I might have mentioned a while ago that I'd be doing wet felting workshops at an event called MakeFest at the Museum of Science and Industry in August (8th and 9th, if anyone's interested!). I must admit I didn't realise it was a 2 day thing when I applied, or I probably wouldn't have. I started getting ready for it back in May after getting accepted so I didn't get overwhelmed with stuff to do. I bought the wool and fibres, made some batts, dyed some wool locks and fibres etc. The last few weeks I've been making small samples to take, just to give people a few ideas, so they can make something nice for themselves.
They have a textiles gallery at MOSI which I've always loved, they have working machines processing cotton from raw fluff into cotton sliver and then into fabric, and and also displays of different fibres showing the raw material they came from, like coal, oil, flax or cotton and the fabric they are usually processed into. And since I kind of like the odd fibre or 20, I thought it'd be a perfect chance to show wet felting and get people to try those fibres out with it. I made a small sample piece showing how lots of different undyed fibres look after felting. They're mostly in alphabetical order, from the top: Bamboo top; Bamboo staple and Soy staple; Banana; Cotton; Flax; Hemp; Ingeo; Milk; Nylon staple and Plastic staple; Ramie; Soy top; and on the bottom Viscose staple and Kapok:
I love natural wools and fibres, so I made a small piece showing some of these, this is the piece before felting:
And this is after felting:
I did a simple piece to show what could be achieved just with a few different shades of Merino:
I've dyed some of the fibres I'm taking as well as having samples of them all undyed. One which dyes really nicely is Nylon. I usually go for more muted or 'natural' looking shades, but Nylon seems to suit more vivid colours. This is a sample made with dyed Crimped Nylon before felting:
And after felting:
And this little sample was made with some of the wisps I pulled off the ends of some hand dyed trilobal nylon:
One other thing I really love is wool locks. I've had a few hundred grams of Gotland I've been really careful with over the years, but recently my friend Zara was really generous when we did a swap and sent me loads (well over a kilo!) of the most gorgeous Gotland in many shades and varieties, so I dyed a lot of my 'old' ones to take to MakeFest. I used some of them on a couple of small samples, this is one before felting:
And after felting:
The locks sometimes get a bit 'tatty' or 'scruffy' after dyeing so I usually pull off the wispy bits to neaten them up. I had a tubful so I thought I'd use these on a little sample too:
This last sample uses a variety of hand dyed fibres and a few silk threads all in shades of blue. I twisted some cotton scrim in the centre, this is before felting:
And this is the sample after felting:
There will be many different displays, demos and workshops there, it's a huge place, so I'm sure there'll be something for everyone, so if you have some spare time over this weekend (8th and 9th August) try and get to MOSI. And if you see a weary felter in the Textile Gallery, come and lend a hand :)
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