisfied. It is still not too late, and nothing is final yet. Remove or replace anything you don’t like now.

Reiteration: Make sure you are happy with it.

Lay the tulle down directly on top of the project.

This is a stopping point. If you want to break the project up into stages, stop now but leave the tulle so the design stays undisturbed, and keep it protected from curious family members and pets.

Wetting down the wool

Add soap to very hot water. Feel it with dry hands. It should feel slippery, if not, add more soap.

Apply water to the project with a squirt bottle, spray bottle, or ladle on droplets.

Press down to disperse water.

Add more water to the dry spots. Push down, and eliminate any air pockets.

If you add too much water (it will pool around your fingers when you press) take a dry towel and sop it up a bit

If your hands stick to the tulle, rub some of the liquid soap directly on them.

Felting

Slowly start to rub all over the surface, using a light touch.

Go in all directions, and cover the whole area. Don’t forget the edges.

Every couple of minutes, pick up the tulle and disentangle any fibers of wool that are trying to latch onto it.  (Very important in the beginning… after a while it will not be so crucial)

Put it back down onto the surface and continue.

Increase pressure as time goes on.

Flip occasionally.

When it starts to feel cool, sop up the surface with a towel and reapply hot water.

Pinch the surface of the wool itself to see if fibers easily come up. If so, keep working.

When fibers stay in place at a light pinch, you can stop this step.

Fulling

Lay down a skid free pad, or wet towel

Keeping the tulle on the fabric, lay down the bamboo.

Put a rolling bar at one end, and roll up the entire thing.

Tie with stretchy ties.

Roll the whole package with long strokes, and even pressure from just the weight of your arms.

Do this until either you’ve gone a couple of full minutes, the package loosens, or you roll about 50 times.

Unroll.

Remove bamboo and tulle. Straighten out the felt. Pull slightly.

Lay down the tulle and bamboo again, but roll from the opposite end.

Repeat above steps until it is fulled.

If possible, roll from all four directions. Flip over and roll from all four directions again.

If only two directions are plausible, that’s okay. Remember—The direction you roll is the direction it shrinks!

To test for doneness, stretch your fabric and look for very little distortion in the design.

Rinsing & Finishing

Run the piece under hot tap water in the sink.

Lightly rub all over as you rinse.

Switch to cold water.

Soak in a bowl of water and a small amount of white vinegar for 15 minutes or longer.

Re-rinse in cold water.

Squeeze out water. (DO NOT WRING)

Lay in a dry towel and roll up to absorb more water

Dry flat.

For a smoother look, use a steam iron over the piece.

Published by Felting in Devon

Felt artist, Fibre artist, Wet Felter, Nuno Felter, Felting in Devon workshops,

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