, which as I mentioned at the time has no wool in it, hence the 'easy wash' .
The more I looked at this pattern, and all the different colourways I gave, the more I wanted to actually make it. And so here I am using the brown washable wool, Sirdar Bouffle
in shade 723 and Trimits Natural Roving
in Cream Beige.
I decided I would just cut out one piece (that needed felting on) to start with, just in case I hated doing it or indeed made a complete mess of it!!
I thought the best way would be to place a pin at all the points on the pattern which were ends of lines, where the lines crossed and centre of the circles. I took extra care checking each line and circle against my pattern piece and hey the next photo is the result. Lets face it you wouldn't leave it too long looking like it did in the above photo, so I immediately drew my lines and circles using a Clover Quilting Pencil
and a ruler. All ready to start felting!!
At first I used a single point felting needle to secure the yarn. This was done roughly every centimetre along the length of the yarn. At this point it can be removed very easily and re-positioned if required. The more you 'needle' over the length of yarn, the yarn becomes more 'fused' into the fabric. The pattern suggests to keep turning the fabric over and felt from the wrong side until the yarns are firmly blended. I found I didn't need to do this because I had felted it so much from the right side! I so enjoyed it. Part way through my first piece I changed to this felting tool
by Clover which is called a Pen style needle felting tool, this you can use with either 1, 2 or 3 needles. It does say in the instructions to use 2 needles when felting a line, as I am now with the yarn. I am actually using all 3, I suppose this is ok because of the width of the yarn.
I felted all the vertical lines first, followed by the horizontal lines and last of all I attempted the circles. I practiced first on spare fabric
I used the 3 tool for this also and then when the circle was complete I I used a 7 needle tool
(for speed) being careful not to let the needles go beyond the edge of the roving yarn. If it does go beyond the yarn I found there could be prick marks on the brown fabric and this did not look good. So careful does it! I have both a brush and a foam pad for felting on but for this project I found the foam pad
more than suitable. The circles were easier to do than I imagined once I got into it. You start at the centre and wind the roving yarn around. Again securing it to start with.
The felted design is different on all 3 pieces, these being the right front, the left front and the back.
Now on to the dressmaking part. This is pretty much straightforward, with there only being shoulder seams, side seams, sleeve seams, a long dart in the sleeves and actually sewing in the sleeves.
Now what to do with the edges!!
On the pattern itself, ready felted wool fabric has been used to make the jacket out of and it doesn't fray. Oops!!!! mine does fray. Now there are no facings on this pattern, indeed no seam allowances on the edges at all because if you use the 'correct fabric' they aren't needed. I didn't look through my instructions properly did I? (and there's me forever preaching to you about always reading through them haha). So yes I've boobed but hey ho lets have a look at what my options now are.
My first thought was to use bias-binding but I couldn't find an exact match to the brown nor could I find a contrast that I really loved, something that would have blended with either the Sirdar Bouffle or the roving yarn. My next idea was to use the Sirdar Bouffle and work a blanket stitch all around the edges. I tried to do it using a chenille needle but the yarn just did not want to be pulled through this tightly woven fabric. I then decided to attach the yarn using a zigzag stitch on my machine. After trying a few different stitches I realised the thread was always going to show. I wasn't happy with that so what to do now?
And then an idea hit me!! Felt it on. I wasn't happy with it at first till I realised it would be better felting it on the wrong side too, double the work!! This is the first sleeve done. What do you think? I'll give you my opinion when I've done a bit more (I don't want to speak too soon).
Guess what I've only gone and broke all 3 needles in one 'prod'! Do any of you lovely experienced felters out there have any tips for a beginner like me? I seem to have done so much on my jacket and then all of a sudden 'snap'. Maybe I was getting too 'cocky'! So when getting myself some new felting needles, I came across Clover Speed Needle Refills
. With these the 'barbs' are more concentrated at the tip of the needle, so the felting yarn can be condensed quickly with shorter strokes. Now there are only 2 needles per pack so I needed two packs. Although it's working out more expensive, I'm finding it much quicker and lets face it that's an advantage with how much work I've set myself!
Oh dear, I've spoken too soon, here goes another oop's. I've just read that if using the Pen style needle felting tool with these speed needles, it is recommended to use just 1 needle and here I am using all 3!! Well so far so good but we shall see!!
'Update' I've broken 3 more needles so I am left with just 1 needle out of my 2 packets. So I'm going to carry on with 1 needle as advised! Success for a while but I've now broken my last one. Please, please please fellow felters, have you any tips to share with me. I'm gonna be pulling my hair out in a minute so I'm off to make a cup of tea!
Haha well I'm back, I may have solved the problem of 'how many felting needles can be broken in just one session' saga. (It's surprising how a cup of tea helps). First of all it is very easy to start holding your needle on a slant, it must be held upright. I also realised that I wasn't re-placing the 'guard' over the needles!! On the following 2 photo's look at the length of the needles without the guard on compared to with the guard on. No wonder I was breaking the needles!!
I'm particularly pleased with how good the felting looks on these corners...
It really emphasizes the split level hem. I hope you like my jacket, I absolutely love it.
I love it that much I am now thinking of knitting or crocheting a jumper to go under the jacket in the Sirdar Bouffle, a long one so I'll get a fabulous layered effect. The patterns I have in mind are this sirdar knitting pattern
or this sirdar crochet pattern
. Either would have to be worked longer so will definitely take one ball extra, possibly two. I'll let you know if I do make it.
So after an expensive lesson learned, I'll say tara till next time.
Thanks for reading,