I'm so excited to have finished this table runner, I just love how it turned out! I have been working on this for the past week and put close to 25 hours into it. The pictures above and
First I made sheets of partial felt using an assortment of fall colors and cut out the leaves, berries and pomegranates. I had never used commercial pre-felts before and decided they would make a good base for my runner. On top of those I laid out four layers of merino wool and then laid out my design, below. For the black edge I made my own black partial felt and folded it over the edge of the wool to get a nice straight edge. I then wet the whole thing down and with the netting still over the design I worked by hand where I had put down my partial felt cut outs to ensure they would stay in place when I was rolling it out in the bubble wrap. I rolled the piece from every edge until it was well felted, no fiber movement.
The picture here on the right is the fulling part. This is where the shrinkage comes from. I roll the work on itself and work it from every edge as well. I'm constantly pulling and tugging at the edges to keep them straight other wise they would be all wavy. It's important to keep your work nice an wet during this stage.
This is what the piece looked like when I was done fulling it. It looked pretty good but I wanted some of the details to really pop and have more detail so I did free motion embroidery on it when it was dry. I learned this technique in a class I took from Lisa Klakulak and it has changed the way I now felt. It's amazing the texture & definition you get with this stitching!
Here is an example how stitching adds depth and texture to a leaf. This first picture is a leaf after the piece has been completed and dry. The shade of the leaf and the background color kind of blend together and it doesn't really stand out.
This is the leaf after outlining it. Already it begins to pop away from the background and the edges gain definition. One thing about the free motion embroidery is that is rather unforgiving on felt. Once your stitches are down they stay there, ripping out rips up the felt and makes it fuzzy. Take it slow and practice lots! Spend time choosing a thread color too, a slightly darker shade stands out more.
Here is the finished leaf with all the veins stitched in. We have some trees who's leaves are turning such a bright yellow now, I think they are a kind of sycamore. I patterned the veins on my leaves by closely studying the veins on it's leaf first. Because the leaf is three layers of wool placed on a base of four layers of wool, when you stitch on it, it makes these great hills and valleys of texture on the leaf.