This Time It’s Felting!

Felted bag with crochet attached

Day Two of the WEA Hook, Yarn and Felt workshop at Helmshore Textile Mill Museum with our tutor, Shenna Swan, took place on Sunday 27 April on a bright, sunny, spring day.

We all met in the museum for our felting session. Anne (with an ‘e’) and I were both eagerly looking forward to the day.

Shenna had set out the felt making equipment for each participant: a large absorbent cloth upon which to work, a piece of bubble wrap and a large piece of net. The jugs, washing up liquid and soap were awaiting us at the sink. All we had to do was choose which colour wool tops we wanted to use for our felt. There were plenty of colours to choose from. I decided to choose something entirely different from my usual pink/purple palette: a soft peach. I also picked out some odds and ends of other colours to include in my felt. Anne (with an ‘e’) chose several shades of blue which worked well together.

Felted pouch with pocket
tacked in place

We were going to be making a bag using the ‘resist’ method. This is when something like a piece of plastic is used as a sort of template. Both sides of the template are covered with the fibre. The felting process begins with the template in situ and the ‘resist’ is removed before felting is complete. 

Shenna demonstrated how to layer the wool tops on the resist and we then copied what she had done. We continued through the process with Shenna demonstrating and us copying.

Felted bag with flap open and
showing attached crochet

During the felting, Shenna invited us to add a piece of crochet to our felt for added interest and texture. I used one of the pieces that I bought last weekend at the Antiques and Collectors’ Fair. Anne (with an ‘e’) decided not to include a piece of crochet at this stage. Because of the thickness of the crochet I chose, I had to tack it into place. Shenna said that she would normally leave the felt to dry before tacking into it but, of course, time constraints did not allow us to do that.

My attempts at attaching the crochet by felting were not entirely successful so I shall have to fasten some areas with stitching when my bag has dried. I shall also stitch the external pocket into place, probably with blanket stitch in the same colour as the crochet.

Open felted bag showing pocket
to be permanently attached

Anne (with an ‘e’) and I both thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and, in common with the other participants, were absolutely exhausted at the end of the weekend – but that was OK as it was all in the name of crafting!

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