Saturday, 1 February 2014

FELTING - large scale!

For a while now I've been wanting to felt some large pieces of fabric with the eventual plan to make something wearable, like a simple waistcoat. I've always been limited by the size of my work tables at home but at the start of the year, while things were quiet at Oliven, my felting friend Soosun & I took advantage of the large workshop tables for a day of experimenting... 

I did some preparation and dyed a large 2 square metre piece of cotton scrim using Dylon. Although I have done lots of natural dyeing (usually outdoors) for my knitwear, using cold water dye was another first for me. I always avoid anything potentially messy but it was SO easy! Not even a tide mark in my sink. And the scrim came out a brilliant Flamingo pink - total coverage, no streaking.

Using this as a base for my fibres I was able to spread the 2m x 1m scrim out on the large workshop table and laid out fine layers of Merino on top...

I then used a mixture of threads (see 'Textured Treasures') silks, fibres and snippets of fabric to build up the final layer of textures.

This was a day of experimenting and an opportunity to try out the electric sander just to kick-start the felting process. KC has used it before when felting scarves and it proves invaluable working on this scale. It would have taken so much time hand-rubbing over such a large surface area. No photos available for this stage - I was too busy concentrating on what I was doing!

Then I began rolling, only stopping when the fabric started to shrink alarmingly...

The finished piece measures about 60 cm x 120 cm and the felting is still rather soft for me -  I would have preferred a stronger finish but it would have been so much smaller.

I will work over the entire piece now with the sewing machine to give more surface decoration. This will also help bond some threads but most have felted in well enough.

The scrim base certainly gives the felted fabric a strength, it's light-weight and drapes beautifully. It's ended up rather small and I'm reluctant to cut into it now, but it does make a rather nice wrap.

I've learnt lots... And I have another 6 metres of scrim ready
for the dye pot - tropical green & purple

but the pink is SO cheering for this dull time of year!
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