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Topic: Tutorial: trad. Mongolian wet-felting technique mixed with modern  (Read 33681 times)
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Jane Doe
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« on: October 03, 2005 09:55:39 AM »

Lay out your fiber by pulling tufts from your wool tops and laying the fiber next to each other. When laying the second row, ensure that the fiber overlaps the first row by around a half



Continue to lay at least 3 layers on top of each other to give the felt strength.
Lay each layer at 90degrees to the layer beneath it. If you look closely at the below pic, you can see the different directions of each layer peeking through at the edges.
If your felt is purely decorative, you could get away with laying only two layers. If you're making boots etc, you will want to lay more than three.
Remember, if you use different colours for each layer, they will show through and blend in the final layer (this can be seen in later pics)
Put your design on top



Lay your work onto whatever fabric you are using to felt onto.
Traditionally, the Mongolians felted their felt on the old felt they were replacing. My favorite method is to use a matchstick blind. Essentially it's the same as a really big sushi mat which also can be used for very little items. This matchstick blind was bought at a hardware store for $20.
Other materials you could use include terry-toweling or bubble wrap (although less durable). Here my group wanted to practice the method of rugmaking while still making our own individual squares to take home so we put our squares together.
Keep an eye on the square with the 3 yellow, green, and red star bursts on it.



Using hot water and soap (or any other agent to disturb the ph level eg vinegar or acid), wet the wool.
To distribute the water + soap mixture, we used a sports bottle (as seen in a later pic)
Carefully roll the wool up into the matchstick blind (or whatever else you might be using)



Tie the roll together with some spare fabric strips, and roll the package back and forth
At the beginning, don't do this for too long. The wool is still fairly loose and may begin to felt into the matchstick blind.



Unroll the package and see how your felt is beginning to develop.
Your felt should actally look a little skewed at this point, as it's only been felted in one direction.
Each time you view the felt, it should be turned 90degrees, or flipped upside down so that the whole felt is made evenly.
Re-wet the felt with hot water + soap and roll it back up again.

If the wool is laying flat and is starting to stick well together, you can be a little more vigorous with it.



As before, tie the package together with the fabric strips.
If you choose to roll using the team method as pictured below, or you're felting on the ground, wrap the package in calico, or another fabric to protect the felt from getting dirty.
Tie using more fabric strips.
In the method pictured, the leader holds a loop of rope and slowly pulls the top of the loop toward them while walking backwards, causing the package to roll toward the leader.
The team (in unison) steps on and off the package as it rolls like such: Left foot on the package, left foot on the ground. Right foot on the package, right foot on the ground. There are a number of felting songs that the Mongolian people sing while felting to keep them in time. Have the leader keep the team in time by either chanting 'left, step. right, step' or by leading a song. We had heaps of fun singing
Remember to check on your felt every 5mins or so and flip + turn the felt as needed



When the felt seems strong, take it off the matchstick blind to squish + saturate the felt.
You can use a large bucket as pictured here or if your felt is too big, a bathtub or shower base works well too. If the felt is small, this can be done with your hands, kneading the felt as if you're making bread.



The next part is to shock the fibres. This is done by slamming the felt into a hard object. Depending on it's size you can throw the felt as hard as you can onto the ground, pick it up and repeat, or hold one edge and whack the felt onto a tree, or jump hard onto the flat felt, or as we're doing here pair up and whack the felt onto the ground.
The felt should shrink significantly in this stage and become much more hard and durable.
I'm always surprised that wet felting can make such delicate items despite it's brutal treatment when being made!



