I spent some of yesterday and today wet felting a couple of bowls. I haven't done any felt work for a while and really felt in the mood. The trouble with wet felting is that you can't really start and stop it, you have to pretty much finish the whole felting process in one go. That means you need to have a spare few hours to make anything, which is sometimes easier said than done.
This weekend, I knew I would have some spare time, so made a note in my head to definitely do some felting. I had been wanting to try out a couple of bowls for a while, so that is what I decided to make. They are really easy to make as you simply use a ball, in this case a football, as a mould to apply the wool to. I used some knitting wool to start with, in two colours, just for interest and then used a variety of complimentary colours in merino wool. Once you get started, keeping the wool on the ball is actually quite easy.
I gradually built up layers using the colours I had chosen, applying soap and water as I went to help the felting process. Once I was happy with the thickness, I finished with a final layer of dark blue merino which I spent quite a long time rubbing with soap to ensure a good felt. When I was happy with the stability of the felting, I put the ball into the washing machine on a 60 degress cycle. This ensured that the felt got a good pounding to mesh the fibres together and also rinsed out all of the soap I had used. I didn't add any detergent to the cycle as a lot of fabric detergents have any felting chemicals in them to protect your clothes.
Having been spun at the end of the wash cycle, the ball was fairly dry when I took it out. I gave it a quick iron to flatten the fibres as it was looking a bit fluffy and then came the exciting bit, cutting it open. As you work from the inside to the outside, you are never quite sure how it will turn out. I have to say I was really pleased with the resulting bowls.
One bowl I decided to simply sew on a felt flower made from matching merino wool. The other bowl, I thought I would be a bit more ambitious and apply some beadwork to the outside. I threaded pink, green and blue seed beads onto beading wire and then sewed the length of beading onto the felt bowl. I think both options have worked well and I really don't have a favourite between them.
The vibrancy of the colours of the wool always really appeal to me, which is why I think I love felting so much. Also the softness of the merino makes objects really tactile. I guess felt bowls aren't very practical though, a bit like a chocolate teapot! They are definitely more decorative than anything else.