felt luminary

Friday, September 23, 2011

Make A Wish

  I had such a great week last week at my Etsy shop!  All in the same day......someone from London purchased my sunflower pillow for a nice sum and  the Make A Wish Foundation contacted me and asked me if I would contribute my other commission flower pillow to their upcoming auction that is being held at Clint Eastwood's Tehama Golf Club in Carmel, CA on October 22! Pretty darn cool!  Of course I agreed to make the pillow. I just finished it last night and it's all boxed up and ready to ship.

  This is a picture of the finished pillow for the Make A Wish auction.  You'll recognize it from the side column of the blog, that pillow was one of two that was commissioned by my friends client for her new home.  I decided to put the same design up on my Etsy site as a commission piece since I love how it turned out.  Here is the link to my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/terrysifeltlikeit?ref=si_shop 
Below is a close up of the center of the flower, the gold center is a piece of silk from a scarf I found in a charity shop in San Diego.

  While there is a simplicity to the design it definitely wasn't simple to make.  For those new to felting I'll briefly describe the process, this is what I did to end up with this 16" square pillow....The petals are a hand dyed blend of 50% merino wool and 50% silk.  To make the petals I first had to make to large sheets of partial felts (or pre-felts).  To do this you lay down two layers of the fleece in a 26" square on top of an extra large piece of bubble wrap.  I wet it out, gave it a bit of soap then rolled it up around a 2" wooden dowel, tied it up then rolled it 200 times.  I opened it up to flip it and turn it, give it some more water and soap then rolled it back up and rolled it another 200 times.  Repeat and 200 more times.  Now that it's been "felted"-all the fibers have been interwoven from the layers of wool, it's time to "full" it.  This is where you get all those interwoven fibers to move closer together and become more dense.  Since the fibers are moving closer together that means the piece will begin to shrink.  When you make a partial felt you only partially make a piece of finished felt.  I shrunk the 26" square down to about 21".  Out of these partial felt sheets I cut out the shape of the petals exactly the shapes you see on the pillow only larger.  Hang on, you'll get it soon.  My next step was to lay out four layers of black merino wool in a 26" square on top of the bubble wrap.  On top of this I placed my design just how it looks on the finished pillow only to the scale to fit a 26" square, remember the felt is going to shrink.  First I place down the center piece of silk then around that I laid two rows of sari silk yarn-look closely and you'll see it.  Then the petals went down.  I placed a piece of netting over the top of the pillow cover and wet it out and then soaped it.  I gently rubbed with soapy hands over the flower petals, coaxing the fibers in the petals to mesh with the black merino.  Once I was sure they had begun to mesh I rolled it up in the bubble wrap and, yep, rolled it 200 times.  I opened and moved the piece, gently, wet it and repeated this until I had rolled it (one roll is forward and back) 800 times.  The piece was completely felted and now I fulled it to shrink it up. Fulling is where I roll the sheet up cigar style and roll it back and forth and this causes the fibers to move closer together and the sheet becomes thicker and stronger.  This process of fulling took about 45 minutes.  When it was done it had shrunk down to about a 17" square, that's close to 10" length and width wise!  From start to finish it was about 6 hours. 
   This whole process that I briefly described never fails to thrill me.  I was able to take loose, light & flimsy wool and with some soap, water and agitation I made a beautiful yet durable and strong piece of felt!  I just love this craft!  I'm hoping someone will bid high on my pillow so it can make some money for the Make A Wish Foundation.  This is the first time I've been involved with them but I do know they bring a whole lot of joy to some very sick children, I'm truly honored to be able to participate in this event.  If you want to find out more about the foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area you can go to www.SFwish.org.  I know they are always accepting donations for their auctions from artisans so all you crafters and artists out there give it some consideration!


  1. Golly whizz - have often wondered how felt was made and it's been a fascinating read to see how you do it! Must keep the hands, wrists etc. fit doing all the rolling! Am definitely going to follow you - and hope you'll return the compliment by following my blog at www.ColdhamCuddliescalling.blogspot.com - it's where I write about how I make, mend and otherwise create the toys I then try to see at my Etsy shop, www.coldhamcuddlies.etsy.com. I've picked you up as a result of your recent post on the Etsy Success Lounge forum where we've been requested to posts our various contact details! Look forward to more contacts - and if you comment as my 50th Follower (I only began in March this year), you could be in line for a 20% on one item from my shop! Look forward to hearing from you - all the best. Isobel

  2. i love days when it all comes together and you feel so wonderful. a couple weeks ago i had multiple etsy orders in one day and a small magazine emailed me asking if they could use my blog banner in one of their articles!