Posted by Peg in South Carolina
The online fiber guild that I belong to, The Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers, has various fiber workshops during the year. This month, the workshop is on felting. Felting is something I have been curious about for a long time. I have been especially curious about it since I wove and fulled a blanket several years ago. What the fulling did to the blanket was quite extraordinary. It produced a soft fabric with a bit of a halo. There was no mohair in the fiber. And the fulling totally obscured the seaming I had to do.
Fulling, of course, is not felting. But it could be considered the early stages of felting. So when this workshop was offered I jumped at it. And I learned........
I learned that I am not a felter.
This learning did not occur because of the rather poor piece of felt I produced. I did get it to felt satisfactorily. But looking at the underside reveals the unevenness with which I applied the layers of tops. To get that right takes only practice.
But what I really didn't like was the top layer, which you see in the photo. Over the three white layers I decided to put on a bit of multi-colored blue fiber from another fine coated breed. I laid this top layer on thinly because I though I would try for a transparent kind of effect. Well, I don't like it at all. There is just too much contrast between the white of the base layers and the blue of the final layer. Also, that top layer, though it seems quite secure, still seems like a top layer because it didn't really fuse with the merino layers as I had hoped. Perhaps I needed to work harder or longer. But I was tired.
Anyway, it is not the result I got which discouraged me. I just didn't particularly enjoy the process.
I went to my favorite felting book to share it with you. It is this book which really encouraged me to do the workshop. When I opened it, the pages fell open to the chapter on cobweb felt, and there it was. There was the picture of what I had done! I didn't care for it in that picture either..........
The book, by the way, is by Sheila Smith and is called Felt to Stitch: Creative Felting for Textile Artists. Go here to learn more about the book. And if you have the book, the page number for the cobweb picture is page 113.
The workshop is not over; it runs for the entire month of September. I may try more. I may try machine embroidering this piece. I am glad I made this little piece of felt. Sometimes a person has to try something new just to rev up the brain; just to learn that the path he is temporarily leaving is merely a detour; just to learn to appreciate more fully the work of other fiber artists.