Magical, Mystical, Felting

So for this post I thought I would share my Magical, Mystical Felting, piece by piece …. I have been making lots of felted dogs as people had ordered them and I was itching to try my hand at felted dolls and mystical items …… Finally, I grabbed some time and started firstly on my Child of Pan.  She took a while as her face would not behave as I wanted it to!  I sculpted her body, arms and legs first, then her hands and fingers (which took ages and were very fiddly) then her head and face, complete with eyelids, eyes and freckles!!.  I added her tail, horns and elf like ears and then dressed her.  The hair I wanted was not available within my considerable stash of wool so it was off on a trawl of the internet to find what I needed.  I found a fantastic artist selling some doll hair seconds made from Tibetan Lambs Wool – she was so kind and sent me extra to make sure I had enough.  It was exactly what I wanted – curly, wild, soft and bouncy.  

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Next I stayed on the “other worldly” theme and started on my little Pixie / Elf.  He is sitting cross legged, with his hands on his knees, his wild mop of blonde hair standing up around his elfin ears and a cheeky grin on his face.  His long, skinny legs are comfortably crossed, his hat sits by his side and he rests his hands upon his knees.  He is dressed in a felted Lichen Green top and Forest Green trousers, with a jaunty cotton bandana loosely tied around his neck.  The black and purple psychedelic magical mushroom stands next to him.  I made this next and after felting the patterns in I stitched tiny little pearls all over it for that extra bit of magic!  I wet felted his little hat and added a braided leather band with a feather for the finishing touch!

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My witch took many, many hours and incorporates felting, sewing and embroidery – all of which are my passions.  I wanted her to be voluptuous but tall, elegant and slender  – after lots of hard work I achieved the look I wanted.  Her face is detailed and mysterious.  She has a wonderful half smile and a shock of luscious black hair.  Her body is made from natural coloured Perendale Batting.  Her top, boots and leggings are beautiful, soft Merino wool.  Her skirt is black tulle with purple Merino wool nuno felted around the bottom and black ribbon bows stitched on.  Her purple top has a Triple Goddess felted into the centre of the front.  Her cloak is beautiful – made from black velour with a purple satin lining.  It has a full, lined hood and I embroidered a Pentagram on each side of the front.  The cloak is a replica of the ones I make for real witches.  Her hair is from a Manchester wig shop – I needed it to be thick, black and straight – this hair piece did the job perfectly!

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Magical, Mystical, Felting

Wet Felting Merino Wool – or Crazy Pixie Hat Creation!!!

Well – what else is there to do on a rainy weekend at the beginning of July?  I have tried my hand at most crafts but always been a bit scared of wet felting ………………. it looks sooooo  complicated!  As I sell fairies, elves and lots of other worldly stuff on my stall at Festivals I thought it would be fun to have a go at wet felting a Pixie Hat!  Now I have done it I shall certainly make more – I really have the wet felting bug!  So, inbetween sewing, embroidering, making leads and trolley covers, soft toys for the grandchildren and snuggle tunnels for the dogs …………. I can be found making a mess of the kitchen with my wet felting.  Here is how I did it – hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

First, I started with a pile of Merino Wool Batts.  I chose the colours and placed them in the order I wanted to use them.

1 wool

I cut out a “resist” shape from 2 old plastic file covers.  This stops the 2 sides of the hat from felting together during the felting process.  I laid some bubble wrap on the table, then a layer of net, then the resist.  Then I laid my first layer of wool on the first side

2 first layer on

Then I sprayed it with hot soapy water and gently pressed the fibres down to start the “felting” process

3 soapy layers

Then I covered that side with a net and turned it over

4 turn over and smooth edges

I carefully smoothed the overlap over the edges of the resist so that we don’t get a bulky seam when it felts.  Then I covered the second side with 3 layers of wool and soaped it.  Both sides had 3 layers.

5 2nd side soapy

When the overlap was smoothed, I set about “felting”.  The action of making the fibres rub together and become enmeshed to form a strong felt.  Now you can see how the net is useful in keeping the wool in place while I rub the surface, wet, rub, wet some more, rub, riub, rub ……..  drink some coffee, rub some more ….

6 felting!

Then I rolled the whole thing round a rolling pin and started rolling on the bubble wrap to further felt and shrink it …… see the coffee cup?  That kept me going.  25 rols and turn, 25 rolls and turn, 25 rolls and turn ……………….

7 rolling

Finally it is in a soft felt state which you can tell by pinching it.  It was now ready to be rinsed and to remove the resist from inside so I could rinse and shrink it further.  See how big it still is?

8 ready to rinse

Then for the fun – hot water, cold water, hot water, cold water – rinsing and shocking the fibres to make them felt and shrink, felt and shrink.  Then throw it hard in the sink a few times to shrink it even more

9 rinse

10 cold rinse

Finally it is ready to be shaped and dried.  I do not have a pixie sized hat block so the plastic measuring jug provided the perfect model.  I tied it on with some old ribbon to keep it in place

11 stretched on jug to dry

And then placed it on a towel in the back of my car to dry for 24 hours

12 drying and shrinking in car

When dry, it was ready to be shaped further and trimmed

13 trimming and shaping

Starting to shape up

14 ready for finishing

Then, as is usual in our crazy house, it dried out a bit more with the bread cooling ……

drying with the bread cooling

Finally, it is COMPLETE!!!!  Tada!  Just waiting for a Pixie to come along and steal it ……..

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!!

finally done

Wet Felting Merino Wool – or Crazy Pixie Hat Creation!!!