Fun with Felt
For many years, I've walked down that aisle in the craft stores where the synthetic felt sheets are sold, for a quarter a piece, grabbing a piece here and there to add to my collection I keep in a clear plastic shoe box. Occasionally I get my shoe box down from my closet shelf to make a small embellishment for a scrapbook layout. It wasn't until the past few months that I discovered felt is much more interesting than just a few basic colors you find in the aisle with pipe cleaners, jingle bells and rolly-polly eyeballs. It can be used to make more sophisticated projects than the flat stars or hearts I had somehow allowed my brain to settle on as the only uses for felt. There are some great ways to combine different types of felt with Fiskars tools to create some projects with a little more sophistication.
The first felt project I want to share is made using sweater felting. This is an interesting concept to me. All those years of nurturing your wool sweaters, gently swishing them around in cold water in your sink to protect them from the ravages of the agitator and hot water in your washing machine? Well today I'm going to tell you to throw caution to the wind. Even better, I'm going to encourage rebellion. It's time to release all that stress and extra work our wool sweaters have brought into our lives. You can do an online search for instructions on sweater felting but basically it's as easy as 1-2-3.
1. Put your sweater in a pillowcase and tie it off. Sweater felting causes a lot of lint to be released into your machine which can damage
2. Add a very small amount of soap and wash the sweater in the hottest water your machine allows.
3. Throw it in the dryer (really!) on the hottest setting.
When your sweater is dry, it will be as much as 50% smaller. Normally this would be cause for the shed of tears. Today we'll do a happy dance because you will have a nice, thick piece of wool felt. Depending on the pattern used to knit the sweater, you'll have more than just a sheet of felt that's thicker than the acrylic sheets you're used to. It will have a great textured pattern to it!
I've used my felted sweater and three very basic Fiskars tools to create a hat.
Cutting two 11 1/4" x 11 pieces from the front and back of the sweater gives us the front and back of the hat.
Measuring 4" down from the top of one panel, align this point with the corner of the grid on the 18" x 24" cutting mat. Using the 35mm Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter, cut the panel along the 60 degree line on the mat. Do this for each side of both panels.
The finished panels will look like this.
Place the hat pieces right sides together, stitch, and turn right-sideout.
Embellish with a blanket stitched edge and flowers made from bias strips.
The next type of felt is similar in idea to the synthetic sheets of felt but nicer to work with in several ways. I got this felt from here. It is thin like the synthetic sheets but it's evenly (very) dense across the whole sheet, unlike the synthetic sheets. It's made from wool. And the colors are rich and vibrant.
I've used the felt sheets to make a small penny rug that can be used in the center of a table or as a wall hanging.
With the aid of my collection of Fiskars Shape Templates and embossing templates, I cut every shape I needed for the penny rug.
The pieces are all stitched together by hand using mainly a blanket stitch.
And I added some french knots in place of the small seed openings on the embossing template.
My last project was made using wool roving which is wool fibers which
have been cleaned and carded but not manipulated to felt the fibers together. I used a process called needle felting, along with a variety of Fiskars tools, to create these decorative balls.Wool Roving is sometimes wet and then rubbed and manipulated to
interlock the fibers, rolling it into a ball in the process.
Wool Roving can be pricey so making these large 5" balls isn't really practical. Laying the roving over the surface of styrofoam balls and using a needle felting tool to push the fibers down into the styrofoam leaves you with a nice substitution!
I used ScrapBoss Dreamy embossing stencil and a Sharpie marker to trace a pattern onto one of the felted balls. Placing small pieces of roving over the pattern and using the needle felting tool again, I ended up with the big, funky flower on the blue ball.
Fiskars Squeeze punches can also be used to create a stencil for needle felting patterns onto the balls.
Using the Extra Large Twinkle, Twinkle Squeeze punch on a scrap of cardstock, I created a template for the star beaded embellishment. I applied Ranger Glossy Accents to the opening in the template and sprinkled beads over it. And finally, I used the Fiskars 1/4" Circle Hand Punch and some straight pins to make the small polka dotted ball.
I encourage you to step out of that felt aisle in the craft store, grab some Fiskars tools, and experiment with some of these other interesting types of felt. The different textures and techniques will add some unique qualities to your projects!
By Kendra McCracken« Back to Sewing