Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Felted Owls

I love making things with wool.  It is such an ancient creative medium.  Recently, I have begun making sculpted owls out of upcycled wool sweaters that I "felt" before cutting, sewing, and embellishing the fiber pieces.

Mother and Child

"Felting" wool is a term that describes when wool fibers are tightly fixed together.  In this case, the 100% wool sweaters are washed in very hot water and dried in a hot dryer.  (Just the opposite of what you would normally do to a wool sweater.)  It causes the fibers to shrink and bind tightly to one another, effectively making the knit material become felt.  The loose ends no longer become an issue and the knitting will not unravel. 

"Needle Felting" is a term to describe when a barbed needle is poked back and forth through wool fibers, catching and pulling them together. The yarn around the eyes of these owls was "needle felted" on.  The fibers in the yarn intermixed (through repeated needle sticks) with the fibers of the sweater until they held together tightly. 

Papa Owl

Different sweaters "felt up" to have fun new textures. 


And the design of the original sweater adds to the character of each new owl.


Color comes into play.  As does stitching.

Eeny Weeny Greeny

Acorn hats of different sizes and depths make for perfect eyes.

Harvey and Jester are best friends

 And buttons sometimes provide the perfect pupils.

Whooooooo wants to felt with me?

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