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Fall felting: Pumpkin Workshop

These photos and instructions are from Nadine Papp’s wet felting workshop at the Cultural Centre. On Saturday October 24, she led us through the step by step process of creating a miniature felted pumpkin. Hopefully this write up will inspire you to try a bit of felting at home!

– Shannon Quigley

Make a mini pumpkin

Materials:

  • Wool for felting – Corriedale wool tops work well. Others like merino are better for wet felting. Here is a guide to different wools. Search etsy for corriedale tops or roving (you can filter by country if you want to find a Canadian seller).
  • Felting needle (optional) – spiral gauge 38 is a good medium sized needle for quick felting
  • Fabric
  • Needle, thread and scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • A baking tray
  • Hot water and soap in a bowl
  • Dog hair brush (optional)

Step 1: Make a ball of fabric

  • Ball up a small piece of fabric and stitch it to create a ball.
  • You will use fabric ball as a base to felt around. When wet felting, it’s helpful to start with a shape. You can also do wet felting around a rock or bar of soap.

Step 2: Create layers of wool

  • Pull apart very thin wisps of wool. Lay them flat to create your first layer, with all the fibers going in one direction.
  • Keep building layers, with each layer going in the opposite direction, until you have 6-8 layers of wool.
  • Make your orange layers about two thirds larger than your fabric ball.


Step 3: Start felting the pumpkin

  • Wet felting binds wispy wool fibers together with hot, soapy water and friction.
  • Start by mixing together hot water with a bit of soap in a bowl. Natural soaps with olive oil work well.
  • Put your orange wool layers on a plate or baking tray and use a spoon to pour hot water into the centre. Leave the edges dry if you can.
  • Put a layer of plastic wrap on top of your wool. Rub the centre of the wool in circles to bind the layers together. Again, leave the edges dry and ‘unfelted’ if you can.
  • Put the fabric ball in the centre of your orange felt. Twist the extra wool together at the end to make a little parcel.
  • Wrap your pumpkin in plastic wrap and roll in between your hands to felt it together. Dip it in hot water every once in a while.
  • Rub the ball between your hands to create friction and bind the fibers together. You can keep the ball wrapped in plastic if you like – it can help create a smoother finish.
  • When most of your pumpkin has been felted – remove the excess wool by tearing it off very gently or use a dog’s hair brush if you have one.
  • Use a dog hair brush or pull at the extra felt to remove excess wool.
  • Once the extra felt at the ends has been removed, keep rubbing the ball (wrapped in plastic wrap) between your hands until you can’t see the rough edges anymore and you have a finished pumpkin shape.

Step 4: Create felt for leaves and stem

  • Repeat the process of layering small amounts of wool with green.
  • Create two piles – one for your leaves, and one for your stem
  • For the leaves – pour hot soapy water over the entire pile of felt, cover with plastic wrap and rub with your hands to create a layer of felt that you will use to make your leaves.
  • For the stem – only wet half of the pile of wool. Roll the wet half together to create a stem. Try to keep half of it dry. The dry end will be used to attach the stem to the pumpkin. (I got mine whole stem wet because there were puddles on the plate).

Step 5: Add the stem & rinse

  • Attach the frayed edge of the stem to the top of your pumpkin. Use hot soapy water and friction to bind them together. Use a needle felting needle or a regular needle and thread to do touch ups at the end if your stem needs help staying on.
  • Rinse off your pumpkin once you’re finished felting – this gets all the soap out

Step 6: Add the leaves

  • Cut out leaves our of your green felt and stitch them on to your pumpkin.


Step 7: Leave to dry!

  • Leave your pumpkin to dry out in the sun or on a window sill. Enjoy!

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