Felted Flower Quilt Explained
I have been asked to explain the process I use to make a felted quilt. I thought I would try to do it with pictures and words, so last night I worked on a little piece and took pictures as I went.
There are two main ways to felt wool, one is wet felting which uses soapy water, temperature extremes, and agitation, basically what happens when you accidentally wash a wool sweater in the washing machine. The other type of felting is called needle felting. The needles used are very sharp and have several sharp barbs on their sides. You use the needle tool to punch up and down. The sharp, barbed needles grab fibers on top and push them down. They then grab fibers underneath and pull then up. This eventually locks the fibers together and attaches the layers. You can work with one needle at a time to create three dimensional items or several at a time in some kind of holder. I delayed taking up this craft because the first time I saw it done it looked too dangerous! But the newer generation of tools have some safety features. The Clover Needle Felting Tool, made in
There are also various embellishing or needle felting machines available. They look like sewing machines, but with fewer moving parts. If purchasing one of these there are cost factors, safety features, and the ease of changing needles to be considered. Bernina has a needle felting foot available.
I am going to start with a piece of felt for the base and batting. To this I will sew various pieces of fabric, leaving raw edges. I may couch or sew yarn onto it at this stage.
I am a spinner, so I have available un-spun wool in a wide range of colors, also some dyed silk, angora, and mohair. At this point I start adding wisps of un-spun fibers and additional fuzzy yarn. Punch the hand held tool up and down; it is springy.
Continue to add wisps of fiber, small pieces of fabric, felt, and yarn to develop your design. If you have a machine available, use it to make the process quicker.
Here, I am adding red felt petals. I put wisps of wool in several
shades of red to add to the complexity. Neither my camera nor scanner picked up this subtlety.
Needle felt these to attach.
When the design is roughly as you want it you can add machine or hand quilting, on top, for emphasize and to give the piece additional dimension. Hand embroidery and beads can now be added. You can add backing and finish the edges as you like!
This is the scaned version with the colors slightly different!
I may still add more quilting or embroidery.