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DORSET YARNS: The Felt Canvas

Needle felted fibres from the Dorset Horn sheep
Gold Hill, Shaftesbury

Everyone loves merino wool for its bright colours, right? Felting pictures which look just like paintings, using colour and tone to form shapes and define boundaries? Well I still love all of that, but just of late I’ve been experimenting with a new kind of felt picture (of the illustrated kind!) I’ve come to the conclusion that felt is a wonderful canvas to draw on. And using a free machining foot on my sewing machine I can do just that.

And because it’s a local scene I’ve used local wool – fibres from the Dorset Horn sheep. The wool is needle felted, i.e is still soft and spongy enough to show off lots of texture, but supported from behind with a small piece of Vilene. I drew the design onto some Vilene Soluvlies 321 Solufleece (water soluble fabric stabiliser!!) and spent a concentrated 20 mins or so free machining all those lines, dipped the felt in some hot water and voila. Gosh, I hadn’t used dissolvable fabric since I left college – I’d forgotten how effective and magic it is, the fabric just vanished in seconds!!

I was going to make my Gold Hill felt sketch into a greeting card, but it took quite a while to do, and I doubt I’d be able to sell an A6 greeting card for £10… so I’m going to find a nice little frame for it instead….

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