As you all know I make quite a bit of felt but I tend to only make flat pieces of felt and then cut them up and stitch them into the shapes I want, in essence you could say I make felted wool fabric. Recently a lovely friend of mine had a go at felting a bowl. She was a little disappointed as the technique she was using wasn't quite giving her the result she craved. After a bit of discussion and sharing of thoughts I decided the best thing to do was have a little experiment myself as I've only tried 3D felting twice before and both times the results were...shall we say...disappointing. So here are the results of my little play time.
This was my first attempt, a little pod. I made it around a flat plastic resist and although I found the process rather tedious, the results are actually very good. The pod is quite sturdy and the felt is very firm, in all it holds its shape perfectly. Bish-bosh-done! I'd completed the task, solved the problems, all done as far as I was concerned. I could report back to my friend with my findings and I didn't need to make another bowl again. But then...
I had an email request from one of my regular customers asking if I made spectacle cases. I replied saying sorry no I didn't, but then the old cogs started to clunk into gear. If I could make a pod why couldn't I make a specs case. Well as you can see above I managed to make a little case with an opening so that the end would flip closed keeping the contents safe inside. Only...
The felt shrunk a little more than I had anticipated! But as you can see it fitted my phone perfectly, lol.
So I altered my template and tried again. The results were much better this time, as you can see
the specs fit inside perfectly and the end of the case will close over them. Yay!
I must say, 3D felting hasn't grabbed me as yet, I probably will have another go at some time but it's really not doing it for me at the moment.
Something else I've been experimenting with is dyeing wool. This also is not really through choice but necessity. I use small amounts of dyed needle felt in my work but buying space-dyed (randomly coloured) felt is almost impossible and when I have found some it's has to be purchased in a pack containing colours that I don't want. So I've finally given in and decided to go down the dying it myself route. The piece above was dyed using food dye and came out pretty well I thought. But I wasn't sure whether the food colouring would stand up to all the hot soapy water I use during the felting process and I didn't want to ruin a large piece of work.
So I took the plunge and purchased a small kit containing 6 bottles of dye powder a pair of latex gloves and some instructions. Look out kitchen here I come!
It looks a little complicated here but really it was quite straight forward if a little time consuming. The dye powders had to be mixed with water (always wear a dust mask at this point) while the wool was soaking in a vinegar solution. Then I laid the wool in a dish, sploshed some dye on, covered the dish with clingfilm and nuked it in the microwave for 5 minutes. You then leave the wool to cool slowly (time consuming part) then once cold, rinse and hang out to dry!
I also dyed some wool nepps (bobbles). I had to find a way of putting them outside to dry without them blowing away...so out came the netty bags that you used to get with your laundry tablets years ago! I knew they'd come in handy for something one day, teehee!
Next I dyed some Mulberry silk, only I managed to burn it a little in a couple of places as the fibres weren't wet enough in the microwave.
So as you can see the wool nepps and the dyed needle felt have turned out okay. It just means my work load has increased a little bit, how can that be? Aren't things supposed to get easier the more experienced you become!
I'll show you what I made with my felt next time.
love Fi x