Felting Fish

On July 16, 2013 by Darian Lajoie
IMG_20130512_122613Well, I have not done any felting for a bit, but decided to post some shots of some fish I was working on a while ago, one of which now lives in my downstairs bathroom. So the type of felting I do is called needle felting because you do it with a needle.  A felting needle, that is.  You can see the needle in this shot, sticking into a fluff of wool.  The needle has tiny barbs along its length which pull the wool fibres against each other and gradually mesh them together tighter and tighter as you continue to poke the needle into the wool. That is right – there are no knots or stitches or patterns.  You literally just poke a ball of wool with a needle.  The wool is called roving.  It is wool that can be dyed or undyed and has not yet been spun into yarn.  So it is just a ball of wool fluff to begin with, but as you poke it, you shape it into the size and shape of the thing you want to make.  Sounds weird, doesn’t it?  I know.  That’s ok. IMG_20130512_122737   This picture shows the same ball of wool after about half an hour of poking.  I think I should have taken another shot or two in the process, but, well, I didn’t.  I’ll know for next time.  So you can see that I have shaped an approximation of a fish body and a tail. You can keep felting until the object is quite firm, but it will hold its shape with much less felting as well, so it’s really a question of personal preference.  I like my felted objects to be firm but not too hard.  Sounds kind of rude, but you know what I mean.     IMG_20130512_131814Now that I’m happy with the body and tail, it’s time to add some colour.  I take little fluffs of coloured roving and just poke them right on top of the body.  At first they are very fuzzy, but I just keep poking until I’m happy with how it looks.  If I were making a very fuzzy creature, I might choose to felt the colour on lightly, so it will look fuzzier and less sleek.  You can see where the needle is at the end of the fish’s body that I have not quite finished because it still looks fuzzy. The reason I do the main form in undyed wool is that it is less expensive than the coloured wool, and you generally need more for the main form than you do just to colour it. In the next shot, I’m adding another colour for the bottom half of the fish.   IMG_20130512_135514   For the top and bottom fins and for the tail, I’m going to combine the two colours I’ve been using and make a darker purple by using two small carding combs to gradually comb the strands of colour together into one uniform colour.  In this shot you can see the two colours I started with, and the dark purple they made.  In the following shot you can see the carding combs, which are like little hair brushes with slightly bent bristles. IMG_20130512_152017 IMG_20130512_152055           Here are the two combined colours.  This fish is finished but I have not hung it or made bubbles or accents to go with it yet, so I’m going to put in a few pictures of a finished fish that I felted some blue bubbles for, and hung from a pair of chopsticks.  I strung the fish and bubbles on fishing line so the hanging line would be invisible.  The chopsticks were just hanging around, so I used them.  A dowel might have looked more professional but what the heck – I recycle.  And I think they look fine…also, hey! Suishi!  Get it?  Fish?  Chopsticks?  See?  I did it on purpose. IMG_20130512_152925IMG_20130513_190154                 I have added felted eyeballs, spots and stripes to this guy just by rolling, twisting and placing wool where I want it, and then felting it in place. IMG_20130513_190109IMG_20130513_190101               IMG_20130513_191222IMG_20130513_190032               IMG_20130513_191302   And these last three shots show the fish hanging in my bathroom.  Bloob bloop!  Feel free to email for more detail or questions.  I’m not really writing this blog with exact instructions for making things so much as to give a general idea of how I do my art projects.  Thanks for reading!

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