Needle-felting by machine is an interesting concept but it takes awhile to wrap your mind around a new way of thinking.
The machine itself looks like a sewing machine. But there is no thread or bobbin. Periodically I would think ‘I hope I can finish this little segment before I run out of bobbin thread’.
In many ways this is like appliqué work—but without the tiny stitches or the freezer paper-glue sticks or needle-turn or fabric adhesives. Or perhaps more like water-color painting except your brush never gets dirty. And you don’t have to wait for it to dry.
We learned a lot of different texture techniques, ways to work with assorted fibers, and I filled my notebook with lots of samples. We also were urged to work from our photographs and integrate a color palette into appealing shapes and textures. The challenge will be to incorporate this technique in a way that does not feel forced.
I’ve done a bit of experimenting since then attempting to combine stitching with felting. Today’s project was a small case for my Spanish dictionary. I used Sulky thread over the rayon mix fabric lightly feathered with swirls of wool roving. The variegated thread seemed to work nicely and I still have some embellishing left to do on the flap. Somehow making something practical takes the fear out of making something successful artistically while I learn the practicalities of the machine and grow accustomed to it’s aesthetics.
In case you might be wondering, that ring on the side is from an India Ink bottle I spilled when I was about 4 or so. This desk is made from cherry and was a gift from my father to his mother. I inherited it as I had stained it one lazy Sunday afternoon. No doubt I was doing something artistic at the time.