Truth be told, I have been staring in amazement at all things felted as of late. Not sure where or why this fascination started, but it has become my mission to figure it out. I've learned that you can create felted items through various techniques: needle felting, wet felting, knitting the item and then distressing it with hot water and you can even take old wool sweaters, distress them in the washing machine (haven't we all done that accidentally?) and then cutting and sewing them.
Since knitting and I are just getting acquainted, I've had my eyes peeled for a wet felting class and I got lucky, The Spinning Room had one this past Saturday. It was tons of fun and I learned a lot. Not knowing how the process really went, I went with the flow and decided to make a runner. A runner seemed to be a standard item to make for beginners.
The first step was picking out the color roving you wish to work with. I chose a natural, die free roving as my base with a few spring colors for the details. The roving comes in big balls that need to be pulled into pieces. From there you place bubble wrap and netting or tulle on the boot tray and then the layers of roving. Four layers of roving was needed - layered in opposite directions. It looks like a big fluffy pile of lint.
Then the details are added using other roving. From here on out, I wasn't able to any pictures until the very end. It's one big, wet mess, which to me was like being a kid playing. The netting is placed on top of your future piece and sprayed with very warm water and some dish soap. This is done repeatedly while gently patting the roving down so all the layers adhere to one another. When the top is wet, it's flipped and the process is repeated. It's then rolled up into the bubble wrap and netting and rolled repeatedly, again to help the adhering process. This wet part of the process takes a good hour, plus. The piece then needs to be rinsed in a bucket of hot water and then cold to shock it and remove all the dish soap. Its rolled in a towel to absorb excess water and then it air dries until its ready for display.
One of the consistently fun parts of a class, is finishing up and taking a look at all the different ways the creativity flows through each of us. Each one different. Each one beautiful.
There are some great videos on YouTube that demonstrate the wet messing part of this process if you're interested in taking a crack at it.