This last step is to smooth the felt out and remove the last excess of water.
Lay the felt out and starting at one edge, roll the felt onto a pole. Broom handles work well.
Just as before, rotate + flip the felt periodically to ensure that it's even



.....And voila! Felt!
Look at the square with the 3 yellow, green, and red star bursts on it. Because the middle layer was red, the fibres have mixed with the white to color the background of the felt pink with a white glow.
The felt should take a day or so to dry properly.
After admiring our felt, we cut the squares into our separate projects


Phew this took a while to type up!
Feel free to ask questions or pick up on my errors.
Hopefully this helps a few people out Smiley
« Last Edit: February 07, 2007 11:51:51 PM by Jane Doe » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Haylie
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2005 09:57:43 AM »

awesome!  Grin
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2005 04:13:07 AM »

I love that, and GREAT directions. Looks like tons of fun too.
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2005 05:00:58 AM »

Oh Jane Doe!!!!!!!  Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful.  Method, photos, words.  Love the team approach.  Everyone looks so happy, and the felt is awesome.  You really inspire me to try wet felting.
Thank you so much!!!!!!
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2005 05:46:04 AM »

That looks like so much fun! And the end result is gorgeous as well! I really want to try this.
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2005 10:41:33 AM »

wowowow Jane Doe, AMAZING!!!  awesome tutorial, awesome pics and awesome felt! This technique comes in my felting book and it was looking so hard and confusing that I could not imagine to try it, but you make it look so possible and real! (you should so write your own felting book and get it published) it must have been taking forever to do it, but the team looks like having lots of fun so it is good  Cheesy and the resulting felt turned out fantastic, wonderful work on both the tutorial and the felt! thanks for posting it!
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corduroy cat
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2005 06:12:36 AM »

awhhh i want a team of felting friends!!
so it's ok to cut the felt once it's dry? i've always heard not to cut the fibers cause it destroys them, is it different in wet felting?
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2005 03:24:25 PM »

i understand most of it (i think) except for two things (but dont worry, its not cause of your tut, its just because this is only my second time on the felting page Tongue)
1. wool tufts....how do you do this? do you just pull the wool out or something?
2. can i do wet felting alone? or do i need a team?
so, yeh, i hope to get to do this soon! do you know of any good tuts for hats?

much love
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2005 04:34:41 PM »

awhhh i want a team of felting friends!!
so it's ok to cut the felt once it's dry? i've always heard not to cut the fibers cause it destroys them, is it different in wet felting?

Well I haven't tried it yet, but one of the girls I met here, said that she's held felting parties before. Her favourite was a baby shower she hosted for her best friend. They did pretty much what we did here, except with more unity in design and color, and they used fabric and other bits and pieces felted in.
There were 8 close friends at the baby shower, and she showed each of them how to lay the fibre etc. They each made a square like we did, and they spent the day felting, singing, and drinking champers. Cheesy
When they were finished, the resulting blanket was a gift for the baby!

Usually I'm a lone felter too. I drove down the coast a while to participate in a weekend felting class and that's where the pics are from.
We had a ball!
I am at UNI hoping to be a school teacher and thought pics might come in handy if I ever want to teach this to children

As fas as cutting the felt, it doesn't leave edges that are as nice as felted edges. I don't think I've ever had a reason to cut my fibre or felt except for this piece so I don't really know!
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2005 05:50:34 PM »

i understand most of it (i think) except for two things (but dont worry, its not cause of your tut, its just because this is only my second time on the felting page Tongue)
Although tutorials are a good place to start, don't forget to also have a look through what other people have posted in the completed projects section. Often by viewing what someone else has made, some of the theory you already know will make a whole lot more sense.
Also, often people give hints on how they made their item.


1. wool tufts....how do you do this? do you just pull the wool out or something?
2. can i do wet felting alone? or do i need a team?
so, yeh, i hope to get to do this soon! do you know of any good tuts for hats?

I know you want to do 3d felt and hats etc, but I think you're aiming a bit high for your first project!
Try making a piece of flat felt first.

First question:
when you buy wool for felting, it looks like the purple and yellow pieces near my hand, except much longer. You can buy the wool on ebay or from a spinning store.
Think of a sheep and how long it's hairs are. Depending on the breed, the hairs are about as long as your fingers. When your supplier makes this the wool into long pieces (Eg the picture) the hairs are overlappedat different points. So to make the wool 'tufts', you simply pull the tip of the wool length and the hairs seporate from the length.



