I know what it looks like, but it’s not a pepperoni pizza. It’s actually the beginning stage of felt for a flower.

I love, love, love dots. So I decided to try making one of the layers of felt for one of my flowers dotty.  I chose white merino, un-dyed, for the background, and camel down, also its natural color, for the dots. Both wools were “pre-felted”, meaning that the process of felting was stopped just at the point when the fibers are starting to really hold together. Then I cut dime-sized dots out of the sheet of camel pre-felt and applied them to the circle of white merino. The piece has been wet through with warm water and a little olive oil soap.

After the pre-felt has been prepared, the “fulling” process can begin. The piece is placed on a sheet of bubble wrap, rolled up like a jelly roll and secured with rubber bands. I work on a baking sheet on my lap (usually while I’m watching television). I can do this because making jewelry means making things small. (It starts about 8″ in diameter and shrinks to about 5″.) I roll it and roll it, open the jelly roll, turn the piece a quarter of a turn, wrap it up again, and roll it some more.  You have to open it up to check on it and turn it occasionally because it shrinks in the direction in which it’s being rolled.  This would result in an oval instead of a circle if you didn’t rotate it during the fulling process.

Here’s the piece after being fulled and turned twice. You can see by comparing it to the first photo that it’s beginning to shrink. Woo-hoo! Felt!

When it’s fully felted (fully fulled?) and still damp, it’s very malleable. Once dry, it will stay in that shape.

Voila! The finished flower. The layers, from back to front, are: silk and alpaca, yak down, merino and camel down, merino and suri alpaca, with a little camel down bead in the center. All fibers are their natural color. It takes a lot less time to do the very free-form felting with “messy” edges, but I like the combination of those with the more controlled layers. And it also needs to have all the layers attached with a pin back added. I may or may not embellish the center with beads. It’s kind of busy enough the way it is.

Now I’m gonna order a pizza.


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