Tag Archives: wet felting

More felted vases

Last month I made my first attempts at felting around glass vases.  I didn’t think they were too bad for a first try, although the square one didn’t make me very happy.

Yesterday and today I continued my journey and am getting much better at creating a pattern for the resist that is closer to the correct size.

I dyed the tall one from last month.   The spiky top made me think of flames, so I used Kool-Aid to complete the fiery look.

orange red vase

Vase on fire

The color is more vivid in real life.  It is about 7.5 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter at the widest point.  The shape of this vase allows the vase to slide out of the alpaca felt covering.

gray with blue stripe vase

Tall and gray

This one is made with gray alpaca fiber with a band of blue dyed around it. It’s about 9.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches in diameter.

white with purple stripes

Curvy

This one’s about 7 inches tall, 4.5 inches in diameter at the widest point. While wet, I sprinkled grape Kool-Aid powder around this one and then squirted vinegar on the powder.  The blue dye ran out of the purple dye for the two-tone effect.  Quite unexpected and unique.

black and white felted vase

Black and white

For this one I used both black and white fiber, no dyeing involved.  It’s about 6 inches tall, 3 inches in diameter.

green and purple felt

Meet in the middle

This one is also made with alpaca fiber that was dyed before it was felted.  It is 8 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter at the widest point.

Since they all have glass inside, they can be used for fresh flowers.  Or they can hold a silk flower arrangement, pencils on your desk or knitting needles.  You can put a battery operated candle in them or just admire them on their own.  I’m planning to take these five vases to Gumball Collective in Minneapolis where they will be for sale.  I can’t wait to see how they are accepted there.

5 vases

The group!

So what do you think?   I would love to hear your thoughts.

Something new

Yes, I have felted many different ways, making many different things, but yesterday I tried something that has been brewing in my mind for quite some time.  Something new.

felted square vase

Felted square vase

I made a pattern – just an oval-ish shaped piece of plastic – and wrapped and felted alpaca fiber around it, removed the plastic, and felted it a bit more.

square vase

Square vase

My sizing was pretty far off as I thought this would fit around a glass jar between a pint and half pint.  But, I really had to stretch it around this square vase which would probably hold more than a quart.   Ooops.  Lesson learned.

Try #2.

felted glass

Felted glass

I made a smaller pattern and tried again.   Again, bigger than I expected, but I was able to felt and full it to fit snugly around this tall glass.  With the glass vase inside, they can be used as a candle holder or as a vase for real or artificial flowers.

lit with a candle

With a candle

Above is in partial darkness with a votive size battery-operated LED ‘candle’ that changes colors.

Purple lite inside

Lit from within

The darker the room, the more the colored light shows through.

tall vase with blue light

Partial light

On the tall one, the inside glass ends where the felt begins to flare out.  The felt is thick enough to stand up on its own, but thin enough for light to shine through.

fuscia light inside

Lit with fuschia

Now that I have succeeded in the basics, I’m thinking of ways to add dyed fiber or make cut-outs in the felt.  I would love to hear what you think of these.  Would you use them as flower vases?  Candle holders?  To hold buttons or other doo-dads?  Or don’t you like them?

A new felting experience

A few weeks back, I took a felting class and attempted my first bird house.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any prictures of the progress.  We used the same basic technique I have used for slippers and cat toys – layering fiber around a piece of plastic.  When the fiber is felted, cut a hole, remove plastic and continue felting and fulling until the object is what you want.  One new thing for the bird house was using an inflatable ball.   The ball was stuffed inside the felted form, then blown up.  The ball then helped support the inside, while the birdhouse was rolled on bubble wrap until it had shrunk to the proper size.  Then the ball could be deflated and pulled back through the hole.  It was really a time saver and helped keep the shape.

I used 2 layers of white alpaca fiber with a layer of coarse wool between.  The wool was for strength.  I’m not sure if it was needed with alpaca.   I would like to make one of just alpaca and compare.  The last layer was the embellishments.  I wanted a very pastel look and put a thin layer of dyed alpaca fiber on the top.  But it felted into the white and nearly dissappeared.  Lesson learned!  The hole is also larger than it should be for a wren house.  I need to get better at felting in just one area.  I haven’t decided if I’ll put it outside next year, so that might not matter. 

felted birdhouse

My birdhouse

Here it is!  After it was dry, I needle felted the colors on it. 

The whole process took several hours to make the birdhouse, so I’m not sure how many I’ll be making.  Some of the students in the class made vases or vessels and they were quite beautiful.  I would like to try them, too. 

So help me decide!  What would you most like to have?  A felted birdhouse?  A felted vase or vessel? 

 

The puzzle answered

I’ve put those little fabric bags I made to good use.  Here’s what I’m doing with them.   I start out with 2 batts of raw alpaca fiber.

Two batts

Two batts

Each batt is one ounce of fiber, carded, but not washed.  They are puffed up and sitting on a chair so you can visualize their size.  I tear the first batt into a dozen or so strips, as if I were to spin it.

fiber ball

One ounce of fiber

I start rolling the fiber into a ball, adding hot soapy water as I go.  Wrapped as tightly as I can, the one ounce of fiber becomes about the size of a very squishy tennis ball.   Each strip gets wrapped around the ball in a different direction than the previous strip so they will felt together. 

fiber ball

Two ounces of fiber

I repeat the process with the second batt of fiber.   Rolling it on the bubble wrap for a little agitation, it is about the size of grapefruit now.  When both batts are completely wrapped onto the ball, I squish it a bunch and roll it around on the bubble wrap and rub it in my hands to get the outside layer felted to the point of it not coming apart when I pinch and pull on the fiber.  Then the ball goes into its very own little bag.

bags of balls

Bags of balls

When all 10 bags are filled with a ball, I close each tightly with a twist tie.

in a washing machine

Agitation

Then the bags all go into hot water in my washing machine.   There is plenty of dish soap in the balls, so I don’t need to add soap.  I start on the gentle cycle and let them agitate, then switch it over to the heavy duty cycle for more agitation.  I stop and check that the twist ties have not come off, but I don’t need to worry about over-felting these.  After they have finished the rinse cycle, I take the balls out of the bags.  Sometimes there are some little fiber tails that did not get felted down, so I trim those off.  The balls then go to the dryer.

dryer ball

Finished

The ball shrinks down a little more in the dryer and comes out about the size of a tennis ball again – a very heavy compact tennis ball.

dryer balls

Dryer balls

There they are!  All ready for a life-time of tumbling in your dryer.  These are my dryer balls!  Made of 100% alpaca fiber, no dyes, no scents, no chemicals to clog your lint trap, no need to use dryer sheets that end up in the landfill!  Your clothes will dry faster (saving you money) and you won’t need fabric softener or dryer sheets (more savings) and you will even help save the environment!  These will last forever.  

I’ve been using 3 balls in a regular sized dryer load and it seems like my clothes are drying faster.  I’ve got a few testers using them, too, so will have more results to report soon.  The balls are even being tested with essential oil injected into the center to scent your clothes.  They are $5 each and will soon be in my online store, but feel free to contact me if you want a set!