Second question:
Yes you can do wet felting alone. There are many ways to wet felt, this tutorial is just one method.

The really basic formula to wet felting is: wool + disturb the ph + water + friction + heat. 
Be creative. Do what you like and as long as these 5 things are present, you'll get felt.

If you want to follow this tutorial alone, when it comes to rolling the felt you can do it by putting the package on a sturdy surface, and roll it back and forth with your hands like a rolling pin.

Hope this makes sense, I tried to use as little jargon as possible
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2005 07:54:53 PM »

As usual, Jane Doe, is right on target.  Oooh, wish I had your good sense and clarity. 

For those who might like to see wet felting in action take a look at  Carol Marston's online slide show
http://www.hatshapers.com/   scroll  down to the botton of the page and enjoy.

Also, don't overlook your local  library;  check out local fiber groups- there are more than one might think.

Like Jane said, there are many ways, so check out a variety and choose one that suits you.

Best wishes on a fun adventure.
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2005 10:10:11 PM »

sorry, but it's late here... Chile, i don't want to write in english...  Embarrassed

Yo aca hace alrededor  de 2 meses descubri el fieltro (felt) empece a investigar, cuando ya entendi la tecnica trate de hacer fieltro, pero no me resulto...  Cry, me consegui lana de oveja, no peinada como la que ustedes usan... y en verdad no se si puedo o no usarla finalmente para fieltro o mejor me dedico a las bolitas de fieltro... Huh

 i really hope someone can understand spanish.... Tongue

Verito

tomorrow i can post my pictures...

bye and good night  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2005 07:26:18 AM »

Hola Verito, que tal

 Embarrassed sorry to say that is about the extent of my Spanish except for  - respire profundo y tosa (I was a hospital nurse at one point in my life)

hopefully someone is more Spanish literate than I and can help you.

Welcome!
Grace
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2005 08:03:38 AM »

thank you Grace....

respire profundo y tosa esta bien... it's ok...

well...like 1 month ago i try to make felt, like you show here (mongolian technique or something..) but i can't... i thought was because my yarn it's very natural and it is not "brushed" (carded?) so... i push strongly my mat but i never make felt, i have very much holes... a lot!  Undecided

here are my pictures http://espanol.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/veconsta/slideshow2?.dir=/c406&.beg=0&.src=ph

that's it...  Cry i don't know wath to do... yesterday i saw a brush, like dog brush... and maybe i can do something like that...

i hope you can help me... i am little bit obsesed whit felt...  Roll Eyes  Roll Eyes

Verito
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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2005 05:52:46 AM »

Hola Verito, 

You are not alone, Meg had a similar problem http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=42672.0

You will get a better answer when Jane Doe is able to get back here - she is more experienced in wet felting.

Meanwhile, I am wondering if your fiber felted too fast.  Perhaps laying it out in thinner pieces (tufts), work it a bit, turn it,  work it some more.  Work gently.  Use less pressure, less force in the rolling. 

Combing it with the dog brush may help you get a smoother lay out of fiber too.  Good idea.  You would still want to break the long strands into tufts and overlap and add another layer crosswise as Jane shows. The ovelap and multiple thin cross layers help the fibers grab each other evenly.

If your fiber is very raw (not much processed) is it clean? free of dirt and lanolin?  It has color so it looks as though it was washed and dyed.  So this is probably not the problem.

Best wishes,
Grace
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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2005 03:46:21 PM »

I've been told in the past that I shouldn't cut felt for the reason that it gives a very hard edge, but I have anyway - being relatively new to felting, I'm trying lots of things - and I've found that if I want to make a cut, I should do it before it's really felted. Then I continue felting it and the edges seem to round themselves off OK. It's not for felt purists I guess. Also, I cut felt when making felt cut outs from pre felt and they seem to felt into bigger felt pieces fine.
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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2005 04:54:24 PM »

thank you Grace....

respire profundo y tosa esta bien... it's ok...

