Being relatively new on the scene, machine needle felting holds many secrets yet to be revealed. By experimenting with various fabrics and fabric combinations, one can discover some very exciting things.
In part one, I ended with the light green on dark green organza fabric. The first time I mixed the two colors and saw the resulting texture on the back side, I knew I had discovered a technique that could be used in art quilts and more particularly in landscape quilts. The appearance of this new fabric resembles the mossy looking growth on old tree trunks or rocks.
When ironed, it flattens out a little and makes a great fabric for leaves. It can be stitched, appliquéd, or used for 3D objects. Owing to its inherent sparkle, I believe it would also make wonderful insect wings, animal fur, and other such items. Such a promising fabric deserves a name, don’t you think? Maybe I’ll call it “Noah” cloth since the first thing I made with it was an olive leaf.
On the piece where I used the Carriff .50 stabilizer (used dryer sheets really do have a similar appearance to this product), I decided to go a step further and see how the Noah cloth handled fabric paint. Using a small amount of pernod Setacolor paint (transparent) mixed with water, I dabbed areas where the stabilizer peaked through. After it dried, I ironed the piece again (to set the color) and noticed that the paint had removed the sparkle from organza, providing me with more options to play with in the future.
As we saw in part one, the nature of polyester organza changes under the needle. In its original form, it is very sheer, unruly, and frays easily. After being needle punched to a light stabilizer, it loses some of its transparency, behaves beautifully, and becomes a non-fraying fabric.
Additionally, organza can be used as a base fabric for other felting projects, which it what we will turn to now for the fluffy pink flower. First, hoop a piece of organza whatever color you would like your flower to be.
Place a small amount of wool roving on top the hooped organza. I like to pull it apart and fluff it out so that there are no heavy areas. Beginning in the middle, slowly tack down the roving.
After the roving is secured, give it a more thorough felting, making sure you have covered the entire surface.
Remove the felted piece from the hoop and cut five flower petals. I cut one and then used it as my pattern for the remaining four petals. (Although we are going to take these little petals to new dimensions, you could use them at this stage for many other projects.)
Returning to your Embellisher or needle punch machine (you could also use a hand needle punch), take one petal at a time and very lightly felt a small amount of roving across the surface. Do this very slowly and only allow the needles to punch the fabric a few times in each spot. The goal here is to have a fluffy dimensional petal. Also, it helps to roll your roving into the shape of the petal before putting it under the needles.
You will now have five petals with a fluffy loft to them, ready to become a flower.
For the center core, I used a small round piece of felted organza left over from the project in part one. You could just as easily use a piece of craft felt. To aide in the flower’s symmetry, dab a tiny amount of fabric glue on the back side of the inner points and positioned them evenly around the yellow circle.
Next, turn the flower over to the back and needle punch around the yellow circle, securing each of the five petals.
You may like your little flower just as it is at this stage, or you may like to embellish it further; the choice is yours to make. However, if you used a piece of felted organza for your center, observe the effects on the front of the flower. Notice that the organza fibers felted through to the front of your flower and graced it with their sparkle.
To complete the flower as pictured in part one, take a small amount of yellow roving, form it into a little ball, and needle punch it in the center front of the flower.
As a finishing touch, sew some seed beds around the circumference of the center. You now have a lovely little flower that will add beauty wherever you plant it.
There were a few other serendipitous surprises as I worked with various fabrics. I’ll be sharing these with you in the near future so stay tuned.
N. Rene West