I haven’t made a vessel for a very long time as I really don’t have the space in my house to store them. I have reduced the price of my vessels in my shop on Face Book. There should be a link on the side bar if you are interested. I love making vessels as you really can’t mess them up and they only take a few hours to make. You can add all sorts of decorations to them. They are great for hiding things, putting battery operated lights in them, table decorations, and more.
I have seen some nice pods for the garden. I have been meaning to make some for ages. Since I am trying to use up wool, I had a look through my stash to see what I could use.
As I am not really needle felting at the moment, I went through my wool and found some odd bits to put together. I chose some greens for one pod and browns for another pod. I had Corriedale slivers and a Scandinavian batt for the green pod. I have wet felted with those before and I know that they felt well. The problem with this particular piece of Scandinavian batt is that is has a lot of vegetable matter in it. It would be great for a bag otherwise. As the pod was going to live outside, it wouldn’t matter about the VM. I also had some Corriedale slivers and some mystery batts that I won in a giveaway from the Felting and Fiber Studio blog. These were two small batts that were just enough for the pod. I was taking a chance that the fibers would felt well. They were softer and a bit smoother than the Scandinavian but not fine enough for a wearable.
I want to show you something about Corriedale slivers that I didn’t realise before!
You can open them up! Basically, they are a batt cut into long strips. I like slivers for needle felting as the short fibers are easy to poke down. I tend to use the natural for core as it is easy to wrap, and I use the colored pieces for decoration. I never really took notice of the fact that the slivers opened up this way. By opening them up, it was easier to lay out the wool on the template.
I used two layers of Corriedale for the first layers and two layers of Scandinavian on top for the green pod. I used the dark brown batt for the first layer and the rust batt for the top layer for the brown pod. I then made handles out of the Corriedale for each pod.
For the top coat I used a space dyed 23 micron merino I hand dyed with food coloring for the green pod.
When I thought I might be making a lot of wool paintings, I ordered 500g of 23mic merino roving in natural. As I had some dye leftover, I thought I would try space dyeing 100g of it. Here I used greens, blue, brown (which separated) and yellow. This was braided and I injected the dye into the wool with a dropper. It is very subtle to the colors I got with the English 56’s. I ended up with some nice grays and reds as the brown split. Also, some areas didn’t really take the the dye and I have a few white spots. I put that down to the roving having been braided. Next time I shall do it differently. In any event, I thought the wool could be used for spinning or making a hat. I added a very thin layer to the green pod. I also had some other small (and I mean really small, a few inches) bits of merino in rust and gold that came with my winnings and I used a small amount of that for the decoration on the brown pod.
After a fair amount of rubbing (by hand), I was ready to roll the pods as they passed the pinch test. I actually like rubbing my vessels as I find it very therapeutic. I used to be a massage therapist! I rolled 50x each quarter turn on both sides. It didn’t take long for the wool to felt quickly. I made a small slit in the pods to take out the template. Usually, when I am making a vessel, I will turn the pod inside out to felt the inside first. However, it really wasn’t necessary here as these batts seemed to be felted nicely. That isn’t always the case when using roving. Although both pods started off round, you can change the shape of them. I already had two round templates. It is just a matter of stretching and how you roll your piece to shape it. The brown pod felted quite hard very quickly. I did have some migration from the dark wool coming through, but that is to be expected and as the piece will be living outside, it won’t really matter. It is also a little bit hairy. The green pod didn’t shrink down as much as the brown pod. I fulled them both as hard as they would go until I couldn’t stretch them anymore. I rinsed them and spun out the water in the washing machine.
Here they are drying in the sun. I use balloons to shape my vessels. The texture on these are quite bumpy, but I like that as it is more natural. When I make vessels, I usually make sure they are nice and smooth. The puckers and bumps occur naturally when fulling wool. Some people are really into that look, or maybe they don’t know how to smooth them out. I suppose it depends on the style of your vessel and what you are using it for. These are just going to sit outside. Maybe some creature will make it their home. I hope it won’t be wasps!
Here you can see how nicely all of the wool has blended. The merino top layer was laid out in a radial pattern for both vessels. The brown pod is a lot firmer than the green one and a little bit smaller. I am interested to see what happens when we have rain.
Here they are in-situ in the garden.The green one is sitting in front of a cat run, so I am not expecting much interest in that one, but the brown one is tucked away in a corner. I have a very small garden, but I may have room for one more pod! 🙂