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Topic: Tutorial: Basic needle-felting Pt2 - Making a small mat  (Read 14914 times)
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GraceOblivious
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« on: September 05, 2005 10:58:48 AM »

Needle Felting  Pt 2 the adventure continues -  making a small flat mat, sampler, mug rug, doily, picture, etc


This is so picture heavy am started  a new topic so hopefully will load faster.  Please consult Needle Felting Tutorial for basics  regarding supplies & work area.  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=51271.0


Needle felting a flat piece can result in a truly flat surface, however it can also be a relatively flat piece with high relief in the design.  The flat technique shown here is also a basis for making larger pieces such as  hats, seat cushions, etc.  I have as is my bent - showen it in extreme detail - hopefully not entirely boring detail.

The first sampler from my hands, made it following suggestions in Ayala Talpus book.  Just so you know from whence I came. 


In the several years since then, have worked out my own style - Ayala Talpus basic tenet  that the fiber felts in the direction it is moved by the needle,  RULES my work.  I also use the wet felters layering of fiber in cross directions to achieve a dense tight felt.


Making a small mat/ sampler

Gather a variety of fibers -- batt, roving, yarns  Hopefully the result will be eye appealing but it can also just be a test piece to experiment with how various fibers respond to the needle and how the fibers work together.  Do the needling on a foam cushion.

This example uses generic ivory batt for the base.  Roving can be used for the base.

Gently pull fiber into strips - In the center of your foam cushion work space, lay strips lengthwise to form a rectangle or square, overlap strips slightly, 


add a second  layer on top of the first, place these strips perpendicular to the first layer strips.


Start needling with needle at 90 degree angle to the fiber, move about in an all over fashion to adhere the fibers together and begin the felting process.  Needle just deep enough to go through the wool piece, not into the foam pad.

It can be done with a single needle,  if you have a multi-needle tool the process goes faster


The piece will start to firm up in the center, with the edges a bit wispy.  Pull the edges up and lay on top of the piece. Needle from top; also begin to needle sides.  Remember you can put the needle in at any angle any direction, as long as you bring it out at the same angle and direction.  Straight in -straight out - no twists, or  sidewise moves of the needle tip once it enters the fiber piece.


This method gives a thinner center and a sort of frame to the edge.  At this point begin shaping and firming the edge.  Using directional needle strokes into the edges.


By now the bottom of the wool piece is starting to stick to the foam cushion.  Ease up one edge and


continue  gently easing  the piece away from the cushion - keeping fingers near the area being lifted so the piece does not stretch out of shape from pulling.


Turn the piece over and needle from the other side.   Work on firming the piece with a circular pattern and needle angled toward the center - this pushes the wool to the center and you may see the piece shrinking in size before your eyes as you continue in ever expanding outward circles with your needling.


Hold the piece up to a light - look for even density of the felting wool -- if the light shines through more brightly ah ha! you have identified a thin spot -- you want it even so to get the whole piece to the same density add a patch of fiber to thin spots.


Patches will totally blend into the piece if the patch is thicker in the center and tapers off to wisps at the edges.  Needle from the center of the patch to the edges  as you blend the edges, start working the needle at very shallowangles.




When the center has an even density and the edge is firmer and thicker the piece is ready to begin the decorative component -- Think of the initial steps as preparing the canvas.  Lay a fluffy portion of fiber in the center- this is like primer paint.  If you want dimension and texture to the piece you can begin creating that now. 


Needle pokes in one spot will give a hole, needle pokes repeated along a line will give an indentation.  If you have chosen to do a sampler, just play with making holes and lines.  You can  go back and needle surrounding areas until the piece is even on the surface, if you wish to work from a truly flat piece.


Again if you are just playing - you can take strands of roving of various widths and poke them into the piece - noting how they adhere.  Do the same with yarns.  Try writing your name; or mug rug or test; with yarn, poking that into the piece.  You will find it doesn't work well to lay it out the word and poke it.  You may want to think of the yarn as ink that needs to flow along as you move the needle - try it - lay a line of yarn and see what happens when you poke it in from one end to the other.  now hold the yarn in one hand, and lead it just a little,  as you poke the yarn into the piece with the needle in your other hand.

Sometimes the design migrates as you work the piece  -- In this one

I started thinking of making a face -- needling holes for the eyes and a line for nose and mouth (may not be real clear in the photo)


It did not look much like a face - I saw a tree - so took some heavy yarn and laid it out for a trunk with branches.  Poked that in - hey nice



thought cherry blossoms - added some wispy bits of pink roving  - Ok but needed leaves



added green roving - Yuck!!!!!!  getting worse.


Ah ha!!  turned it upside down - nice pumpkin starting ---- just kept adding bits of yarn and roving and shaping with needling.  Narrowed the was trunk now stem by holding needle at a shallow angle and tapping it from edge of stem toward center - that pushed the fiber inward.  Added a leaf with the thick green yarn - pulled apart a strand of black yarn to get a thin strip to make veins in the leaf.



Did not have any orange roving out - but had some orange yarn -- outlined the pumpkin in the orange yarn, then destroyed the yarn by pulling it apart with an ordinary hair comb.  Then carded it to a roving like consistency by putting the pieces in a cat slicker brush and pulling another slicker brush over the first.  (Real wool carders are expensive, but for small jobs in needle felting - like smoothing tangled roving or destructing yarn the pet brushes work well).


