I am not a big fan of felting. I just don't get it. I don't particularly like knitting with big needles. I am not a “bag” person (i have a 10 year old bag i am quite happy with and maybe 2 or 3 other (fancy bags) but not a collection.. I cringe at spending $100 and upwards for yarn, just to felt it onto a tote bag.
That said, I have to tell you about a felting method I learned about yesterday (I didn't have my camera, and I wish I had more links.) Christina, (link to her blog below) was at a spring festival in a NYC park yesterday demonstrating a method of felt making I was totally unfamiliar with.. (but my DIL knew the method, so maybe I am just the last person on earth to learn about it)
1-Start with an open weave, light weight fabric (cheese cloth, tulle, silk gauze). This is the BASE.
2--Layer on top of the BASE, thin, neat, layers of wool (or mohair,or alpaca, etc) roving. Overlap the layers of roving, but don't make the layer too thick (layers can be built up, but each layer should be thin to start)
This can be dyed roving, or white, it can be laid out in one color, or several, in a pattern, or plain.
3--Dampen with a soapy water solution (she used a spray bottle)Just a lite mist. (More can always be added if needed, but you don't need a lot of moisture.)
4--Cover with a tightly woven press cloth (a cotton sateen, or polished cotton would be good). The super smooth (right side) of cloth gets placed on wool roving (wrong side faces up)
5--Take an electic orbital sander, (with out any sand paper !) and place on top of the cotton.
6-- Leave the sander in place for 5 to 10 seconds, lift and reposition, until you have covered the entire area.
7-- Gently peel the cotton off the wool, which has already started to felt.(here is where a smooth cotton matters—the tightly woven smooth cotton will be less likely to felt to the wool.)
8-- Reposition the sander right on top of the wool, and felt some more.
9 --Build up layers, -of color, of dots, of designs.
With each layer, go back to step 3 and work each layer of detail, or design element the same way.
10-- When design is complete, machine wash or hand wash to further felt (the finished fabric will 'shrink' about 20 to 25%, and get thicker, and denser. don't make your layers too thick to start or the resulting fabric will be thick and hard to work)
Shape, while wet, or dry flat, then cut and sew into finished garment or object.
Christina made her wedding dress this way..
I wish she had more photo's, but do check out this blog entry. (scroll down to September 4th) to see an image of her wedding dress!
And then raid the tool box for the electic sander and get felting!