archive for 'felting and fulling'
felt-shop not a feltmaker as such but such original, tactile things to do with sheet felt.
i got my dyepot out for the first time in ages last night. apart from a non-trivial dropping-a-bottle-of-colour-all-over-the-kitchen-floor incident it went pretty well. in keeping with my ongoing turquoise fetish i managed to mix a very nice blue-with-a-hint-of-green. the yarn went in first, handspun merino/tussah blend. the silk took up the dye a little more than the wool, but it’s rather less exciting than i hoped, perhaps it will improve in the knitting. it’s the first time i’ve dyed merino and the yarn felted a little. i’m not as conscientiously gentle as i realise i should be when i dye and i’ve avoided merino thus far because of that. it’s not a disaster but it is noticeable, though i’m not sure whether then end result would have been better or worse had i dyed the fibres before spinning.
second in, along with another hefty glug of vinegar and a colour top-up, was a piece of felt. it’s a mix of merino and bfl. the top layer of one side is bfl and the sheen it gives compared to the merino is noticeable and rather lovely. this took the colour a treat, and while it’s not totally even i’m very happy with it. shocking the boiling hot felt out of the dyepot straight into a bowl of icy cold water tightened it up a treat too. i just love the waffley, seersuckery texture of well-and-truly-fulled felt.
some stand-out felty inspirations, mostly via craftster.
slice cushions: someone mentioned slicing felted balls and i instantly thought of making a long sausage shape and joining the circles together into a fabric. i love the execution of these, but i dread to think how big the inital roll must have been!
i love marijke eken’s use of texture and shape, especially in her panels (art>).
one thing i’ve learned on my mini tour of felt artists is is that i detest needle felted trolls
it’s officially baltic here at the moment (i checked with helen, she’s just back from estonia, she should know) and i finally have slippers
these are version 0.2, version 0.1 having disintegrated within about 48 hours of completion the new ones have a thicker felt – dyed bfl and natural black welsh – and a leather sole. the weak point of the original design was the toe, so i’ve cut the pieces with the thickest part of the fabric at the toes. the fit gradually stretched to become too loose, so i’ve reduced the size of the upper piece.
the leather is suede side down for grip. working with it was surprisingly challenging – not to even be contemplated without a sturdy leather (gloving) needle and thimble. the work was slow and nervewracking, i was lucky to escape with a few minor grazes and no significant impalements. i found it marginally easier to work from the leather side rather than the suede side and bent both the smaller (but sharper) needles before i settled on the sturdy one. punching holes with an awl would have been another option, if more time-consuming, and i think the only one if the leather had been any thicker.
the other major problem i had was getting my handspun thread through the eye of the leather needle, which was really small. even using the very thinnest parts of the thread was virtually impossible. in the end i tapered the thread as much as i could and stiffened the end with pva glue, which worked a treat.
that said, it only took a day’s sporadic work to get them done once the felt was made. i have a little of the handspun contrast thread left and i’m contemplating some embroidery on the uppers. i’m not totally happy with the “scary crocodile” effect the blanket stitching has when turned inside-out but could minimise that in future with an even-slightly-matching-thread. i did consider using the blanket stitch on the outside, but i’m not so keen.
will update on their use-worthiness.
nikki-shell: it’s summer over there right? what use could you have for wool felt slippers??? lol, i’m on the case, as soon as i know they won’t fall to bits in the post!
it’s turned icy cold tonight, and just in time we have new slippers. not sure whether madam’s are as warm as mine which are ridiculously warm, if they weren’t open-backed they’d be too hot
using a pattern designed to fit her feet and a cardboard resist as per previous links. it really is a straightforward process, start to finish (including drying overnight) in 12 hours. i haven’t included the time it took me to unravel 1 1/2 oz pencil roving (oh for a :rolleyes: smiley when i really need one). my fault – i said that if i got pink fluff in my delivery i’d make her slippers from it, forgetting if it did arrive it wouldn’t be in easily-feltable form.
