I spent the weekend doing a bag felting course at Feltwest with Meggipeg, and we had such a great time. I’ve never done 3D felting before and it was a bit of a revelation – even though I’ve read about it, there’s a lot to be said for experiencing it. I now have a bag for my 1year1outfit as it is made with all West Australian wool roving.
The first thing we needed to do was to make a template or resist. We had to choose a shape and style of bag and then cut it out of underlay and use duct tape to make it a bit stronger.
Then we made our handles. Two lengths of roving with a third bit layered diagonally over the top
and the whole thing rolled in a sushi mat.
Lots of elbow grease, soap and water later and I had a handle
At this point I’ll mention that I cast around the house for some West Australian soap and found this dog soap. Now we no longer have a dog (:(), I thought it would be perfect. I’m also quite happy that my bag won’t get fleas!!
Then onto the bag itself. We divided our wool roving into two lots, and then each of those lots was divided into four. Each lot equated one layer, with four layers being created per side. The layers are laid in opposite directions to create strength in the fabric. This will become the inside of the bag.
Once the first layer is put onto both sides of the resist, the handle is laid over the top, and the outside layer is now created in the same way as the inside layer, neatly sandwiching the handle in between.
Once all the wool is laid out, decorating can begin. I had some indigo dyed roving so was keen to use a bit, but in retrospect, I don’t think I used enough. I was also too circumspect with my decorating, taking a less is more approach. Here is the whole bag, still in the flat stage, after pre-felting. I chose dark brown for the bottom and the handle as these were the parts most prone to getting grubby.
Once the bag is felted sufficiently the resist is removed by making a cut between the handles and the hard work begins in earnest. Think rolling, tossing, pummelling, soaping, massaging, and even using a rock in a plastic bag to help get pressure on, many, many times over. This has to be done inside and out, and the bag begins to shrink and look more like a bag.
It then gets to the point where it stands up by itself, but the hard work isn’t over. By the way, in the background you can see all the beautiful bags made by the instructor.
I really wanted to increase the visual interest so chatted to the instructor about the bag opening. She told me that now was the time to cut it into a shape if I wished, so I did, with a great deal of trepidation!
The edges then had to be smoothed over – more elbow grease! Here I am with Megan from Meggipeg. We decided it was much more fun to share a table for this stage of the proceedings!
Here is the finished bag laid on the resist so you can see how much it has shrunk, and in fact it shrank still more after this photo was taken.
A couple of last shots of my bag. Here is the back view, looking a tad plain
but I like the front view quite a lot. I was going for a representation of nature: blue sky, brown twig and leaf, and brown earth, but I think I was too subtle!
So, happy am I that I have the first part of my 1year1outfit challenge complete!