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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tutorial -- Felt Cords

Sorry to be slow -- I have had lots on my plate these last couple of weeks! Here is the tutorial for the strap for the purse I made (see

Here's how to make the cord:

For a thin cord -- pull strips of roving about 1/2 inch wide X the length of roving you are working with (doesn't matter how long it is). Overlap the pieces to get a cord length of about 30 to 40% longer than the final length you desire. Make sure the wool is as uniform in size down the length of the cord as you can get it. Add extra wool if the wool is thin in places.
I like to needle felt my roving pieces together to start. You can also dry felt the pieces together by rolling them in your hands. I added a bit of silk hankie to mine and needle felted it in. I rolled the piece between my palms up and down the cord.

Begin to wet felt by adding hot soapy water to the wool. Roll the cord with the palm of your hand against the bamboo or bubble wrap you use to wet felt. Roll up and down the length of the piece. When the cord begins to have some form, take it to your hot water source and get it very hot and throw it against a hard surface. Throw about 20 times. The cord will get uneven, but take it back to the mat and roll it again to smooth it out. It will take about 3 passes of throwing and rolling to get the cord firm enough to be a purse strap. Tug on the strap to make sure it is firm before you decide you are finished!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Everything kit ideas

Joggles has some wonderful things -- I especially love their on-line classes. Here is a link to some things Barbara has made with felt -- might be some new ideas here! Check out all of her wonderful classes and things for sale while you are there!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hand Needle Felting/Wet Felting Tutorial

I've finally gotten this done for you guys! I am making an iPod sized bag or it could easily be a glasses case if you don't include the strap. Hang in there with me while I go through this and be sure to ask if you have any questions!

Step 1 -- Gather your tools

You will need at least one felting needle (size 38 to 40) and a piece of high density foam -- I like to use the Clover Pen Style needle felting tool with 3 fine needles (see picture--you can get this at almost any craft store) and my foam came from JoAnn's -- it measures 11 X 11". Later on you will need wet felting tools (see step 6 below and the instruction page of my website

Step 2 -- Gather your materials and begin
I created this using one of my everything kits. (Here is a link to my ETSY shop or see my website to see all of the colors the kits come in or if you want to gather your own materials -- there is a list of what is in the everything kits on the everything kits page I folded the prefelt in half so it would be sturdy enough to be a purse, shingled on another layer of matching roving (pull out and overlap small sections of roving so they look like roof tiles). I lightly needle felted everything together.

Step 3 -- Add surface decoration
I started adding the silk in a diagonal pattern across the bag. You can create whatever design you want! Just know that the process of felting will tend to create organic designs and the silk will bubble up and shrink as you needle felt it in place. I started with small strips of silk (either cut or torn from the larger pieces), laid them down and needle felted them in place. I also used thin strips of roving and placed them between 2 pieces of silk or used them to add to the design. After the pieces of silk were down I started filling in the design with edges cut from the silk hankie and perhaps small pieces of the yarns. I always add small strips of velvet and make sure I use plenty of roving around them and needle felt them in well. The velvet is dense and hard to felt in. To finish, I always add tiny wisps of wool on top of the silk and lightly needle in place.

Step 4 -- Evaluate the design
The piece can be lifted off of the foam slowly. I folded mine in it's intended shape to see how I liked my design. I ended up playing with my focal point -- removing some of the silk I had placed here and creating a flower shape instead. (see pictures in step 5) When you needle felt this way the designs can be moved until you wet felt them.

Note -- I also added a few lines of machine stitching randomly through the design. This is purely optional and will not have a great deal of effect on your final outcome unless you use a highly decorative thread.

Step 5 -- Get ready to wet felt
Since this is going to be a purse or eyeglass case, I needed a resist to put in between the layers. I cut a piece of a large zip lock bag to fit inside the felt allowing about 1/2 inch of the felt to touch on the two long sides and the bottom of the bag. I closed the bag around the resist, allowing it to stick out of the top of the bag and needle felted along the side and bottom to begin to attach the front and back.

Step 6 -- Wet Felt
Get out your wet felting tools, including a small bamboo placemat or bubble wrap, 2 pieces of tulle and a scrunched grocery bag. Go through the 3 steps of wet felting (see the instruction page of my website). The felting goes very fast as the needles have started the process. When you are at the final stage of fulling or shrinking the piece, consider the size you would like the purse to be when finished and stretch the purse into that shape as you go along. The felt should be pretty dense or firm for this piece. My finished piece measures about 4" wide X 6.5" inches tall. I also removed the resist after about one pass of fulling as the wool had started to shrink and the resist was in the way.

Here is a picture after the purse is dry and the handle is attached. The surface is very textural and the felt is very firm. I made some matching felted beads and included a few glass beads. Voila! About a 2 hour project! Looks just perfect for an iPhone or a droid!

Next up: I will teach you how to make the rope to use for a strap. There are many ways to create a strap -- you may have your own!