Monday, 14 May 2012

The Finished Articles

As you all know I have recently attended a two day felting course run by Paula Watkins and  the Community Partnership. The first day of the course was the 5th May and as I reported  in my post it was great. Well this weekend was the second day of the course and it was another truly fabulous day.

As I told you in my earlier post was first tried wet felting and made a flower brooch, beads and a picture panel. This time we did some more wet felting and made some rolled layered beads, another panel plus trying our hands at dry/needle felting. I must say I found both techniques equally interesting and also found combining the two methods made for some interesting results. You can see some of what I made below.

For the dry felting you use a felting needle, which is essentially a rather long sharp  barbed item together with a sponge which protects the needle form damage. Simply layer up the felt as one does for wet felting then rather than adding the water and soap liquid you use the needle to  pierce though the fibres . The barbs on the needle catch on the wool fibres and cause them to mat together

Individual felting needles
 You can also use a Clover felting needle and mat, this is essentially a multi- needled tool.See http://www.sewessential.co.uk/ or http://www.lainesworld.co.uk

The Clover tool and pad
 This method can be used to create large items of felt but is also a  very useful tool if you want to add detailed features to wet felted items. I used the needle felting  method to add greater texture and detail to both my panels. As you will also be able to see I also added stitching and bead work  

Last weekend panel completed 
A close up of the panel
My second panel of a cornfield with poppies 

A close up of the above panel. You can see here the needle felted red poppies and the silks which have been added.

 Whilst we were at the course on Saturday as I have already said we made some rolled beads. For this we used the wet felt method. We layered three different of brightly coloured wool as will be shown in the next pictures  
1st layer Note strands of wool are vertical placed on the sheet of bubble wrap  
2nd Layer. Note strands of wool are horizontal
3rd Layer Note strands of wool are vertical

 We then wetted the surface with a water and soap solution covered with a sheet of fine netting and then smoothly eased the fibres together with smooth stroking motions. When the fibres began to bind tether we then cut the panel of pre-felt we had created in half vertically. We then rolled these strips starting with the shortest end. It is important to make the first roll tight and then take care to roll until all the felt is used up. Do not worry if you get little uneven ends as these will be cut off at the end of the process. You can roll one half of the pre-felt so one colour forms the outer layer and the other half can be rolled so it has the other colour as the outer layer as can be seen below.

The pre-felt rolled in what can only be described as cigar shaped rolls
You then roll these cigar shapes gently to being with on  sheet of bubble wrap. You will feel the rolls gradually come together and you can then apply more pressure. It is important to do this gradually as you do not want the outer layers to complete the felting process before the inner layers. If this happens you will end up with a baggy bead which will not stay together

Once the felting process is complete, when the roll feels very firm. you can then wash the rolls in very hot water to remove the soap residue. The rolls can then be cut into slices to form the beads 

The felt when rolled up

The beads being cut
The final beads
Once the beads have been created all that is needed then is for them to dry out and be threaded.

I would highly recommend felting to anyone young or old. The equipment is fairly minimal and you do not have to be highly skilled to start out. Obviously as your skill at handling the materials improves the finished results will likewise improved.If you live in Hertfordshire area you can contact the following http://communitylearningpartnershipangels.blogspot.co.uk/

Here are a few pieces of work from the other people who were on the course. Take note no one had done felting before, but I think you'll agree the results are great.



  1. These are stunning. I will send a link to a friend who has tried this out in a small way. I know she would love it.

    1. Thanks for the compliments. We all loved doing the felting and everyone seemed to find one technique that suited them. I'm definitely going to try more. I intend next time to use a photos to work from ad I feel its possible to use the wet and needle techniques to create some lovely landscape pictures

  2. They all look really good! You will just have to think of somewhere to display your handy work now xx

    1. Thanks Bee I'm going to make the panels into framed pictures and the flowers I am using to decorate a cushion and the beads well we'll have to think about that one.