Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wet Felting

Happy Mother's Day!  But more importantly, Happy Birthday to my Momma!  Now that she's opened her gift, I want to share it here.

I am a felter, and normally I do needle felting.  I wanted to try some wet felting on a larger scale than just wet felting soaps and beads and things, so I set out to make a gift for my Mom.

I started out by laying down a towel and then a layer of bubble wrap, and then a layer of prefelt.  Prefelt is a slightly felted fabric and it's great for the base of felted objects like this. You can also needle felt with it. I started layering whisps of wool on top of the prefelt.
















I layered it in one direction first, then in the opposite direction.  Once I had a pretty good layer covering the prefelt, I started in with the colors of the scene I wanted. I made a sky and a field of flowers.
















This was fun....putting the colors together to create a "painting".
















Then I started adding in dyed locks of wool.  These locks are in natural form, and haven't been carded or combed like the roving.  They're a lot of fun to use!








































Once I finished with the sky and the greenery, I was ready to add in the flowers!  I wanted to make hollyhocks, so I added circles of roving to mimic hollyhocks.
























Once I was happy with the layout, it was time to wet felt. This was the nerve-wracking part! I was nervous something would get messed up, or the flowers would smoosh together or something.  I used a piece of sheer fabric (this just so happened to be scraps from bridesmaid dresses from our wedding).
















The wool was still light and poofy at this point, but then I poured hot soapy water over it.
























You can see above how the wool flattens out once wet. I would push it down gently to make sure the wool was saturated, but not sopping.  Then, I wet my hands and put dish soap in my hands, so I could smooth my hands over the fabric to gently start the felting process.  I rubbed my hands in circles and back and forth over the picture for several minutes until I could tell the wool was starting to felt.
















Once I peeked at the wool below and could see it felting, I was ready to move on to the more aggressive felting.  The wool and bubble wrap get rolled around a pool noodle, then rolled back and forth to vigorously felt it.
















It gets rolled 100 times, then it gets unwrapped and rolled up from a new direction and worked again 100 times. I did this 4 times, rolling up the felt from each direction for rolling.  After 400 rolls, it looked like this.
























I was thrilled with how it turned out!  I wanted to add some detail though, so after it dried, I got out my beads and felting needles.
























I added some beads to the flowers, and needle felted borders to give it more of a 3D effect.
























I needle felted centers to the flowers.
























And then I added a hummingbird.
























And the finished product:





















I was so happy with the finished product! I was so happy to send it to my Mom, because she is a quilter (doing some really amazing art quilts) and I knew she would appreciate it!

Wet felting is pretty addicting, and I'm already planning my next piece!




4 comments:

Linda said...

Wow! Beautiful Katie. Thank you for showing the process.

Becky said...

Katie, it's amazing! You are so talented! That hummingbird looks real!! I can't wait to see it in person!

Kim said...

That is beautiful!!!

Momma/Deb said...

I am so honored to own such a large and wonderful piece of Katie's art!! It brought tears to my eyes when I opened it and realized she took the time, materials, and effort to make it just for me and that's beside the fact that it's absolutely GORGEOUS...omg! I love hollyhocks and hummingbirds...how perfect! I treasure it and am hoping to have it specially shadow box framed soon. I want to make sure it lasts a lifetime plus more! I am just in awe of Katie's talent!! Thank you so much sweetie pie! Love you, Momma

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