Saturday, March 7, 2009

She Felt Like Nasturtiums: Tutorial

What I like about Cameron of Cottage Industrialist is that not only can she do a little of everything, but she's a great writer who always has some fantastic ideas. Lately she has been working on needle felting, and agreed to let me post her tutorial here:

Seems like it's been a few weeks since I had anything good and crafty to crow about. Well, Ta Da! I had a very nice bout of creativity this weekend and I finally tackled a project that has been in my brain for months.

First, on a field of rust-red pre-made felt, I set down a background of blue-green roving about 7x7 inches square. This color is not the perfect green of the tea towels, but what it lacks in accuracy it makes up for in joie de vivre. Here, I should say, if you've never needle felted before, it's truly a wondrous thing to behold: fluffy puffs of loose wool get matted down together and linked together like permanent Velcro using nothing more than the back and forth motion of a bunch of sharp needles. (I used a Clover needle felting tool, which is really 5 felting needles in one--it makes quick work of felting. I have read from some purists that it prevents good detail work, is cheating, is felting for amateurs. Whatever! Do what works, I say. And this little jobbie WORKS!)

Once that was done, I cut out my basic nasturtium shape from some orange-y pre-made felt (I eyeballed it. People! If you know me at all you know that this ran counter to all of my cut-phobic instincts. And you know what? Not so bad, if I do say.), and I set it down on the blue felt on top of some blobs of green roving "leaves." Why pre-made felt for some and roving for others? Well, I think the pre-made stuff gives you a nice dimensional look, whereas the roving sort of blends in physically, making it good for background motifs. Anyhoo, I just layered them in a pleasing way and stabbed about until they were attached--very therapeutic!

The next part was my favorite. Plain orange flower shapes weren't going to capture the painterly depth of my tea towels. So I started adding, tuft by tuft, tiny bits of orange and red roving to my flower. It felt almost like finger painting and really was great fun. I repeated the same process for the second flower, although I had to be a little creative, as I didn't have any pre-made felt in the orange color I needed. I did have some roving in the right color, though, so I cut out another flower shape and then felted the roving onto the shape before putting it onto my square.

One of the best things about felt is that it doesn't ravel. So when I had the flowers the way I liked them, I just took the felt to my cutting mat, eyeballed a straight edge and hacked off all the wobbly edges, leaving me with a nice, clean 7 inch square--the perfect size for a trivet or a potholder. I'm still nattering a bit about whether to bind the edges, blanket stitch them, or something else, but I'm pretty durn pleased with myself, and I will definitely be trying this again.

1 comment:

Sweet Pepita said...

This is so beautiful.