These are instructions for making a simple hanging 3D pod shape which will allow you to then go on and experiment with more shapes, sizes, openings etc. I’ve worked this in Blue Faced Leicester fibres but you can choose any to work with. I have presumed a basic knowledge of felting. I wanted an eye shape with openings to look inside and see what is hidden.
I begin seamless felted items with a resist. To get the right size I decide what size I want the finished item to be and add 40% to allow for shrinkage. Don’t forget to round off any sharp corners so they don’t poke through your fibres. I began the pod by drawing my template on paper first and then cutting it out in builders plastic. You can use any plastic for a resist and cardboard can be used once but it can be a little messy.
2. Making the hanging rope
I always make my ropes or handles first and then set aside for later. Pull off a length of tops 3 inches longer than your required size. You can put wire in the centre if you’d like it to bend and hold a shape without tying. If so, do this before wetting the fibres. Wet out the length of tops keeping one end dry. This dry end is how it will be attached to the pod later. Now begin rolling the tops in exactly the same way you would a length of clay, working your hands in and out across the full length. You’ll know it’s ready if, when you squeeze it, it bounces back to shape.
3. Laying out the fibres
I began by laying curly Teeswater locks and scraps of fabric onto the template. These will decorate the inside of the pod. Begin by laying a fringe half on, half off the resist and then fill in the centre. Your next layer of fibre needs to be at right angles to the first layer. Cover with a net, wet the fibres with soapy water and press through until the fibres are completely flat. Turn the resist over and lay more decoration onto the resist (for the inside again) and then fold in the fringe before repeating as above.
4. Adding a pattern
The resist should be completely covered by fibres and now it’s time to add any final decorations or patterning. I’ve added more curls and pieces of weaving in shiny threads. This is the outside of your pod.
Then it’s back on with the net, wet it out and rub lightly before attaching the rope. Attach by fanning out the dry fibres and laying them on both sides of the resist, then continue rubbing until the pattern is set making sure you work the edges of the resist too.
5.Ready to roll
Do the pinch test below, on each side of the resist. If the fibres stay together then you’re ready to roll. If the fibres start to separate you need to rub for longer. I use a piece of pipe insulation for rolling but you can use a broom handle. Wrap the whole thing up in the bubble wrap and roll 100 times. Unroll, the package, turn 90 degrees and roll for another 100. Unwrap, turn it over and repeat.
When the resist begins to buckle it’s time to remove the felt. Cut the resist open and rub the cut edges with soapy fingers to harden before removing the resist. Remove the resist then work around the edges with soapy hands to make sure ridges don’t form down the sides of your pod. I put it over my hand to do this. To full (harden) the felt you can continue to roll or throw it onto the table. The impact of the throwing shocks the felt into hardening and gives a more textured finish.
I made the curl to hang inside the pod by twisting fibres and yarns around wire. I then needle felted this into the dry pod – Finished!
If you’d like to see more pictures of the finished pod take a look at my blog.