Felted Blue Patchwork Pillow
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Love fiber art? Like getting messy? Looking for an inside activity to do this winter? Start "felting" around, making your own fabric by felting wool and metallic threads. (The metallics add that extra bling that will make your creations extraordinary.) This design uses Kreinik's new Fiber Flecks - ready-to-go shiny additives for craft projects.
- Fabric: gold, white, & blue fabric scraps
- Blue flannel for pillow's back side
- Wool fibers for felting
- Merino wool locks
- Kreinik metallic Fiber Flecks
- Kreinik Threads: 3214 Blue Zircon #16 Braid 102 Vatican Gold #16 Braid 014HL Sky Blue Hi Lustre #12 Braid 002V Vintage Gold 1/8" Ribbon
- Blue thread for stitching
- Custom corder
- Sewing machine
- Sewing needle and thread
Begin by laying out a piece of waste fabric (something you don't intend to use, or plain cotton or muslin) on your work surface. Your fabric piece should be big enough to fold in half around your "batt" (the flat layer of wool that will serve as your felt base) like an envelope, and extend past the edges as well. Keep in mind that your finished felt piece will be about 1/2 of the size of your unfelted fibers, so plan your size accordingly.
Begin laying down horizontal strips of wool roving as your base. Pull a piece of roving the length you want (about 15") and use your fingers to gently tug the fibers, widening the piece of roving until you can see through it. Lay it down on the bottom half of your fabric. Pull another piece and do the same, laying it down parallel to your first piece so that they overlap slightly. Continue until you have your first layer.
Next, create your second layer of wool. This layer should be strips of roving laid down vertically (perpendicular to the direction of the first layer.) This will make your felt piece sturdy like fabric. When that layer is finished, create a third layer of fibers running horizontally again (like your first layer.) You can add Fiber Flecks to this layer for a sparkly background to your design by sprinkling your Flecks over the wool. Once you have finished your third layer, you are ready to create your design.
Create a design on top of your layered batt. You can add Fiber Flecks at this stage also, concentrating them in specific areas of your design. You can also add Merino wool locks (little uncombed curls of wool), silk fibers, bits of yarn or thread,gauze fabric, etc. The silk can be spread out like your wool roving, or made into small puffs like cotton for dots or circles. You can overlap your yarn with other things (like the locks or silk) for a dimensional effect. When finished arranging your design, add a VERY thin layer of wool over the top (so thin you can barely see it) to help hold everything in place.
Fold your fabric over your design. Using the safety pins, begin carefully pinning through the "sandwich" of fabric and design, starting in the middle. Make sure your pins go all the way through! Continue pinning, adding a pin every 2" or so, all the way out to the edges. Fold the extra fabric over at the edges and pin them. Your design is now ready to be felted.
- Place your design in the sink. Wearing a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands, begin soaking your project in alternating hot and cold water. First run the hot water over it, as hot as you can stand, and then switch to cold while gently wringing and kneading the piece with your fingers.(Be careful of the pins!) This agitation and the shock of alternating temperatures is what causes the fibers to felt. Continue this process for about 5-10 minutes, long enough for your design to begin to interlock. Then, place your design in your washing machine on the gentle cycle with a little gentle detergent (like Woolite). You can then throw the piece into the dryer (for a tighter felt), or remove your pins and air dry it.
Embellishing with the Custom Corder:
First, decide how much cord you will need for your project. (If you aren't sure, make more than you think you'll need just in case!) Multiply that length by 3. Cut your thread to that length and follow the Custom Corder instructions to create your cord. Your trim is now ready to be used on your project.
You can use your cord in a number of ways. In this project the cord is couched onto the surface of the pillow.
Determine where you want the cord to be. Pin in place if you wish.
Using sewing thread in a matching color, sew over the cord and through the fabric beneath it to hold it in place.
- Continue stitching at short intervals along the length of your cord. Secure the end of the cord by sewing it into a seam or sewing the individual ends into your project.
Kreinik threads available through needlework stores or www.kreinik.com.
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