Thursday, 26 April 2018

Felting Workshop

Yesterday, Jen1, Barb, Jeanette and I attended a felting workshop at the Artisans Centre in Peterborough. The class was lead by Christianna Ferguson, a fibre artist from Lakefield.

Our goal was to create a felted purse similar to this:

Christianna provided us with the 'resist' which was the pattern for our felted bag, bubble wrap, tulle, a pool noodle, soap, water, the fine merino rovings, and a squirt bottle.

First we selected the main colour of our bag, then on the towel covered by the bubblewrap with the bubbles up, we began pulling fibres from the rovings and laying them horizontally until the resist was completely covered with a bit of overlap on the edges,

we covered it in tulle and wet it with the soapy water. The tulle just holds everything in place while the piece is wetted.

After carefully peeling the tulle away, we then we flipped the resist and wet fibres over and did the same thing on the other side. We repeated that whole process again, this time laying the fibres vertically, then a third time laying them horizontally again, making sure the edges were folded over.

The next step was to lay the resist for the flap down about 3cm from the top and lay the fibres as on the rest of the bag for a total of 3 layers without flipping the bag over this time. Then we selected pieces of silk to lay on top of our felting, making sure the silk didn't overlap. Then I put some pieces of roving over the edges of the silk to delineate the different areas - like sashing on a quilt.

After doing that on one side, I flipped it over and added the silk squares to the other side.
Next came the felting process. We put a sheet of thin plastic over the bag, soaped and wet our hands and rubbed the bag through the plastic for about 20 minutes on each side. This process began the felting which anchored the silk to the fibres below.

Once that was done we rolled our projects in bubble wrap and our towel and rolled it, first one way, then another. This process began the fulling which would shrink our projects down about 20% in each direction.
No silk on the inside of the flap
We then cut the top of our bag creating the opening and releasing the resist inside. At this point, the felting was completed and the fulling would begin.

We then cut small holes in the two tabs and rubbed the areas around them in order to create an opening for the leather strap which we would put on after everything was dry.

We then rolled the bag upon itself in every direction, continuing to full it until it was pretty close to the bag Christianne had as a sample for us to see.
Ready to take home
We got through most of the steps by going overtime by about 45 minutes.
Jeanette, Barb with her and Jen's bag, and me
Jen's cool bag. She used sequinned silk for a bit of 'bling'
Back at home, I soaked my bag in vinegar and water to remove all the soap that was used in the process, then rinsed with water to remove the vinegar. I tossed it in the washer to spin a lot of the water out of it. I then shaped it and have left it to dry. That will probably take a couple of days. After which I'll attach the strap with the rivets Christianne provided us. Then I'll cut a buttonhole to fit the coordinating button that Barb gave me and I'll be finished.

Tomorrow Barb, Jeanette and I are meeting at Kim's stitchery shop to select our threads for the online Hardanger project the four of us (including Jen1) will be working on.

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