Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Felt Frame

This is the felt frame that I made out of the drift wool I collected from Anglesey. As a frame it looks great, however I feel it is a failure as felting projects go. I washed and carded the wool myself but found it very difficult to felt. I used the same wet felting technique as that used for the felt felt patches, prior to walking. Because I wouldn't be using the natural friction that occurs during walking to bond the felt I did pay extra attention to the friction applied during the bubble wrap phase of the felting. But when the felt patches dried they were very bitty and ready to disintegrate.

I'm not really sure where I went wrong on this project so can't even say that I know what no to do next time. A few things spring to mind. It may be that the wool comes from ordinary flock of sheep and not from rare breed sheep bred for wool. It may also be that the drift wool I gathered whilst walking had a large quantity of wiry wool and I suppose some wool from that would ordinarily be discarded for the purpose of felt making. I used this wool anyway as it is all I had.

One thing that I did notice during the wet felting phase was that it was much more difficult as than when i was using pre-washed and carded rare breed wool that came with the felt feet kit. The most obvious reason for this was that the bought wool was nicely carded into long length of wool that could be gently teased apart and laid in right angles to each other to make felt patches. This made it easier to make thin patches and to ensure that they felted well together. When washing my wool, I found initially some of it had felted during the washing process. This could easily be brushed out afterwards but the brushed wool tended to end up in small tufts of combed wool and not in long lengths of fused brushed wool. Maybe there is a particular technique to getting the wool this way during carding? Maybe it would have ended up in long lengths if i had not have waited for the wool to dry before carding? Maybe it all went wrong because i washed the soap out after wet felting? I am expecting some books on felting techniques to arrive in the next week so maybe they will give me some answers.

I had intended the felt to cover a frame that I am giving to my friend Megan before sh leaves for Seattle tomorrow morning. Because there was a lot of glue involved in sticking the felt to the frame the felt was salvageable, although it does look like it may fall to pieces if handled too much, so all in all I'm not too happy with it as a project. As a frame it does look much better than i had imagined it would so I would cover a frame with felt again if the felt was of a better quality.

In the meantime, whilst washing, carding and felting wool and waiting for it all to dry, I have been working on anther project that incorporates the original feet felt. It is taking much longer than anticipated but I think I will be pleased with the end result.


Caio Fernandes said...

wow...!!! you worked a lot on it ... i couldn't imagine it is a such complicated prosses . it make me give much more value to the ancient tecniques . and all the beaultiful things that were made .
i liked the "felt frame " .but i would never be able to do something like this .
thanks !!

ArtSparker said...

There is something very amusing about your framing stonehenge in felt...That is, it sounds like the process was frustrating but the end result tickles the eye, so to speak.

Jasmine said...

Thank you Caio.

Susan - I know what you mean. Originally I was going to frame a sea shore picture of the feet felt but Megan particularly wanted a Stonehenge picture. For me there is a huge connection between Stonehenge and felt for a couple of personal reasons that are not obvious reasons.

One would be that when I visited Stonehenge the west stone was covered in bits of sheep wool. My partner explained to me that this is because the starlings had been using it for their nest between the standing stone and the stone that rests across the top of them. The second reason is that Stonehenge is often considered a place of healing, and I have found the influence felt has had on my life of late very healing.

T said...

Hi Jasmine, I have had felt that is similar, it just will not felt. Sometimes I think it is the moon..got to blame something hey..

Usually it comes down to starting the wet felting with cooler water, then increasing the heat, and a little soap added each time I add some more hot water, not too much soap and not too much heat.

Different breads of wood do react in different ways. Course wool will not felt into soft fine felt like fine wool. Not sure what breed of wool you have, not all that familiar with UK breads. But it should felt with heat, soap, and friction. As i said before though, it is probably the moon....

Jasmine said...

Thank you T :)

I can't blame the moon though, I love her too much.

Tammie Lee said...

Oh my goodness you went through so much making this loving gift! I have no knowledge of felting. I know it is easy to shrink a wool sweater unfortunately. I love the outcome!

yvette said...

the beauty shows the felting doesn't matter.
Different wools as T said is so difficult.
I mix it often with that merino you used for your boots. Kind of sticks together. But as i said....the result is so beautiful!!!!!!!