Saturday, November 1, 2008

Felting Fever

My Hallowe'en afternoon was spent doing something decidedly un-spooky. I played with pretty fibre and felted butterflies. 

Well, I helped. 

My fellow Terminal City Yarn Wrangler Siobhan (aka whengaiasmiles -- check her out on etsy), is going to have a window at Vancouver's oldest woolly shop, Birkeland Bros. for the month of January. Part of her design includes felted butterflies, and she invited Wranglers over to her place on her day off to participate. I, being unemployed, was the only one available on a Friday afternoon. Which worked out great for me -- more playing with fibre!

The only felting I've done has been in the washing machine (my fabulous Ravenclaw bowls, if I do say so meself). No washing machine involved here: instead, bamboo mats, netting, towels, and rubber gloves. 

And lots and lots (and lots) of gorgeous fibre from Siobhan's reasonably substantial stash. Ok, it's substantial, but Siobhan and I know others with much, much, much bigger ones (beentsy, are your ears burning?)

So, against a groovy soundtrack of soul music to put us in the creative mood, we started with the butterfly bodies, using really yummy merino, plus plenty of odds and sods.

Then we got it a bit damp with soapy water.

Then came the rolling. And rolling...

...and more rolling.

Which gave us this.

Which we then rinsed -- first in hot water, then cold, to shock it. Then we gave it another shock, by beating it in the sink.

Then we hung the body up to dry, and moved on to the wings. We started with two layers of white polwarth as a base, on top of which we made four colourful squares, using a variety of wools and silks -- plus a bit of yarn -- arranged as we felt (no pun intended). Very "organic" as the artsy-fartsy types like to say. ;-)

Then this went through the same basic soap & water-plus-agitation as the body, except that it was felted flat, rather than rolled. So Siobhan turned the piece around every once in a while. In the beginning this necessitated a bit of peeling away from the mesh.

But very soon it was properly felted -- when the yarn in the pink square was really incorporated, we knew it was done.

Next came the rinsing in hot water -- which shrunk the piece some more -- followed by cold. And, of course, the beating.

Et, voila! The finished piece, ready for drying and cutting into pretty butterfly wings.

Which Siobhan did right away. I declined to help; I cannot draw to save my life, and cutting things out isn't my strong suit, either.

And here are the finished wings, drying on towels.

Gorgeous, no? We'll be needle-felting the wings and bodies together tomorrow at the regular Wranglers meet-up. 


  1. VERY pretty! That is a really good idea :-)

  2. Hey hey hey! I wasn't even there to defend my stash's good name!

  3. Pretty colors! Sounds like a good way to spend an afternoon.

  4. Wow those are goregous & very cool sounds like lots of fun. I can't draw to save my life either lol.

  5. Love the butties! I can't wait to see what else you get up to. I think a felt bag next...?