Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wool in Other Forms

I mentioned earlier that I took a wet felting class on making felted flowers last Sunday.  I have taken a few classes on wet felting techniques and making nuno scarves.  It is a fun process and in some cases, depending on the project, it is an intense workout (rolling, rolling, rolling) and a long work process of several hours.

Still, it lets me play with wool and I love wool in any form.  At one point in my young years I took up spinning wool and I loved working with raw wool.  I loved the small of raw wool too.  It is so organic.  I didn't know what to do with the wool I spun because I don't really enjoy knitting or crocheting, so my spinning career was very short lived.  I have always been very drawn to weaving, but the whole setup of the loom and repetitious nature of it lost me quickly too.  Weaving is too technical for me!

When I discovered rug hooking in 2006, it brought it all together:  working with wool, more free form in process than weaving and easy, easy to learn, start and complete a project and finish it!  Wha-la!  You have a wonderful piece of fiber art from hooking.  It's painting with wool.

Here are some pictures of the wet felting process to make a flower; just a few of the many pic's my friend Deb took:

This is the first layer of roving "drafted" or teased out to fan the fibers out in thin but still interlocking layers.  

This is the second layer that is applied on top of the first layer.  The blue plastic acts as a resist between the layers as you wet felt one layer at a time.  A hole exists in the center of the blue plastic where the center of the flower felts together between layers to attach the layers at the center of the finished flower.  You add multiple resists (blue plastic) and roving layers that get smaller on each layer to create the layers of the flower.
This photo shows that the top two layers of my flower have been wet felted (the bunched area in the middle).  I will now felt the bottom layer then start the rubbing and rolling process for friction to make all the layers shrink or "felt" up.  The final flower has three layers of roving to create this little beauty:

The final flower after felting the layers; in true light it is really more very dark pink color than orange but it appears orange in the photo.
I have made some other projects with wet felting and they have been fun to make.  I always want to do more wet felting, and get really good at it, but I rarely find time for felting.  I must try to do it more often.  The results are very gratifying!  Here are some other wet felted mats I have made over the past few years.  Most have sold in my Etsy shop over time.

This piece was spontaneously created in wet felting.  I had no picture in my mind before I began applying roving layers to create a felted mat.  I needle felted yarn onto the mat for the words.  I like the mat so much, it became the basis for my rug hooking pattern:  Love is the Foundation.  If you'd like to see the rug hooking pattern, there's a link to it at the top of the right-hand column.

Here's the rug hooking pattern for Love is the Foundation.  Now that I'm looking at the felted mat, I think I will change the rug hooking pattern to incorporate the saying because I like the mat better than the rug hooking pattern!  Back to the pattern drawing board!
Hooked rug pattern Love is the Foundation based on my wet felted mat above.

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