i’ve got a load of process shots that i might upload if the fancy takes me, i just followed the directions and it worked a treat. it was merino so felted no problem. i had to do a fair bit of tweaking to get the foot to sit flat, as i thought i might looking at the pattern. stuffing with newspaper helped a lot, but slowed down the drying.
thanks to excellent advice received on glitter i had puff paint at the ready to slip-proof the soles. i could do with a lot more practice with the puff paint i trimmed down the original design which had flappy bits round the ankle. i didn’t like how they turned out and madam couldn’t manage to get them on on her own. the extra meant i had enough to leave a tag on the back to help get them on and i much prefer the more minimal look. i ran up a quick batch of fine candy-cane pink and white yarn to finish the edges.
only one slight hitch – she won’t wear them but won’t explain why, they fit perfectly and my guess is they really are just too hot.
i tried a different approach for mine, cutting and sewing from a sheet of felt. i liked the idea of making double sided felt, especially since i had some herdwick that should make durable but not very comfy slippers. so i thought i’d back it with a softer fibre, dyed, cos nothing that goes on my feet would stay white for long. i chose bfl in the hope that it would felt when i wanted and not in the dye bath. dye was my standard vinegar/food dye combo, worked a treat.
i had to stop the fulling process sooner than i wanted because the long hairy fibres of the herdwick were starting to migrate through the bfl, defeating the object of having a soft fluffy lining. so the felt wasn’t as sturdy as i would have liked. at the last minute i decided to double up the sole layer and didn’t have enough to cut duplicates without piecing, hence the joining you can see on the right “insole”, thought i’d go for brazen rather than subtle. it’s stitched with a thread i spun from the bfl (slightly thicker than i’d used on the pink ones, the thickest i could get through the needle).
i made up a pattern based on drawing round my feet and allowing extra room on the top piece. they’re not very snug fitting as i wanted room to wear with socks. i tested the pattern by stapling the paper pattern pieces together and trying them on, and they’re just as i wanted. i finished the raw edges with more blanket stitched bfl thread. perhaps next time i’d make more of an effort to match them up re: how the grain runs – i can’t say it bothers me at all, but i’d spot it straight away if i hadn’t made them.
next time i’d definitely make a thicker felt, more layers to begin with. you can see how thin and patchy the bfl is, and i’m not sure how much life i’ll get from the soles, even doubled. i decided not to puff the bottoms since our floors aren’t all that slippy and there isn’t enough room to get up skid-worthy speed. overall i’m really really pleased with these, for a rough and ready and very quick prototype (start to finish, dyeing spinning and all in less than 12 hours, which included cooking and eating a roast dinner ). i love the hairiness and i still can’t believe how ridiculously warm they are.
This page is about Icelandic Sheep site also has felting info.
oh dear, looks like we need a felting category…
Felting basic process plus other tutorials in the links at the bottom. i have plans for feltballs.
farmfreshfelt not much here right now, but worth a visit for the nuno felted scarf alone. it looks like an amoeba.
nuno felting how-to – nb cold water is used to allow the wool fibres time to mesh with the base fabric.
a very long list of felt artists
wahey! finally finished
patchwork blanket made from charity shop jumpers fulled (felted) in the washing machine.
the hardest bit was getting the buggers to felt properly. once i’d narrowed down my criteria it was easier. i had very little luck with 100% wool jumpers, i found it much better to look for things with a proportion of angora or mohair, the best sign being “hand wash only” or “dry clean”. i found most of these jumpers had a percentage of nylon, up to 20%, which didn’t adversely affect the fulling at all.
then there was a cost . i think i finally used 10 jumpers, averaging Â£2-3. then there’s the ones that didn’t work… then there’s the thread… i used upholstery weight, maybe 8 reels? then there’s the tape… i used close on 50m of cotton tape to support the butted seams. so by no means a cheap project, although much cheaper than something of similar quality (lambswool, angora, mohair) would cost in the shops. it is very warm.
