Are you terribly bored of ombre yet? Oh, me too.
Except when I'm not.
What? I contain multitudes.
I've mentioned that I like felting - and I thought that the colour fades you can get, the soft wool finish, plus the seam-free construction would make felt perfect for a pocket to protect the screen of my iPad from scratching when I'm out.
also because I become paralysed by indecision when I consider actually purchasing an iPad wallet and yet I'm not sure that a padded mailing envelope or wrapping it in a t-shirt made for good long term solutions.
The theory of wet felting is pretty simple: you use heat and friction to get unspun wool fibres to mat together (or, um, felt) and shrink as they do so (into, um, felt).
If you want to make a simple pocket wallet like this, these are the main steps I followed:
(1) draw an outline about 1/3 bigger than your object onto a piece of cardboard (this should be a bit thicker than a cereal packet - the card on the back of notepads works well) and cut it out. This is your 'resist'.
(2) on a waterproof surface (like a kitchen countertop) lay down a sheet of bubblewrap, a piece of netting (like a scrap net curtain) then the resist.
|cardboard resist - merino wool tops|
(3) lay successive wispy, fine layers of unspun wool roving (merino wool tops - I got mine from here) over the resist - I used 6 or 7 layers, alternating direction (up-down : left-right) for each layer - with about a half inch overhang of wool around the edges. Unhelpfully, I didn't take any pictures of this part.
(4) place another piece of netting over the wool layers, pour hand hot, soapy water over it and gently pat it down (so the wool is wet and flat to the cardboard).
(5) flip the cardboard-and-netting-sandwich over (carefully so as not to disturb your wet wool), lift the netting and fold in the overhanging wool onto the cardboard resist. Then lay new layers of dry wool onto this side and wet it, just like in (3) and (4) above.
|kitchen counter - soapy water - bubble wrap - netting - cardboard resist|
(6) gently rub on it (like an un-sensual, not very sexy massage). Keep rubbing (ooh yes), very gently to begin with and putting progressively more pressure (come on), on both sides of the cardboard, until the surface fibres don't move around when you push at them (I lost it). Then you're ready to roll and shrink. Yeah.
(7) place the whole thing on a towel, put on a pair of rubber gloves, pour hot-hot water onto it and roll it up (towel, bubblewrap, wool, card and all) like a swiss roll around a cylindrical object (like a rolling pin). Roll back and forth vigorously on the countertop, with some downward pressure, rotating the wool/net 90 degrees and front-to-back every so often (as you are aiming for even shrinkage in all directions).
(8) when you can feel the cardboard inside start to crumple or crinkle, use sharp scissors to cut the opening (this is also where your iPad will slide in. Later. Not now. Don't put your iPad in yet.) and remove your sad, wet, buckled resist.
(9) keep rolling and wetting and rolling and turning etc until it is about the size you want. Every few rotations, stick your hand inside the pocket to check that the inside isn't felting to itself.
The key discovery I made this time around, in terms of time saving, is to use rubber gloves and water from a freshly boiled kettle (rather than just 'hand hot' tap water) when you get to the rolling stage. The shrinking goes so much quicker. SO MUCH QUICKER.
(10) when it is the right size, rinse the residual soap out under a cold tap, squeeze out as much water as you can and leave to dry overnight.
et le voila
(11) FEEL AWESOME. Have a nap. Feed your child. Smoke an electronic cigarette. I don't know your life.
I quite love it.
pics from my phone