Monday, January 17, 2011

A Felting We Will Go....

Before I show you some of my first felting attempts, I want to give you fair warning. THIS IS ADDICTIVE!! Sheep and goats have taken on a whole new and respected standing in my heart.... as if my goats didn't have my heart and soul anyway, but now I have a deeper level of affection for what they give (besides attitude). Of course, our boys don't have fleece to give us, being the Nubians that they are, but they clear a fire safe area for us around and down the hill below our house. ..... and the chickens give us such beautiful eggs... and I could go on forever about animals and what place they have in our lives.
But sometimes you get to do something that involves a process so ancient and basic that it boggles you mind with possibilities. This is called FELTING.
My Christmas present from the Prospector was an order of wool yarn, fleece and books from Knitpicks.Com. This got me started. The wool yarn to knit into pieces that were feltable....
The fleece...
A couple of books with wonderful possibilities... 
I spent the better part of December lost in antibiotics and dreams of creativity.
My first foray into felting turn out STRANGE because of my impatience and lack of information.
 I did everything right until I got tired of hand rubbing my beautiful gray and white piece of  half felted fleece.  I threw it into a mesh bag and machine felted the unfinished piece. Oops!
It wasn't ready for all that agitation and the above photo is the result. Now, someone has said that you never make mistakes, you just have "happy accidents". I like that. This piece is actually my favorite hand made piece of felt so far and I will needle felt it into another piece of fabric at some point.... maybe a purse or scarf.... something like this.
 Can't you see a big interesting button right there in the corner? This is on a piece of felted knitting that was part wool (that felted) and an acrylic yarn (that didn't). Another interesting lesson in yarn behavior. I lined it and use it for knitting projects. Now I have a "purse" for my yarn, needles and scissors, all in the same place, that's pretty and handy.
There is always a way to use your pieces that don't quite come out like you expect. Don't throw anything away. Think about other ways that you can use them.
The ideas are endless. Just try it all.

So yesterday I took the beautiful fleece that I bought from Sandy in Amador City and made it into fabric. I choose the one on the left...
unfolded the roll and PULLED the fleece apart.
I layered it, following the instructions at this site (one of the easiest to understand) and wet it down with hot water and soap. I like to use the bubble wrap. It keeps everything in place and adds the right amount of agitation without touching the fibers. You can get rid of the wrap later when the wool starts to mesh together.
This is just a magical process. The more you rub, the more the fibers felt. When it starts forming a solid piece you can just use your hand to rub and shape the piece. It will shrink into a much small size but this is when you can stretch and shape the piece in a process called "fulling". Please read up on all of this before you jump into this process. There are lots of dos and don'ts.
It will look like this....
and then this....
And finally, after you have rinsed and dried the fabric.... THIS.
Which has the most beautiful texture and color to it. You can felt it again to make it stronger. I think it would make a wonderful small purse.... or a background for a small pillow of needle felted spring flowers.... or an altered book cover....what would you do with this little beauty?
This is so much fun it's almost sinful. If you can't come to California and buy fleece from Sandy's store in Amador City here are a couple of sites to get you started:
 The knitpicks site and wistyria.com are great for buying supplies like wool yarn and fleece. Also, if you just google the word "felting", you will come up with all kinds of sites where you can learn about this process.
 Just take a look. It's so much fun.

And, have a happy day in thoughful celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. He was a man of peace and his birthday should be honored.









 

11 comments:

Madeline's Album said...

All I can say is beautiful. I am going to have to study more about felting. Have a blessed day. Madeline

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

I love all those colors in the last felted piece. It would make a lovely small evening purse! You have an eye for this, seeing the wool and turning it into a beautiful fabric.

Teri said...

I think your "happy accident" turned out really great. I can see it just as you describe it and can envision that big button just so! I have a purse that a friend felted for me and I just love it. It seems as though it took so long just to do the knitting and then after that you have to do all the felting. Lots of work. My friend (a male) used to say to me: why would anyone take a perfectly good piece of fabric and cut it up to make something else? He just didn't know, did he! Have a great holiday. They all feel like holidays when we're retired don't they?

Midcenturymadam said...

How beautiful! That was a very informative post. I'm going to have to check out your links. That would make a really nice case for readers.

Chef E said...

This is so cool! I am going to read this again, I may have just found my new hobby!

I talked with my son's girlfriend about sewing, and she wants to learn these things. It will be fun having a girl to teach this stuff too!

jojo said...

this looks fascinating! I want to see more, and I want to do a little research on it so thanks for the link.

also, thank you for your wonderful comment to me. I am resting well and drinking lots of water to wash out the toxins. I'm looking for a suitable lotion for my impossibly dry skin and also will have to call the dr. in the am to see what can be given for mouth sores...so far I'm hangin' in though!!

Riki Schumacher said...

Connie, I am SO impressed! You go girl, and look what you're turning out. So very cool. I'll just watch this from afar! I have enough on my plate, but how fun is this. Enjoy. Riki xoxo

Eve said...

I am very much looking forward to seeing more of you work farmlady. I love the bag you made with your saved beauty! Good advice on never a mistake when it comes to hand made!! I've never heard of this before!
PS I love that beautiful header!!!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I love your 'mistake' piece! I say adorn it with some beads and buttons and needle felting and put it around the neck of some movie star and BANG! You'll be the next fashion wave in California and your pieces will sell for Cazillions!! Does the place where you bought that lovely fleece have a website? I'm trying out more sculptural, wet felting and now I'm inspired. P.S love your new header...Must get the snowy birds off of mine soon.

Paxie said...

Thank you for explaining what felting is! I have to go visit the links and do some more research. I seriously had never heard of this before. You are such a wealth of information!

One of the many reasons I love visiting you (albeit a little late)!

Peg @ Bloomfield Farm said...

Check out the post called The Gift at Between Naps on the Porch for a cute idea for using your small scraps of felt!