Friday, October 10, 2008

First Wool Felted Base: Beginner's Tutorial

While I was visiting The Flower Lady's Farm and Woolery shop Kim gave me a basic beginner's wet wool felting lesson. I picked out some lovely Icelandic wool roving from her shop in two different colors seen above. We decided what size we wanted the finish wool base to be and then cut out a piece of plastic template about 1/3 larger to allow for the shrinkage.

Then I started pulling out thin wispy of wool roving beginning in one corner and laying it out on top of my template slightly overlapping the wisp before by 1/3. The above photo above is the first two layers of the light beige wool roving. trying to keep them as even as possible in thickness. The ends of the roving should not extend past the edges of your template.

Then I added one more layer (3rd layer) of the white pinkish wool roving at a 90 degree angle to the second layer. Then Kim told me to feel the wool to see if there was any empty spots that I needed to add wool roving too. When laying out any fleece it is better to use multiple thin layers instead of one or two thick layers ones, because the thin layers felt together better.

Now it is time to "Wet It Out"!!! Kim gave me the above "neat tool" to use to spread the hot soapy water over top the wool roving. If any know where to purchased this tool please let me know. Thanks. Working with wet soapy hands I pressed down on the wool roving with the white texture mat you see above. Saturate the wool without disturbing the fibers. Imagine pressing the water through the pile , all the way to the bottom. One of the most common beginner mistakes in felting is using to much water.

Then I we wrapped the wool template with a netting and wrapped that around a foam tube and tied it all together with string. Then we rolled it over the brown ridged mat. The job of the netting at this point is to keep the loose fibers locked and immobile so they don't float apart. Keep rolling your wool over the ridged mat for about 10 minutes or so applying pressure and rolling. We continually would unwrapped the wool base and add a wee bit more soap and water and tied it back up and kept rolling.

The goal of the felting stage is to get the fibers saturated and lightly connected to one another. You will know you have achieved this when the felt behaves as one coherent piece of fabric rather then a bunch of loose hairs.

The "Pinch Test" is when you slightly pinch the wet fibers between your thumbs and forefingers. Are the fibers beginning to hold together? You will know they are if you've left a tiny, hairy tent where you pinched . You can do this all over the piece you have a prefelt.

Expel the water: Once the entire piece if felted it will feel like a soggy piece of paper towel. Roll up your felt loosely in the netting/tulle and carefully lift the while thing into your dishpan or sink and press out all the water.

Rinse out the soap: Rinse out the soap by pressing clear warm water through the felt. Pressing or lightly squeezing is OK but never wring your felt.

Let It Dry: Prefelt is fragile so gently drape the prefelt over a drying rack or the back of a chair. Or better yet, leave it flat to dry on the table.

The above photo is my finished Prefelt piece of fabric. Not sure what I plan to do with it. It came out to be approximately 24 inches by 19 inches. Not sure what I plan to do with it. I was thinking maybe I will added some other prefelt to it and do some embroidery on it. This class was allot of fun and I enjoyed every second of the class. The above beginner's tutorial is what I remember from the class. I am sure there is many other ways of doing wet felting too.
I hope you all enjoyed this wee wet felting story of mine.
Hugs Judy


Miss 376 said...

I've just bought myself a book to learn how to felt, lot better to have someone there who can tell you when it "feels" right. Look forward to seeing what you do with this

Cathy K said...

Hi Carol, I'm really enjoying your felting posts and am going to mention it on CQI (as this month our challenge is working with wool). Keep up the good work, and I love your angel piece! Hugs, Cathy (who is so trying to catch up on her reading!)

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely no intention of every doing this, but it was fun to see how you do it, just the same. =)

T said...

Your peice of felt is very inspiring Judy. It is good that you enjoyed learning wet felt. And your description of the wet felting process is very accurate. It is very a very labour intensive, and messy process but addictive.

Just make sure that you have all the ergonomics right so that you protect your back and arms and sholders.

This peice of felt will look great with some stitching on it. Looking forward to seeing it.


CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Hello Cathy, Theresa, Susan, and Jane, Thanks for visiting my blog and the nice comments you made about my felting tutorial. Hugs Judy

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