Still working from the book, Creative Felting by Lizzie Houghton. I just want to mention here that this book is a guide, although there is instruction. Lizzie uses a fair amount of silk and velvet fabric in her pieces. For the exercises, I don’t use my good silk. I use sari silk fabric ribbons and I don’t have any velvet. However, when we are able to go back to the shops, I shall be hunting out some velvet in the charity shops as I really like the effect you can get with it. As these are only sample pieces anyway, I don’t think it makes much difference what fabrics you use, and substituting items can give interesting effects.
Firstly, one needs to make pre-felt. Pre-felt generally consists of two layers and is worked on until the wool passes the pinch test, and before fulling. I still have some issues with my pre-felt as I have learned to lay out really thin layers of wool. I have noticed that when it is dry, I can still see through areas and this is not so great as the wool underneath can really migrate through or the edges just disappear. One day I shall make perfect pre-felt. Pre-felt is useful for applique and making designs, and in this case a mosaic. It is like putting a puzzle together. I made two pieces. Here is the layout for the first piece.
And with the embellishment.
I used sari silk fabric, fruit netting, pre-felt from other projects, sari silk fiber and Merino. For the first piece, I followed the instructions to the stitching stage, which meant that I had to let it dry again before stitching. I noticed that once it was dry, there were some holes that needed filling in, even though I thought I had filled in all of the gaps.
I had some leftover pre-felt and I used it to make another piece. Sorry that I don’t have photos for this. This time, I made a thin base of two layers of wool before putting the pre-felt on top. I thought this might hold everything together better. However, I didn’t think carefully about my color choice. I really don’t know what I was thinking except that I had this navy blue and it was enough to cover the back. I also added other bits of pre-felt I had made another time to fill in the gaps. I ended up with some very chunky areas at the botto. What I did next was to complete the second piece first. This was my learning piece! When I initially made the two colors of pre-felt, I made it as one piece. I had one half in greens and one half in purples. When I looked at what I had leftover, I was thinking of some type of landscape.
This is the second piece that I worked on first. I ended up with some migration. I think that is because of the extra layers of wool on the back. I don’t mind it as this is an experiment. Tip: Avoid adding extra layers if possible due to migration. Some of my silk fabric did not stick in places even though I really went to town on those parts with the sander and I also ended up with some gaps. I probably could have done with less silk fabric. I added some stitching before the fulling process. I have two books on embroidery stitches that I refer to. I would love to be one of those people who is really good at embroidery, but I am a needs must stitcher. I think I may have stabbed myself more with adding the stitching than I have ever done with needle felting. After the stitching was completed, I fulled the whole piece, but there were still a few issues. Now that the piece is dry, I will use the embellishing machine to tidy up the areas I have issues with and then I will full the piece a bit more and most likely give it a shave.
I then completed the first piece I put together. I stitched and then I added a light green merino onto the back. This had the advantage of covering the embroidery threads. I also made sure I added some extra wool fibers on the silk to make sure they would stick. You need to be really careful during the fulling stage so that your piece doesn’t come apart. I kept the work wrapped in thin plastic for the sanding, and rolling stages. I also kept it wrapped up when I popped it into the microwave to warm up and also when I dropped it a few times. This piece seemed to bind together a lot better than the other one. Once I was happy with how it was holding together, I fulled it some more in very hot water, and then cold. I then rubbed it on bubble wrap with a bit of soapy water to full it even more. I had a bit of migration, but all the silk was stuck down so that is a partial result. Although the pictures look good here, if you zoom or enlarge you will be able to see what I mean about the migration. I will full this some more and see what happens as I am not entirely satisfied with it. It is good enough as an art piece, but I am thinking I would like to make an accessory from it and I need a really good firm felt for that.
I like how they turned out, even though I didn’t quite end up with what I was supposed to. I will have to revisit this technique again another time as by adding the extra wool on the back I was actually working with applique. However, I really like this way of making a painting as the pre-felt pieces really to not move around as much as when laying out wispy bits of wool, so I did learn something. That is the whole object of playing with wool. Sometimes you really don’t know what the outcome will be. I am very happy to be playing around at the moment and learning as I go.