Monday 2nd February was our last day working on the large felt wallhanging inspired by the work of George Bain. If you have not read the two previous posts about this project click here.
There were some knotwork sections that needed the tramlines emphasised and the two zoomorphic sections needed a bit more detail. In addition, it was decided that the center section should have a defining border. It was an entertaining morning with lots of good conversation - and coffee breaks with some more good cake.
We took a break for lunch and then, after we were happy with everything, we turned the felt over so we could work from the back to re-inforce the needle felting. At this point we were joined by Donald Matheson - he had just started as a trainee at Groam House Museum that morning and was being shown around by the chairman. He was a bit reluctant at first, worried that he might spoil our efforts but when we showed him how easy it is he quickly joined in. For this part, we did a bit of musical chairs, all shuffling round the table every few minutes so that all parts got the same amount of needling.
The first part was to wet down the felt with more soapy water. Over the last three sessions the felt had dried out considerably, but it was still damp and given that it was spending the time between sessions in a cold garage, we used very hot water to wet it down again.
After everyone had had a go, we took away the 4 foot wide bamboo blind and replaced it with two blinds that together made up the 8 foot length and rolled across the width. This required a larger team. We tended to come a bit unstuck at the join between the two blinds, so we repeated the process with the felt turned round the other way.
By the end of our rolling session the felt had shrunk from 120 x 240 cm to 110 x 220 cm - it always shrinks in the direction in which we are rolling - hence the need to roll both long way and width ways.
Then, we quickly pinned a tube of fabric onto the back so that we could hang the felt up to see what it looks like in its vertical position.
The clothers rail that I had brought along for the purpose was not quite tall enough, but a couple of people held it up while I took a photograph.
We were all sufficiently pleased with the results of our five day project that we felt it warranted a group photo - even though the bottom had to rest on the floor. Fortunately Eileen had had the foresight to bring along a small tripod so we were able to use the timer and get everyone in.
Didn't we do well? !!
All that remains is for me to take it home and rinse out all that soap..............
4th FebruaryI spent the evening treading, kneading and swishing in the bath, rinsing out the suds and getting the final shrinking.
After hanging over the banister at the top of the stairs, it is now completely dry and all I have to do is stitch a strip of velcro onto the back of the top edge for hanging, and a tube of fabric to the bottom edge to take a metal bar to weight the bottom. Final size is 100 x 210cm.