on the up side the actual sewing together was much easier and quicker than i’d anticipated. after a lot of thought i decided to butt the seams, partly because i didn’t want ridges along the seams and partly because i didn’t want to loose any of my precious fabric having to turn it under. i did 11 x 11 6″ squares in the end. it would have taken at least another 3 jumpers to make it 12 square. i used a stretch zigzag (hence the huge quantity of thread) and just fed the two squares next to each other over the tape. it’s by no means perfect but much easier than i’d anticipated. a friend said you could do a butted seam without the tape with a serger, but i’m not sure i’d want to test the strength of the fabric in that way – it would be a hell of a lot of work for it to disintegrate at the first wash. there was some rippling at the seams, especially with the least-felted (most stretchy) squares, but a heavy steam and press helped massively.
so i’m left with a have a huge pile of felt scraps to play with, and a bedroom that reeks of imperial leather (got a load on cheap for the fulling).
i can’t believe how tiny my latest jumper came out. i can’t look at it without laughing. it was cheaper than my usual charity shop finds, nicole farhi, dry clean only, size L. so i bunged it on my usual 90 wash and hey presto, it’s stiff as a board and too small for my toddler it’s so cute i’m not sure i’ll be able to bring myself to cut it up. don’t know whether a pic will really convey it, but i’ll get one in the morning.
i was dead good today, i resisted a really tasty moss green textured jumper in the same shop. it was thick enough to work great without any fulling which is handy since it’s acrylic. lol i haven’t quite let go of this one have i? a phrase i just read is resonating at the moment “snag it while you can for tomorrow it may be gone”. ahhhh i might have to go back. i resisted cos it’s a colour i’m inextricably drawn to and much too similar to bag 2 (only better), i was trying to be disciplined. but it would set off those buttons a treat… maybe i should set myself a challenge – see how different a bag i can turn out with near-identical materials. and see if i can steer clear of the too-obvious flowers/grass kind of vibe.
i’m getting better at picking out the bargains though – i got a grey cardi that i wasn’t over-keen on for the blanket but i was swayed by a nice metal zip and detatchable fake fur cuffs and collars plus a bonus handful of tiny buttons that can all be reused. dd was running round the garden being a “scarecrow” with the cuffs on her arms and a beard/scarf to keep her warm.
lack of recent blog activity recently doesn’t entirely reflect lack of sewing activity. my fulling frenzy has been ongoing but a decent size blanket will take many more jumpers than i expected. i have 6 jumpers fulled and cut, but i’m only about 2/3 of the way there. it’s the ones that just don’t felt that have slowed me down, i’ve had 4 failures so far, but i’m narrowing down the criteria for successful fulling: up to 20% nylon isn’t a problem, as long as the care label says to hand wash. hand wash gently in cold inside out is what i really like to see.
all isn’t lost for the non-felters though, i’m going to turn them into bags, as then they don’t need the tight structure to support a butted seam. the bag class is going great, i’m full of ideas and i actually got to do some sewing over the weekend (after being ambushed all week by things that had to be done first). the first one is done save the lining, it’s pretty wonky but should come in handy for keeping reels of thread in (i’ll add velcro closures). the second one has some obvious faults but i’m still delighted with it, it’s very very cute. will post pix and blow-by-blows hopefully tonight.
since i’ve started hanging out at glitter and signed up for a handbag class at pr it looks like i might be heading down the slippery slope to fibre arts it makes sense to me to still keep everything in the same place, but it looks like it won’t be just making for madam for long (unless she reveals a hitherto undisclosed need for couture handbags ).
on the search for class materials i found there was bugger all chance i’ll be paying Â£36/m for wool felt so i’m on the track of instructions for felting woollen wovens and knits. turns out this process is known as fulling, not felting as elucidated here (magnifying glass at the ready…). fuzzygalore also has a blog that has its fair share of sewing too.