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Natural Felting

I had done a little bit of felting with the wool tops I had, but thought about a more natural colour to try and use. I went for a walk around my field and in the woodlands and managed to find sheep wool on trees and fences, so I collected a ball and brought it home. As this was just a sample to try, I was not too concerned with washing it, I would have to research what to do if I wanted to turn this wool into something that would not smell or be a little dirty from mud or trees.

I did a close up of the wool to show the texture, it obviously gets wet and dries a lot from a sheep and being just out in nature, which is the start of the felting process anyway. But the next step is to pull the wool apart into thin strands and lay it down on some bubble wrap, first doing a layer of it facing one way, then a layer of it on top facing the other way. A horizontal layer and a vertical layer, keep going it depends on what thickness you want the felt to turn out like. I did about three to four layers which will produce a thin sample here, which I thought would work better for producing a nice bonded sample.

This is what it looks like when the layers are stacked up, try and make it into the best kind of shape you want to produce.

Next, add some soapy warm water into a jar or something and pour a little onto the felt, then fold the bubblewrap over on top of it and start rubbing it with circular motions, this will start to bond the layers together and fuse the fibres.

This is a long task, sometimes I will keep going for 15-20 minutes if I want a really well fused piece, if you want more holey results then do it for less time. If you want to try and achieve neat edges, fold all the little straggly bits over using the bubblewrap and rub those edges particularly to fuse those together. I usually then pick it up in my hands and rub it together with my palms, again making sure the edges are sorted.

You then rinse it under cold water, which I learnt ‘shocks’ the felt, and lay it out to dry.


Animal Embroidery Experiments

The main kind of fabric samples I wanted to try were large applique pieces that gave a good sense of detail to the animal faces and textures. I started with the hedgehog, then the hare, then the squirrel and finally the dormouse, and they all turned out looking better than the last one as I managed to get the hang of getting the details in the right places to make it look more realistic.

With the hare, I added wool tops fur into it as I was stitching so it would have a more soft appearance where it actually looks soft and feels it too. I added the squirrel’s tail in the fur as well but did the rest of the body with just a variety of stitches which I think turned out quite well.

I also tried adding some applique to the squirrel piece to create an interesting green overlay of leaves. I used fabric that I had dyed myself too so it was quite a natural colour, but I think I will it had gone a little brighter. The hedgehog was interesting and I added the linework around it, I think these is a nice experiment but I do not really see it going any further than this. I think with the digital printing, the essence of it is to make sure the printed design is how I want it and using the stitch to improve it, not to build it.