Another disaster – felting this time

Artwork by Liz, Artwork Experiments, Uncategorized

Needle Felting the Bowl

I spent several hours creating two bowl shapes by randomly weaving over a plastic bowl with Courtelle machine knitting yarn. I planned to embroider different designs on the inside and the outside of both of them and then dry-felt with hand-held felting needles to integrate the wool stitching. This was easy to do but took quite a bit of time and I was quite pleased with the overall look.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. After embroidering over the weaving I used needle felting to finish - this weakened the structure.

Bowl randomly woven over a plastic bowl with Courtelle yarn. Embroidered with tapestry wool on the inside and outside and dry-felted. In places where there was no wool the needles weakened the courtelle to the point where it could be torn easily by hand.

Then I noticed there were some weak areas between some of the circles on the outside. When I pushed (hard) with my finger I was able to push through and pull the fabric apart at those points. I wasn’t able to pull it apart where there was wool on both the inside and the outside (ie the courtelle sandwiched between the 2 layers). I cannot tear the other unembroidered bowl so clearly it was the needle-felting that has broken down, or cut perhaps, the fibres of the Courtelle. I was unimpressed – it had taken me several hours to dry felt (leave alone the time taken to make the bowl shape in the first place) and in so doing I had destroyed something I quite liked the look of.

Lessons Learned

I have learned a lesson – I will only dry-felt with felting needles on wool. This was my first foray into dry-felting with needles and now I am wondering how strong some of the embroideries I have seen made with the embellishing machines are when they have used synthetic fabrics/yarns. I am going to put these in the bin – I don’t want to incorporate something I am not happy with into any other artworks. I am going to embroider the other bowl base as I am quite happy with the strength of that structure – but I will not be using felting needles on it because of the Courtelle base layer.

7 thoughts on “Another disaster – felting this time

  1. That’s a hard lesson Liz! You raise a good question about the strength of machine embellished work when it contains synthetic yarns and fabrics. The difference is perhaps that machine embellishment is mostly worked onto a base layer like felt or at least a piece of woven fabric. Well, that’s how I’ve done it anyway…..Must get that machine out some time and try it all again!

    1. I’ve got some wool blanket – I might try making a base from that. My plan is for the inner layer not to be visible but to provide enough structure for the bowl to stand up by itself. I think I’ll try cutting out 2 “flower” shapes (where the petals form the sides of the bowl), embroider both differently and then lay the 2 bowls one inside the other (staggering the petal joins) and needle felt them together.

  2. No no no – not the bin! Donate them to me – I love using little bits (incorporating them into something else). Feel your pain though – it is especially hard when there is so much time involved.

  3. Oh no don’t bin it Liz – surely by now you know every unexpected disaster contains the seeds of a new direction – put it out of sight for a while certainly – its presence in view will only irritate you, but give it a chance to inspire something a while from now.

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