Create Unique Embellishments with Felting

2 Mar 2010

Want to add interest and dimension to a quilted piece in no time? Try felting.

Whether you felt by hand (with water or needles) or by machine, it's an easy, fun, and fast way to make a piece pop. Plus, felting is a great way to use up little bits of fluff, fibers, and sparkly things you have on hand.

I've seen two examples of how a felted element packed some punch into an art piece recently.

In the current issue of Quilting Arts, Rose Hughes shows how to make beaded wool gems from wool roving, batting, and beads.

Rose just cuts layers of batting to the desired size, wraps layers of wool roving around the batting, then puts the bundle of fiber inside a knee-high stocking and ties a knot.

She continues the process until she has as many bundles as she desires, and then washes the knotted stockings in hot water with high agitation.

Rose removes the now felted bundles from the stockings, lets them dry, and adds beads, stitching, and other embellishments. Then she attaches the gems to a quilt. I love the way they add a sparkly, seashell-like element to her "Ebbing Eveningtide" landscape.

Natalya Aikens also recently experimented with felting. After painting a journal page and scanning it when it was dry, she printed a copy of the page onto sheer ExtravOrganza.

Then she hand needle-felted a mix of fibers (thread, color catcher sheets, dryer lint from, fabrics, netting) onto the printed image.

"This was the most fun part of the entire project!" says Natalya. "I have never needle felted by hand before, even though I had the supplies for a while. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try it."  

The needle-felted fibers add an interesting texture to the design, literally bringing it up off the page.

Wet felting and hand needle felting don't require a lot of supplies or time-though you may find you quickly become addicted to the techniques. It's fun to felt a lot of small pieces in one session or a little at a time, and then keep the samples for future use in a quilt, wall-hanging, or mixed-media piece.

If you've never tried felting before, we have plenty of supplies and books on the subject in the Interweave Store, so be sure to check it out.


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Comments

Linda13 wrote
on 2 Mar 2010 8:28 PM

Hi, just a quick question - Rose Hughes' technique - does she use one stocking per fibre bundle, or does she put in a bundle, knot it close to hold it in a ball shape, then put in another bundle in the same stocking and knot it close, then another bundle and so on, so she could end up with three or more bundles in the one stocking?  I've got my latest copy and want to try it out soon, and thought I would ask the question so I don't end up with a total mess!  Cheers, Linda from Australia

on 3 Mar 2010 9:57 AM

Hi,

Good question! Rose makes a sort of "sausage link" of each stocking, with several fiber bundles with knots between them in a stocking. The number of bundles in each stocking would be determined by the size of the fiber bundles and the length of the stocking. Hope that helps!

KarinO@3 wrote
on 4 Mar 2010 11:03 AM

Thank you for this article.  Just yesterday, my birthday, I tried to make a wool gem.  I'd had a class with Rose Hughes last year and she gave a quick demo, but I couldn't find my notes.  As a result, my wool gem didn't turn out that great.  Seeing your article today was like a one-day-late birthday present.  Thank you!

listmint.com wrote
on 20 Mar 2010 11:32 AM

Dedicated to art quilting, surface design, wearable arts, mixed media, embellished quilting, crazy quilting, beading, silk ribbon work, and fabric painting, Quilting Arts strives to meet your creative textile needs.

tutable.com wrote
on 25 Mar 2010 7:16 PM

Dedicated to art quilting, surface design, wearable arts, mixed media, embellished quilting, crazy quilting, beading, silk ribbon work, and fabric painting, Quilting Arts strives to meet your creative textile needs.

on 25 Mar 2010 8:40 PM

Dedicated to art quilting, surface design, wearable arts, mixed media, embellished quilting, crazy quilting, beading, silk ribbon work, and fabric painting, Quilting Arts strives to meet your creative textile needs.

pligg.com wrote
on 26 Mar 2010 5:22 AM

Dedicated to art quilting, surface design, wearable arts, mixed media, embellished quilting, crazy quilting, beading, silk ribbon work, and fabric painting, Quilting Arts strives to meet your creative textile needs.

wagg.it wrote
on 26 Mar 2010 8:51 PM

Dedicated to art quilting, surface design, wearable arts, mixed media, embellished quilting, crazy quilting, beading, silk ribbon work, and fabric painting, Quilting Arts strives to meet your creative textile needs.

EdAgg.com wrote
on 31 Mar 2010 7:54 PM

Dedicated to art quilting, surface design, wearable arts, mixed media, embellished quilting, crazy quilting, beading, silk ribbon work, and fabric painting, Quilting Arts strives to meet your creative textile needs.

on 1 May 2013 12:50 AM

Our foremothers knew how to make a quilt using only what they had, from scraps of fabric to natural dyes. But, quilt making the frugal and eco-friendly way was easier for them: