Friday, 13 December 2013

Making Needlefelted Flower Brooches and Hats

I recently discovered that Dorset Poll fleece needlefelts quickly into an open, bouncy fabric. Having made a brooch for a Herdwick hat,  I needlefelted another flower directly onto a bag I crocheted with the rest of the fleece. 
Herdwick yarn does not try to felt together when you scour a skein.  I put a small crocheted piece through a 95 degree centigrade wash cycle with some old towels and it barely shrank at all.  If this hat got dirty, it could go through the wash with no trouble, as long as the brooch was unpinned first.  It is good to know which fibres won't pill or felt with hard wear.  I've had a go at needlefelting with Herdwick and find it will mat up quite readily into a very open, hairy brooch.

Needlefelting the Dorset Poll gives a full bodied, but smoother effect.  After kind encouragement when I showed off the hat on Ravelry, I decided to blog about how I made the flowers. Inspiration for the general idea was a picture of a peony.  The needle and brooch back are from Adelaide Walker, roving was combed from the back end of my Dorset Poll fleece dyed with lichen. Felting onto the curved surface of a child's sponge football means the finished brooch has a three dimensional bulge, which works well for a blowsy blossom.

First,  stab the needle through the tail end of a darker shade of roving, curl the roving round, not aiming for a perfect circle, felting it on lightly.  Overlap slightly with an outer band in a lighter shade of roving, needlefelting round until you have the size you want for your brooch. Peel it off the sponge ball before it gets too stuck and needlefelt from the opposite side to firm it up.
Turn it back to face you.
Add shorter segments of pale roving over the top, a bit like the petals in the picture, then add darker curves like the shadows.

Attach the brooch back by felting a short stretch of roving first through the three holes in the bar, then along its sides. Finish by felting on stamens.

It occurred to me that I could make a hat by felting a whole half of the football.  A basic skullcap crocheted in yarn from the same fleece was stretched over the ball as a base.

Then roving was felted over the top in much the same way as the brooches.  I got a bit carried away with doing swirly 'petals'.  What started as a simple, if very pink, winter hat, turned into a madly exotic peony.   
My sister Pip is probably the only person who would wear this, so I gave it to her straightaway.  It actually works, if a bit liable to fall off.

The more pedestrian stuff is getting packed up for Christmas.