Most of you will be familiar with my felt 'paintings'. If not you can click on the etsy mini to take you in to my shop for a browse. In order to achieve such detail I have to needle felt the fibres in to place before wet felting. Up until now I have used a hand needle felting tool like this
I only 'tack' the fibres enough to hold them in place and then wet felt to make a strong fabric. Needle felting by hand takes a great deal of time and does not do my somewhat delicate back any favours so I invested in a needle felting machine which looks like this
I can't felt layers of wool fibre together without a fabric backing. It may be possible but I haven't worked it out yet. However it is possible to integrate fabrics more fully into the felt. I even needle felted a silk carrier rod in to a piece of felt! Here are some of my first trials
The silk carrier rod is at the top left and as you can see it is bedded right down in the fabric. The splatter of gold at the bottom right was gold organza. I needle felted it so much that it actually broke up! I do think even that has possibilities though. It might look good in a sunset.
I also tried different yarns on a scrap piece of felt. I wanted to use them for grasses in a picture.
The yarn on the right was made from spun sari silk and very dense. It did not felt very well and to be honest I was worried about breaking the needles. The middle yarn is made from silk and felted in quite well. The one on the left is actually a piece of scrim and was really good as I wanted to make a picture with grasses in the background. It's not finished yet but I will show you when it is.
Next I decided to take a large piece of calico and see how different fabrics and fibres reacted. I tried all sorts of things with variable success. I then thought that this may be a good method for making original cards and decided on a heart motif. Unfortunately I needle felted a hole in the background felt fabric!
I also tried a small landscape card which was not very successful. In the photo above you can see my experiments.
Lastly I tried making two contrasting fabrics and cutting heart shapes out of one to apply on the other. This was a lot more successful and I made them in to cards which I listed in my etsy shop. A pack of 6 sold straight away and I only have singles left. I have ordered more card blanks because I think they will do well at craft fairs.