Unbelievable as it may seem......after our paper making and silk paper making.....yup....Nancy led us through one more lesson before we departed for home, exhausted and happy.
We made large felted flowers.
Here's one of Nancy Bruce's samples.
We begin again with our lipped trays, covered with a plastic mat. At ready were a large piece of netting and a bubble wrap bag.
Carol Sloan prepared these amazing crochet flower centers, Nancy provide covered buttons.....again, the talent in this group is awesome.
We begin with Nancy's hand dyed wool roving (left) and to add some brighter touches, we will incorporate some bamboo/rayon hand dyed roving (right).
This was the beginning of my flower.....
Using a 12" length of felted wool roving rope......we frayed one end and inserted it into the center of our pile of roving snips. (It will become our stem.)
Now it's covered with netting....
Then it's wet with very soapy water....rubbing fast and hard, back and forth to begin the felting process. If you could look at a wool fiber under a magnifier, you'd see small barb-like fibers surrounding the central strand. When these fibers are wet with soapy water....and rubbed/worked vigorously, they get tangled together......the more you rub and manipulate the fibers, the more hopelessly they become embedded, ultimately turning the fibers in a solid mass.
Rub, rub, rub.....back and forth, side by side.....hard, vigorous, adding soapy water constantly.....this takes time.
When the fibers begin to felt......Nancy instructed us to squeeze out the moisture. Mine above has become more solide and beginning to look like a flower bud...
Now we placed our flower into an unsealed bubble wrap bag......and microwaved it for 30 seconds. Our meeting was held at Judy Simmon's home.....she is another expert dyer and reminded us to use a microwave that is devoted to these activities....NOT your kitchen microwave.
When we removed the bag from the microwave.....we began throwing the bag onto our tray....over and over again. This action helps the fibers to continue to 'felt' together...making the flower thicker and strong. At first the bag is HOT.....notice Val's careful handling of her bag.
The final step was to rinse away all the soap and squeeze out as much remaining water.......at this point the petals can be trimmed with scissors to achieve the look you'd like. They were placed in jars to dry in the sun. Mine (left front)....has more sheen because I used some Bamboo/rayon along with the wool roving.....everyone else used all wool which has a slightly duller appearance.
After taking it home.......I decided to bead several long stamens instead of using the crochet center.....mainly because the color of the center I had didn't coordinate with my flower very well.
I also stitched spirals of beads on the outside to tighten the base of the flower....and ran them down the length of the 'stem' to stiffened it. I plan to display it in a tall bud vase.....
I hope you've enjoyed these blog reports of the latest Fiber Junkie meeting.......a big thank you goes to our very talented members...... Our leader for the day - Nancy Bruce, our hostess - Judy Simmons, and grateful members - Pasty Thompson, Val Mcgaughey, Carol Sloan, and Mary Stori.