I write a weekly craft column for a local paper. Each week I share it here for bloggers.
Wet Felt?, Nuno Felt?, Nuvo felt? Confused? That’s understandable. Thanks to creative fibre artists and new technology felt is undergoing constant reinvention. Felt is one of the oldest materials known to man. It is believed that animal pelts were placed on horses as saddles and over time the constant wear caused the fibres to matt. This matted material was then cut and used as clothes.
Wet Felting is probably the best-known form of felting. Felting can be quite messy and physical. On the plus side other than purchasing the unspun wool and bubble wrap most of the other items needed can be found around the house. Towels, washing up detergent, hot water and you’re set to go. There are many tutorials on the Internet that you can go to and learn felting. Claire Bryan generously allowed me to use a image of her felted slippers in the print copy of this article. Visit her blog to her images. She made them following the instructions on kneek.wordpress.com Being a ‘slipper girl’ myself I think I’ll be making myself a pair of these funky ones for next winter. If you are after inspiration for your finished felted items visit http://www.feltmaker.com/ I particularly loved the pebble pincushions.
Nuno felting refers to a technique developed by Polly Blakney Stirling. Unlike wet felting there is only a minimal amount of wool fibre used. Similarly though it is equally messy and just as physical as wet felting. The finished felt is lightweight and has the potential to be gossamer thin. A visit to rayreynolds.wordpress.com will provide you with all the instructions necessary to make a piece of nuno felt.
Nuvo felting refers to needle felting. Needle felting was originally used as mending method for woolen clothes. A single felting needle looks a little like a fish hook. The barb was repeatedly pushed into the item until the fibres matted together and closed the hole. While not messy this process was laborious. There was also potential for stabbing your finger with the needle. Today needle felting is an exciting technique for making textile art and 3D objects. Making it safer and quicker is the Clover Needle Felting range of products. Some sewing machines come with a needle felting attachment.
Felting has stood the test of time and the passing of many craft fads. With the techniques readily available to everyone I’m sure it won’t be long before felting in all its forms is the next ‘new’thing.