Apr 23, 2012

Where I Felt you a Hobbit-home.

Great place to work!
In my old house I had my own studio. Here I have a storage room and an upstairs work room. And as you can see when the weather is good and not too windy, I also have an outdoor studio, with a forest sound and view. A week  ago I stood here and laid out the wool layers of my new project. I will now show you parts of what happened next.
Not a tutorial, but just an idea of what is involved in wet-felting.

Sogging wet wool.
Here are the final layers of wool, 4 layers on the bottom , then a plastic resist, then 4 more layers, all wrapped around the edges. The whole "sandwich" has been wet with soapy water, wrapped in net curtains, and moved onto a bamboo roller blind. It has had its' first gentle pressing and rubbing , to squeeze air bubbles out and start the felting process.
Wet wool detail.
 You can see the shiny green angora curls, the wool yarns, and a pre-felted spike, all dripping wet and starting to sink into the layers.
Now follows lots of rolling the wool sandwich within the net curtains, in the bamboo blinds like a sushi-roll. I will have to do 100 rolls in 1 direction, turn the whole thing around several times, and keep counting the rolls.

Soft ridge on the edges.
 I keep checking to see how the felt is feeling, and when it is holding together, but still very soft, I focus on the edges.
Adding extra soap flakes, I "work" the edges that are starting to felt into ridges. Because I don't want ridges! I have to rub all around them, until they have smoothed out, and you can't see where the front and the back of the felting project melt together.
No more rolling.
 At last the felt is holding together and I can manipulate it without too much fear of causing holes or displacement of fibres and yarns.
 Ofcourse the felt is still sopping wet and soapy, but it has gone cold. So I heat the whole thing up in the microwave for a minute or 2. This only works if it is very wet, because if you scorch it, you will have ruined the whole thing.
When the wool fibres are warm, the microscopic scales on each individual fibre will open up and become entwined by the neighbouring fibres during friction. This causes the shrinking, and it is irreversible.
As I am sure you might have experienced, after you ( the reader) have taken your favourite jersey out of the washing machine, and found it was now 2 sizes too small....
Removing the resist.
Time for the scissors, to cut a slit in the sandwich. Now I can take the plastic resist out, and turn the whole project inside-out.
 The inside layers are not as well felted as the out-side, because they got less rubbing.
 Now I will gently chuck them onto the bamboo blind, this shocks the fibres and really shrinks it.
I want lots of shrinkage, to make the felt very dense and sturdy.
I keep re-heating and throwing harder.
 Very therapeutic...
Cutting the windows.
I now cut out the shapes for the little windows of my Hobbit-Home.
Still a little felting to soften and smooth those cut edges, and then I will throw the whole thing in the washing machine for a quick rinse and spin.
 This actual felting process, (not the laying out of the wool) took a good 3 hours.
And I will show you some more in a following post. Till then!

1 comment:

softearthart said...

An interesting process, and lovely colors, cheers Marie