I’ve been working on a big project – big for me anyway – felt mats to form part of the centrepieces at a wedding reception. The mats are around 41 x 68 cm each and there are 13 of them! The colour scheme is purple and turquoise with gold so I enjoyed working with those.
I’ve managed a rate of about two mats every three days over the last few weeks, fitting them in round other things and I couldn’t have done it without the generous instructions for tumble dryer felting provided by Treetops Colour Harmonies on their web site. I added a couple of notes to myself regarding the process. One is to use the biggest heaviest towels that will fit in your tumble dryer for the fastest felting. Another is that when smoothing out the plastic layers between tumbles, if you use the backs of your hands and not the palms the plastic doesn’t drag. I started off using painter’s dustsheet plastic but found it not very durable and quite difficult to handle. For the size I was working on, cut up kitchen bin liners worked fine and one liner did all the mats and is still going strong. Plastic dustsheets come in huge sizes though so they would be a better option for bigger projects.
To keep the size and shape uniform I made samples beforehand and kept notes of the amount of fibre to use for each layer – a good discipline for me. The mats have three plain layers and then the decoration. Each one is decorated slightly differently. I decided early on that it would be good to have something lasting at the end, so the mats are only lightly fulled and still have plenty of shrinkage in them. After the wedding I’ll bring them home and finish fulling them to produce smaller table mats for the bride and groom to keep.
I’m committing them to the postal system shortly – wish me luck!