Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Needle felting experiments - Boucle

This is a fused landscape which has been machine needlefelted with a variety of novelty yarns (there is also some FME stitching over the fused fabric)  Using a variety of yarns makes your work look more natural and not so stiff and formal.

I have been experimenting with novelty yarns and braids and my embellishing machine to see what effects occur with different media.  It is important to have samples like this in order to find the right texture for a part of a project.
Each sample has been felted onto cotton and batting (and includes a strand of un needlefeted yarn to the extreme right of each picture), to see if there is any preference for foundation for the yarn type.  I also looked at the back (although I have not included pictures of this) to see both
  1. how well the yarn felted
  2. what effects and textures could be used
 I have not listed the composition of the yarn (most are synthetic) as I am nore interested in the construction of the yarn.  With machine needle felting, this appears to be more important.
I will look at one or two groups of yarn in each post as it would be very boring to look at them all at once.
Quotes (in italics) on yarn definition are from wikipedia
 "BouclĂ©, or looped, yarns are created by loosely looping an effect yarn around a base yarn. They can be made of any type of fiber and are usually composed of three plies, or strands, wrapped around each other. The texture is created by spinning one of the three plies more loosely than the other two."
This first boucle sample is a very wooly sample with two fuzzy yarns twisted around two dense cotton-like strands.
This yarn needlefelts extremely easily on batting (L) or cotton (R) and transfers to the back well with only one pass.  There is some puckering of cotton when felting on it.  This is a very useful yarn which can be used to fill areas easily.
This second sample was white and I have upped the contrast so you can see it better.  It was a very fine satin boucle.
This yarn distorts a little, shrinking up and requires a large amount of needling to attach it.  In the process, some sheen is lost as the fibres are pulled.  It also creates a large amount of puckering in the cotton foundation.

These to samples of boucle have highlighted a few observations I have made with machine needlefelting.
  1. Wooly, or fluffy looking yarns and fibres (whether they are made of wool or not) will needle easily and transfer to the back easily.
  2. Satiny or shiny, tightly woven yarns are extrememely hard to needle and cause distortion in the yarn itself and in the foundation.
  3. The type of yarn, eg boucle is not always a good indicator for needlefelting, it is rather the type of fibres in the yarn (fluffy or shiny/slippery) and how they are twisted that is important
If you want to use a satiny thread or yarn, it is better to couch it, so that the sheen is not lost, keeping the stitches well spaced and using a matching or clear thread.  (you could also wind it in the bobbin or do a cable stitch)
Hope these experiments were of interest to you  and of use in your own needle felting adventures.