well...like 1 month ago i try to make felt, like you show here (mongolian technique or something..) but i can't... i thought was because my yarn it's very natural and it is not "brushed" (carded?) so... i push strongly my mat but i never make felt, i have very much holes... a lot!  Undecided

here are my pictures http://espanol.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/veconsta/slideshow2?.dir=/c406&.beg=0&.src=ph

that's it...  Cry i don't know wath to do... yesterday i saw a brush, like dog brush... and maybe i can do something like that...

i hope you can help me... i am little bit obsesed whit felt...  Roll Eyes  Roll Eyes

Verito


Hi Verito,

Do you have any pics of the wool you used for felting with? From your pics + description it's a little hard to figure out what went wrong with your felt, but I have a strong feeling it has to do with your wool.

Just to clarify, did it look like either of these?


You described what you used as yarn that's very natural and it is not "brushed" (carded?) With what you had, were you able to lay the fibres out flat like this?



I'll wait for your answers to these + grace's questions till I can say for sure what went wrong. We will get to the bottom of this!  Cheesy

Hola Verito, 

You are not alone, Meg had a similar problem http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=42672.0

I thing what happened to Meg's work is that the washing machine was simply to harsh and violent on her little needle-felted creatures.  I've tried using the washing machine to felt my dreads and even they semi-destroyed in the machine.
The only luck I've had with using the washing machine, is by tying the felt into the package as in the tutorial (obviously smaller that the tutorial) and putting it into the machine, and checking + turning every few minutes or so. Although it takes less strain on your hands, the felt isn't as delicate or even.

What I've done with little needle-felted items like megs, is to put a pot of boiling water on the stove, put a wire mesh ontop, and set my item in the steam.
I'm only just learning needle-felting, but steaming worked for me!
Can't share the items I made just yet, as they're for a swap
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Verrito
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2005 01:50:46 PM »

thank you Jane...

ok, my wool was this... http://espanol.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/veconsta/detail?.dir=/c406&.dnm=b6f3.jpg&.src=ph

it's not like your picture with yellow fibres, and I just can make felt balls...  Undecided  Undecided, I really want to learn to make felt, with a wet processes or dry.

When I try 1 month ago, i take the wool and i stretch them...
"With what you had, were you able to lay the fibres out flat like this?"...no, i try but wasn't like that, i used 6 layers...  Embarrassed  Embarrassed

ok, I wait for your comments...

thank you again...

Verito
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2005 09:17:14 AM »

Hi Verrito,

Veo que tu foto muestra lana pura no tratada y creo saber cual es el problema y es el mismo del que tu sospechas:

it seems to me that the problem is that the wool is not carded. The one I get is carded and comes in very long and soft fibers (I use mostly alpine wool and merino wool) and I can lay them with no problem. The one from your pic looks similar to the green one from this page (under the Shetland Fibers description):

http://www.texere.co.uk/cgi-bin/SHPLoader.cgi?yarns.php?category=16&subcategory=1

And on the description for that kind of wook, it says: 'comb this fibers to make colorful, rich felt'. So I think that the problem with the wool you have could be on the not-combed factor.

But don't give up! I get sometimes some alpine wool that is a little rougher than the normal and I can not wet-felt it correctly, but I can needle-felt it easy, so for sure you can do something with the wool. Or is there a way in which you can comb it by yourself? I have never done it, but maybe that could work?
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Verrito
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2005 01:44:59 PM »

Thank you CraftyZary, I will try with the dog brush, maybe works...  Grin Grin, i hope...

And... i don't know if I can needle-felt it, because here in chile i never see the tools, can i do that with other things??  Undecided Huh

thak you all...  Kiss  Kiss

Verrito
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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2005 11:10:42 AM »

