When felting doesn’t work

I think most crafting blogs like to show the beautiful creations that they make, I know I do.  However sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them to.

If it is knitting, the undesired object can be “frogged”, or pulled apart.  The first time I did this I was upset at the thought of undoing all my work, but as the rows unravelled I felt a certain freedom knowing the yarn had not been “set in stone” and I could knit something new.

This month I have been working with wet felt, and found that unfortunately it is “set in stone”.  Once the wool has been felted it can’t be un-felted.  The scarves I have been making, (see previous post) look really nice, individually. When I look at them all together they make me feel a bit sick, (too many colours, – I should have paid attention to that feeling!)  But I didn’t, and when my dad asked me to make a large, felted wall hanging I said, “Okay!”

And I made one.  Just not very well.

I laid out the equivalent of 5 scarves in wool.  It didn’t fit on the table so I had to work on the floor, (not comfortable) and the biggest mistake; I didn’t layer enough wool under the silk/merino mix.  After all the work of getting the wool to look nice, wetting, soaping, and rolling I opened it up to see there were holes.  Lots of holes; some big, some long, and some just areas of thin wool.  Definitely not what I had imagined, and very disappointing.

felted wall hanging

I thought about patching up the holes with more wool, but it would have still been pulled out of shape.

So I got drastic and cut it into strips with the idea of weaving the strips together.  I laid them out in an open weave and needle felted the trips together.

Needle felting the strips

This took a while.

When they were felted together I attached a piece of wood to the back of the top strip to hang it.

On the wall

And it still looks bad.  The thin parts of the wool are stretching, one side is hanging funny…

I will take it down and see what I can do to make it better.  Maybe there is nothing I can do to make it look nice.  My oldest daughter said, “well at least you are learning”, which is true.  Sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan, which is what I like about working with wool, the unexpected results.  However I have to take the bad as well as the good.

I have some ideas for the wall hanging.  The strips can be unwoven, and maybe woven more tightly, or used as the weft with a different warp.  If anyone else has any ideas, please feel free to leave a comment.

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9 thoughts on “When felting doesn’t work

  1. Northern Narratives says:

    I certainly know the experience of starting something and having it not turn out as planned. But I really love your last photo of the braided wall hanging. It is not perfect and that is what makes it attractive to me 🙂

    • Thanks, I like that it is not so perfect too, but I am worried about the thin bits stretching and it becoming even more imperfect! I could frame it on all sides, but then it would lose the quality of being a fabric and the sense of movement. So going to think about it! 🙂

  2. I have had my share of wet felting failures, so I totally know how you feel. I think it was beautiful before and after you cut and wove!

  3. maybe you could needlefelt soe ore wool over the top – join soe of the areas together? or maybe lay more wool and refelt completely and use the texture of the woven strips as part of the design.

    I too liked it better before you cut it up tho

    • Re-felting the whole piece would be a good idea, it would make it hang better. But I am not sure how much more felting I can do to this wool. Must reach a point were it won’t felt any more.

      My dad liked it better before I cut it up too! 🙂

      Thanks for the ideas!

  4. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for sharing a less-than-perfect project! Most show only their best & favourite pieces, and I like that you shared a perceived “flop” with us 🙂

  5. […] been sitting around for a long time. A certain felting project that didn’t turn out right, (when felting doesn’t work) is finally […]

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