Shibori felt in the washing machine

This week I’ve been continuing my work on adding texture to 3D felt forms, this time by using traditional shibori stitching and tying techniques and then fulling the felt in the washing machine.

This was a small red felt bowl stitched before fulling, and after:

With this small blue bowl I also used overstitching but didn’t pull it as tightly as the red one. I also stretched it out more while it was still damp after fulling in the washing machine. But I think the most interesting texture is actually on the inside:

Then I took a felt vessel I’d made previously that was a bit squashy, cut a hole in it, and tied some marbles in it.

Doesn’t it remind you of a turtle?! 🙂 It also looks interesting inside out:

Finally, I added some embroidery to my cratered pot. Now it looks like some alien Celtic sea creature!

Slippers revisited

One thing I completely forgot to say in my previous post is that when things don’t work out, it’s amazing what support you receive from the online community – most of whom are people you have never met in person!

Original "honey monster" slippers

In an earlier post I described how my first attempt at making felt slippers wasn’t a huge success. Lo and behold, Chrissie Day, an experienced felter who has written several books, popped up to give advice in the comments. So I bought her book Felt Style, ordered some polystyrene foot lasts, and had another go.

Slippers on forms after initial rubbing

I covered the lasts with clingfilm, slipped them into my “honey monster” slippers, and wet, soaped and rubbed until the slippers fitted the lasts well. I have to say it was so much easier rubbing the slippers with the lasts inside, as it gives something to rub against.

Then I slipped a pop sock over each one, tied a knot at the top, and put them in the washing machine with a bath towel at 60°C.

Slippers after the washing machine

As you can see, the slippers are a much better shape, and the ridges are less  prominent (though I can still feel them). They are still a little big lengthwise (size 5 rather than size 4, I reckon!), so I think I need to make the original template a bit shorter. But with an adornment or two, I think these are now perfectly acceptable footwear!

So huge thanks to Chrissie for her advice and support on this. The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze.

Felted entrelac

I’ve been doing quite a lot of knitting over the holidays, probably as a change from all the felting and embroidery I did before Christmas. But I don’t have the patience for big projects like sweaters any more, so I’ve been looking out for quick items that are still challenging or unusual, like the pinwheel purse.

So when I came across these felted entrelac fobs, I had to have a go. Not just because I’d never knitted entrelac (a stitch that looks like basket weave), but also because I could felt it afterwards.

The knitting instructions looked complicated but were actually fairly straightforward. The biggest problem I had was finding a set of five 6.5mm double-pointed needles – in the end I used four double-pointed needles and one circular one.

To felt, I put it inside a pillow case and washed it with a load of bedding at 60°C. Although it felted slightly, it wasn’t enough for my taste:

So I tried again, this time putting it in the machine with a large bath towel, without the pillow case, at 60°C. Much better result:

And here it is with the cord, made from twisted wool  (I haven’t got hold of a key fob attachment yet). I think I might try felting the cord at some stage as well.