Jane- Thanks so much for the wonderful tut on mongolian felting. Theres something about it being Mongolian that speaks to me. Call me a culture geek.  Smiley
Now - I have never done any of this before but I am thinking that this would be a great thing to do with my honey as a great weekend project.
I also happened to land some unidentified wool roving the other day and Teamwang suggested I check this out before i send it all away to her.  Wink
I am going to just wing it with what i've got i think. should be fun. Now to my questions.
You mentioned that you can felt onto another type of fabric or felt. What do you think would happen if i tried that acrylic craft felt as a base? or thick 100% wool felt? Or use it as a middle layer? I guess it wouldnt bind to the other stuff?
I think you also mentioned adding other small things like fabric scraps, etc. Whats the extent of this? Threads, fabric bits, glitters, n' stuff... ?(can you tell i like to push the limits in projects?  Smiley )
I also have lots of heavy duty wool felt and felted sweater scraps...any way i can incorporate these into the project??? what are good fabric types to bind to? I know thin silk was in a project somewhere on here..
I guess where i am going is that i like to try to incorporate as much of my pre-existing materials into a project rather than going out and buying all new. Call me the resourceful and thrifty crafter... I have a huge bag of scraps i cant throw away. lol!  Tongue
I also really want to combine felt and leather. I think there is a SUPER comfy slipper or bootie somewhere out there with those materials.....? Grin
Okay- enough questions outta me. Thanks in advance for indulging my curious side.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2005 02:37:04 PM »

Oh! Another question!  Grin
I looked harder at the roving I have and noticed that one of them is really natural. Beige coloured, and has quite a bit of that lanolin resin on it. Its also been half-assed spun,-eg)spun in sections, tufts in other sections... Can i still use this for wet felting? Or is the lanolin going to affect the process? Or is that good? lol.   Cheesy I know the lanolin is good for your skin.
What about dying it? I wonder if that would affect it? Or maybe not.
Ok i'll shut up now. thanks.
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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2005 05:49:20 AM »


Glad you found the tutorial useful!
This kind of felting is something I'd definitely recommend doing with close friends. It's a bunch of laughs, everyone gets to be creative, it's a bit of a workout, and you're left with a unique cuddly item  Smiley

What do you think would happen if i tried that acrylic craft felt as a base? or thick 100% wool felt? Or use it as a middle layer? I guess it wouldn’t bind to the other stuff?

I haven't tried adding craft felt to wet felt as yet. My first instincts when reading your post, were that it wouldn't work.
 Felt shrinks a huge amount while being made, and when one includes fabric, it all 'bunches up' by the time you've got your final product.
Eg, the band on my hat was made from a loose weave material.
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=51908.0
So I would have thought that if you tried to wet felt on to craft felt, it would also bunch up rather than shrink further.
 HoweverCaedara has made these wet felted items and from what I understand, she has said that she made the spots in the first items out of craft felt and incorporated them into her wet felt work.
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=63055.0
So in closing, I'm not sure anymore!

I think you also mentioned adding other small things like fabric scraps, etc. Whats the extent of this? Threads, fabric bits, glitters, n' stuff... ?(can you tell i like to push the limits in projects?  Smiley )

As far as adding other media into felt, the only criteria is that there must be some way the wool can enmesh itself to the item. If the item doesn't have many places the wool can 'get into it', the harder it is to felt it in.
The more easy items include loose weave fabric + lace. The wool can work it's way through the tiny holes in the fabric and become solid. Threads are also easy. You can simply lay them onto of your work and the wool will hold onto them. It just takes a little more care that you don't pull the threads off during the felting process.
I have heard of someone felting a toy car into their work by working in one wheel into the fibres.
But something like that is not for the feint hearted! Wink
Leather doesn't really have any places that the wool could catch and take hold of. If you made yourself a kind of 'leather lace' by punching lots of holes into it, it might work, but I strongly doubt it.
You'll probably do better sewing finished felt to the leather.

I looked harder at the roving I have and noticed that one of them is really natural. Beige coloured, and has quite a bit of that lanolin resin on it. Its also been half-assed spun,-eg) spun in sections, tufts in other sections...

Stick to clean carded roving when you can. The lanolin will make it harder to felt with.
The fact that it's a little 'spun' shouldn't cause problem, just the lanolin.