Keep playing with the fiber and needling until you feel the piece is done.  You can make the surface totally even and flat, or you can leave texture as has been done with this one.  Make it as soft or as firm as YOU want  considering your fiber - some fiber will never felt stiffly.  However, be aware the looser the felt the easier it snags and pills.  A denser piece usually is more durable.


The color does come through to the wrong side - this just shows you have the color well locked into the piece.


Mug Rug DONE!!!!

***** Oh one thing to note - many pets are attracted to needle felted wool pieces, so observe your animals reactions- if they are prone to making a meal of wool felted pieces that is not so good, for your work or for the animals tummy.- thus place functional and decorative felted pieces with care. 

On the other hand they may feel like they are snuggling up to a lamb and take over  a larger piece such as the seat, cushion or chair  . like my friends cat Bob with this chair I traded her (I got a fab painting, she got a needle felted chair).  Bob is content!!!!!!!!

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tranquility_pastures/detail?.dir=/mail&.dnm=24f8.jpg&.src=ph

In no way do I present this as an end all be all - just sharing the way I work in hopes it helps someone else move along faster in theirs.

 As always comments on ways to do it better, easier, cleaner, or to get better results are welcome.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006 07:30:36 AM by Jane Doe » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Etsy http://www.feltsewcrafty.etsy.com
Zibbet http://www.zibbet.com/aTranquilNook
Blog http://aTranquilNook.blogspot.com/
Oh how I love to Sew and Make felt
corduroy cat
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2005 05:24:43 AM »

whoooa! you needle felted a chair?Huh that is so amazingly cool and it looks beautiful! how much wool did it take and how did you go about it? i have 2 cats who abscond with my felting frequently so i know they'd love one of those. Wink i bet you could sell those for a ton!
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eternallyeve
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2005 05:47:08 AM »

Thanks so much for taking the time to prepare these tutes. I am inspired to learn needle felting but am just working my way up to hunting down the tools and the patience. I love how you have altered your project as your materials dictated, you didn't MAKE it into a face, cause that's not the direction your fleece was heading in. I appreciate letting the materials tell their own story.

Thanks again
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CosmicCranberry
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2005 05:48:52 AM »

OMG! That is AMAZING! I havenever seen something like this done ever!How did u do it?
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GraceOblivious
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2005 06:42:07 AM »

OMG! That is AMAZING! I havenever seen something like this done ever!How did u do it?
whoooa! you needle felted a chair?Huh that is so amazingly cool and it looks beautiful! how much wool did it take and how did you go about it? ...

Thanks so much!!  One poke at a time - it took a couple of months (I'm rather slow), two pounds of batt and over 1 pound of roving.  I'm thinking of turning an old fashioned bamboo ski pole into a felted walking stick for this winter's project.  If I get working on that may take photos and share my tricks.  It did take lots of thought and experimentation for setting up the base -- but the actual needling was much as described in this tutorial.   I did it as a challenge in a local Community Art Council members show - the director challenged members to recon the old and ugly metal folding chairs.  So did it!!! hehe
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Etsy http://www.feltsewcrafty.etsy.com
Zibbet http://www.zibbet.com/aTranquilNook
Blog http://aTranquilNook.blogspot.com/
Oh how I love to Sew and Make felt
corduroy cat
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2005 06:51:23 AM »

yay! hope you won the challenge!!! i'd love to see the walking stick if you choose to try it.
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GraceOblivious
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2005 06:54:10 AM »

Thanks so much for taking the time to prepare these tutes. I am inspired to learn needle felting but am just working my way up to hunting down the tools and the patience. I love how you have altered your project as your materials dictated, you didn't MAKE it into a face, cause that's not the direction your fleece was heading in. I appreciate letting the materials tell their own story.

Thanks again

You are so welcome.  do hope you will gather the tools and give it a whirl.  And do let us know if you liked it or not. 

You know, I find that the more I share, and the more exposure to other's work and chatting/ sharing keeps me enthusiastic and reaching higher.  So am hoping my sharing will encourage others to try NF and for current NF's to comfortably share as well.  For example teamwang's mushrooms lead me into tthinking up and doing the pig applique, so while I did not copy her work, her work inspired me in creating a piece that was fun.  Now I'm thinking of making a scarf with the pigs on the ends.  We'll see.

Thanks so much for your very kind works.  It means so much!!  Hugs.
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Etsy http://www.feltsewcrafty.etsy.com
Zibbet http://www.zibbet.com/aTranquilNook
Blog http://aTranquilNook.blogspot.com/
Oh how I love to Sew and Make felt
mememom
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2005 07:11:35 AM »

MORE!   MORE!   MORE!!

What an inspiration you are!!  I am so happy to have found this site and kindred spirit!! That chair is amazing as all of your tutorials...

I can't thank you enough for all the encouragement and enthusiasm...

mememom
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GraceOblivious
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2005 10:44:10 AM »

MORE!   MORE!   MORE!! ......
mememom

Great to see you posting!  And what an honor that you made your first post here!  Yipee.  Thanks for the kind words .

And, if you want to see more........  well I posted cushions for teamwang's cats in completed projects,
now mememom ,  bet there are lots of us who would like to hear about your fulled sweater recons and the pet beds.  Grin

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Etsy http://www.feltsewcrafty.etsy.com
Zibbet http://www.zibbet.com/aTranquilNook
Blog http://aTranquilNook.blogspot.com/
Oh how I love to Sew and Make felt
mayerlove
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2005 12:29:10 PM »

you are once again awesome. and thanks.

ps. i'm working on your package as i speak (type) Wink
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