Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Felting Made Easy ... Well, Sort of!

The week of July 4th, I experimented a bit with a kit the owner of our local yarn store gave me. She had gotten it at a convention she had attended. It was the newest thing in wet felting. It's called ArtFelt!
Well, the kit had a silent DVD with instructions, some merino roving dyed in various colors, some merino pencil roving in various colors ... and the thing that made the kit worthwhile ... a large piece of EasyFelt paper.

If you've ever wet felted anything, you know your hands get dish-panny very quickly. The combination of hot water and detergent as you rub your project back and forth on bumpy surfaces really takes a toll. Well, this revolutionary product allows you to design on the special paper ... punching the fiber lightly into it with felting needles. Then, all you do is saturate it with water, roll it in plastic wrap (then some pantyhose) and throw it in your dryer! In just a few minutes (I found 10-20, although they say it can be as long as 45) ... take it out of the dryer and Voila! You have a felted object!

Sounds great right? Well, it is interesting. Personally, I don't feel I have as much control over what the design will be as I do when I knit and felt, but then, wet felting is an entirely different medium, anyhow, I suppose.

After I did a bag with their materials, I tried my own roving. It's just Blue-Faced Leicester (yes, from the same stash I've had for a year) and I have to say, it worked just as well.

I then was determined to find a similar paper product. It feels just like embroidery stabilizer, only maybe a little thicker. I found some water-soluble, fabric-like stabilizer on eBay and gave it a try.

My items didn't come out quite as thick and solid as those made with the original EasyFelt, but they didn't turn out badly, either. I ended up making a few things with my substitute paper ... a strange bag and a couple of coasters. Take a look. Any comments would be most appreciated!

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