Classes: Felting a Scene

 Class: Creating a Scene in Felting

I love working with hand dyed wool fibers and fabrics and pearl cotton threads. In this class, I will be discussing how I came to hand dyeing and will share with you my techniques and sources. It is not hard but it takes some experimentation to get the results you want. I design my hand dyed fabrics to look like a scene, and they are not hand painted.  

In the class, you will learn to how to create trees and plants with embroidery threads and hand needle felting (pushing wool fibers into wool backgrounds with a needle felting tool) making 3-D elements that dangle off your background block like leaves and berries on some of my hand dyed fabrics. We will be creating the beginnings of a quilt, or blocks you can add to work in progress if you are working on one of my felted applique sheep patterns. Simple hand embroidery adds so much to the appeal to a felted wool quilt.

The great advantage to this new felting technique is its portability, as no machine is required. It is easy to learn how to do it.

This is another possibility for a scene is a pumpkin vine with contrasting 3-D leaves. The background is dyed yellow on the top and burgundy on the bottom on this herringbone cream/brick wool .

I am thinking about working on a border of Pokeweed that I made in the Foxes and Chickens pattern as a quilting pattern, with small 3-D berries made of felt.  In class,I will show you how to make the purple berries which are small felt balls.  The stems that hold the berries are fushia.  I have yet to figure out how the stitch them so they look like the real thing.  Holly would work well too with cheery red berries and their distinctive leaf shape as a theme for a felted little quilt.

Class Supply List:

Supplies Participants Should Bring:

  • Scissors, small to cut out appliques like leaves that your create with felting.

  • Felting tool...bring what you have or purchase Clover #8901 (the pink one with three needles) $14.50 available at Critter Pattern Works booth before class or in class.

  • A piece of upholstery foam (available at CPW booth for $4.00) to felting into.  8" x 6" is a good size.

  • Replacement needles optional (5 for $7.75) available in class.

  • Embroidery threads, pearl cotton size #8 or floss in colors like medium gray, greens, for plants, browns for tree trunks, and colors for flowers.

  • Needles for embroidery, size 5 is good.

  $20.00 Kit includes:

  1. Three baggies of wool rovings in assorted colors with different values and textures.  Your choice...they are all different.

  2. Two hand different dyed wool fabrics to be used as borders or part of a felted quilt. Again, all will be different because they are hand made.

  3. Some hand dyed pearl cotton threads to play with. I want you to compare the hand dyes to the flat colors of commercially dyed threads. 

 Background on this class and technique development:

I've been doing machine applique since forever.  My passion for realism in my appliques has grown since I made my first pattern for sale in 1989.

In 2007 or so, I started a quilt in menswear wool fabrics, just to see what sheep looked like in pinstripes.  Then I discovered needle felting and it was love at first sight.  My animal appliques were becoming little bas-reliefs and they had texture.  My first quilt, Crazy Sheep,  took two years to make because I was inventing my technique for felted applique.  At that time, people were felting with a single needle, making mini animals in 3-D, but nobody was doing applique with fibers.  

Since I am a pattern designer, I needed to figure out how to teach people who couldn't draw, to make a sheep or a sheep portrait.  A light bulb went off in my head when I stumbled on how to transfer the details of my applique drawings to wool because a lightbox won't work.  Do not feel that because you haven't done any of my techniques that you can't do them.  I have spent countless hours successfully teaching those who thought they had no talent for learning this new technique.

My second wool quilt, Sheep Wannabees, has all felted animals. There are 48 animals (not all sheep) in the center of the quilt.  It only took ten months to design and make and it is twice the size of the Crazy Sheep.  Both of these quilts have won blue ribbons at national quilt shows and now each of them has a viewers choice ribbon too, and the Wannabees got a Judge's Choice in Paducah.

With this new class I am expanding on my quest for more realism in the scenes I am creating and in my interest in showing students how they can become more creative.  Creativity starts with "What if...?"


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