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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Felt like stitching

Hello, I'm sorry to say things have ground to a halt for a few days while I went to the zoo with a friend, and recovered from a nasty cold. Back in business now and I've been experimenting lately with making a different kind of felt. For the feltily-uninitiated, there are basically three kinds of handmade felt:

1) Wet-felted. This is the kind I generally make, which involves taking wool 'tops', which is essentially wool that hasn't been spun, and looks a bit like cotton wool does when you get it in a roll. You add hot water and soap to wool tops and through lots of rubbing and friction and dipping in hot and then cold water, and then throwing the wool about a bit, the wool gradually meshes together into felt. This takes quite a bit of exertion and with all the hot water, can get a bit much in very warm weather like we've been having lately - my wet-felting in summer is limited to cooler evenings!
(there's a special type of wet felting called Nuno felt, where you use the felting method to attach wool to fabric such as silk for a lovely light and durable fabric)

2) Needle-felt - you can see fantastic examples of this in Gretel's blog http://allaroundus.blogspot.com/
This method involves stabbing the wool tops with sharp, barbed needles - I plan on having a proper go at this one day when my to-do list is a bit shorter.

3) Machine felting - this is where you take something knitted or crocheted out of wool and put it in a really hot wash in the washing machine and let it have a good tumble around, the heat, water, soap and friction making the wool shrink and go fuzzy. This third type is the kind I've been playing with. It gives a different effect to traditional felt and its a cool way of upcycling old clothes :)

After felting some sweaters (bought in charity shops) in the wash, I've been stitching wool through the felt in patterns, and then using my wet-felting method to felt the stitching into the sweater-felt a little.

Here's one piece of turquoise wool and angora blend sweater, felted up and hanging in the sun to dry:


This is for yet more products for Treacle Toffee. The plan for this piece is to make some dangly fish-shaped ornaments for hanging in bathrooms. I've also been stitching some felt for some coasters - pictures coming soon!

Later in the week I'll be working on some more Scatterbox things. I want to make some bags I've had ideas for, and more zippy little purses, and maybe more mobiles, and some felt animals that have been waiting patiently to come to life for oh, so long now! I'm determined to get as much done as possible before I go away in June.

2 comments:

ladysnail said...

i know how big to-do lists get! i love the colours of the piece of felt work. i love the little running stitches cat. dx.

Catherine said...

Thanks ladysnail :)