WOOLLIE - FELT FLOWER MAKING CLASS
Back in September before I went on holiday to Colorado, Laura at Twist held a class for some of the knitting gang - this involved flat felt making and needle felting and was a fun afternoon. We had all been coveting the felt flowers that Laura had made. I have been meaning to blog about the class ever since.
Step 1 - choose your felt. You need a few different colours 2 or 3 for the flower itself and one for the stem. We were using merino and corriedale fibre. It was fun to watch as everyone chose their favourite colours, some thinking about real flower types whilst doing it and some just letting their imagination run riot (I was definitely in the former category - I have a "problem" with lots of colours all at once!!!)
Step 2 - make flat felt. We laid out our felt on a layer of bubble wrap (bubbles up the way) which lay on a bamboo mat. You need to spread out the fibre, - three layers are required in all, each one perpendicular to the previous one. Once the base layer is laid out we had to put some other little bits of fibre onto the top layer to create definition between future petals.
Step 3 - once you are happy with the layers, you sprinkle soapy water (Ecover Washing Up Liquid mixed with water is always good but you can also buy soap specially made for making felt) onto your fibre , place a second layer of bubble wrap on the top, cover in soapy water and start to rub (on the bubble wrap), very gently at first and once the fibre starts to adhere you can be a little more vigorous. Once the fibre is "sticky" i.e. you lift a small piece of fibre and it doesn't come off and the fibre below sort of follows) you can roll the fibre in the bubble/bamboo mat and roll 120 times, turning the mat 2 or 3 times during the process. Perhaps you don't need quite as much soap as Laurence!!!
Step 4 - squeeze the water out - it's a little like milking a cow!
Step 5 - using scissors you can shape the piece - cutting petals or just tidying the edges and then leave it to dry.
Step 6 - time to start making the stem. Using corriedale fibre because it needle felts better than merino fibre and a piece of wire. Take long strands of fibre and insert a strong piece of wire into the fibre. The stem making process is part wet felt making and part needle felting. Wet the fibre and roll in bubble wrap until the fibre starts to adhere to itself (leaving some of the fibre loose - about 15 cm of wire uncovered to attach the stem to the flower. Then it's time to start needle felting - ouch, ouch, ouch - no not your fingers, just the fibre - until the stem is the shape you want.
Step 7 - Time to attach the stem to the flower. Pierce a hole in the centre of the flower and push the wire through. Separate the loose fibre into a number of strands and needle felt them to the back of the flower.
Step 8 - Needle felt some fibre round the stamen - and attach some bag ties to make additional stamen and then needlefelt fibre round them too! This was probably the hardest part of the whole process and the one that everybody found the most infuriating.
But the finished process is great! They have a whole vase full of different flowers in Twist and they look amazing. Laura has even needle felted a bumble bee onto on of the flowers!