Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Epiphany of Sorts

Do you sometimes get struck as though by lightning when an idea or concept zips through your head?  I've had it happen a couple of times to me during my lifetime (all 43 years.)  Once was while standing in the sleet and rain, staring at some beautiful dyed fiber in the window of a yarn store in Bethel, ME and realizing that I did not have to pay New York City prices for yarn - I could make it!  And look what that led to - me armpits deep in sheep.

Well folks, it happened again recently.  A good friend purchased a hand felted hat while visiting Eugene, OR and when I saw it, I had to hold it, to ogle it, to dissect it - something about the hat drew me like a bee to honey.  It spoke to me.  The hat was made by Tash Wesp and you can some of her work here.  I became a woman on a mission - I had to felt.  I have lived and breathed felt for several weeks now and the illness shows no sign of wearing off.  And below are a couple of my first forays - enjoy!

For the uninitiated, wool felt is created by taking advantage of the fact that fiber has scales, which when manipulated, can hook onto one another, creating a web and eventually felt.  One can create the web through either wet felting, using water, soap and agitation or by dry felting which involves a very sharp needle with barbs.  My first project is a garden gnome - he is wet felted and then I used a needle to anchor his hat a little more firmly to his head.  Here he is hiding amongst some kitchen herbs.

I then used a template made of foam to wet felt a small pouch using some of my own dyed Romney/kid roving.  After the pouch had thoroughly dried, I lined it with some printed fabric.

I still thought it needed a little extra embellishment, so I added a daisy by needle felting it on.  First the center of the flower, then a petal, then more.....

Here is what it looks like now:

And the gnome has found a new home!