It'll be interesting to see what you come up with for the felt swap!  Wink
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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2005 10:26:50 AM »

Thanks Jane-
I am a sucker for experimentation, so if I see a project, I am always compelled to stretch the limits. Usually ends up being a learning experience in messiness.  Grin
I tried something simple last night- and used the lanolin coated wool for some felt beads. It worked pretty well for a first try, and even added a little frayed wool for added colour.
I plan on doing the big wet felting project this weekend with my man- he's totally game for it. I think he's more excited than i am. lol.
Will let you know how it works. Need to find a decent replacement for the bamboo screen..I have a few wee sushi mats.. haha.
Anyhoo- thanks again and am really excited for the felt swap. wee!!!
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caedara
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2005 12:21:19 PM »

Quote
Caedara has made these wet felted items and from what I understand, she has said that she made the spots in the first items out of craft felt and incorporated them into her wet felt work.
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=63055.0

I have to correct that. I felted the dots first (out of normal wool roving). They are not just cut out of fuzzy felt. And then I used the prefelted dots in my feltscarf & bag. I dont think craft felt will work.

Have fun on the weekend!
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Jane Doe
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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2005 12:49:39 PM »


I have to correct that. I felted the dots first (out of normal wool roving). They are not just cut out of fuzzy felt. And then I used the prefelted dots in my feltscarf & bag. I dont think craft felt will work.


You sure rocked my felting world when I thought you had said the circles and shapes were made from craft felt!
I couldn't concieve how you could wet felt it so neatly and without any bumps
hehe, mystery solved  Wink

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Verrito
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2006 09:01:38 PM »

today was my second class about wet felting...

I am so happy!!!!!  Grin  Grin  Grin Grin Grin Grin

i am so proud of me, and was so fun!! Tongue

check my pictures in my blog

http://conmismanos.blogspot.com

thanks for all your help... was so good, because i feel a support on you...  Wink
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Hay un tiempo para cada cosa y un momento para hacerla bajo el cielo...♥♥

My shop DisueÑos http://disuegnos.etsy.com
Jane Doe
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« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2006 10:44:11 PM »

Thanks Verrito

This swatch looks great Smiley
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/6713/2068/1600/taller%2023.1.jpg
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GraceOblivious
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« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2006 12:56:00 AM »

Well done Vettito!  The pictures on your blog tell a wonderful tale of feltmaking.  Thanks.  So pleased  you found classes, you have had such a great desire to make felt.  Your persistance has been well rewarded.
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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
Verrito
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2006 10:03:23 AM »

Thanks you!....

I'm happy... veru happy...

That mat  is from Dagi, one of my classmate... it's beautiful her job.  Wink

thanks again...  Grin Grin



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Hay un tiempo para cada cosa y un momento para hacerla bajo el cielo...♥♥

My shop DisueÑos http://disuegnos.etsy.com
knitster88
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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2006 09:11:50 PM »

made my first needle felted item today so now i need to do wet. my question is where is a good place to find the matt you used, and what kind of names would i be looking for?
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Look what youve done to me now, youve made me perfect
Jane Doe
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« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2006 07:14:41 AM »

made my first needle felted item today so now i need to do wet. my question is where is a good place to find the matt you used, and what kind of names would i be looking for?

The mat I used here is a matchstick blind.
But for a small project a sushi mat will do fine  Smiley
Good luck with your wet felting!

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Johanino
« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2006 02:02:34 PM »

Just did my first wet felted piece off this. I used bubble wrap. Layered it properly (did the same colour all the way through). it was only wee (about 3" sq) but after a disaster trying to wet felt a beret (being new to wet felting) the other weekend this was fab.....it actually worked  Smiley.

I now accept hat making is a long way off but one day I'll get there!

Tx for this....bubble wrap is fine for really diddy pieces (makes foursided shapes and cut into bookmarks. I aim to needle felt onto them after this).

Jo
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PurpleHeather
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2012 10:04:16 AM »

Thank you for sharing this awesome tutorial. I made my first piece of felt yesterday, and loved it so much I made 4 more. Pretty soon I am going to have lots of lovely felt for embroidering into, as well as muscles like Popeye!
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