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Felted flowers necklace

Learn how to make felted flowers to create this lovely Ramblin’ Rose Lariat
Ramblin Rose Felted Lariat
Your rose can be draped around your neck as a lariat or worn as a belt.

Felting, like beadwork, involves intoxicating colors and an engaging process. The sharp definition of brilliant glass beads against the matte, light-absorbing surface of felted wool makes an intriguing combination. To get started, try this simple felted rose with a herringbone stitch calyx.

SUPPLIES

Lariat 72 in. (1.8m)

  • assortment of beads for embellishment
  • 20g size 8/0 seed beads, green mix
  • Fireline 6 lb. test
  • beading needles, #10 
  • 1 1⁄2 oz. merino wool roving, green (available at any specialty yarn shop)
  • 1⁄2 oz. merino wool roving, red
  • 2 yd. (1.8m) bubble wrap
  • Dawn dishwashing liquid
  • plastic grocery bag
  • roller (rolling pin, PVC pipe, or anything with a 1-in. (2.5cm) or larger diameter)
  • 2 pieces of yarn or old panty hose for tying felt
  • 2 towels

Editor’s Note: After you get the hang of felting, you’ll want to try color blending. Wool roving comes in a variety of delicious colors, and Carol Cypher often achieves a painterly effect by layering wisps of different colors over each other. Don’t be afraid to get in there and mix it up! 

INSTRUCTIONS
Ramblin Rose Felted Lariat fig
Figure

Calyx

1. Using a comfortable length of Fireline, pick up 16 8/0 seed beads and slide them to 6 in. (15cm) from the end. Go through the beads again to form a ring. Keep the tension tight, and tie the tail and working thread together with a surgeon’s knot. Go through the next bead after the knot (FIGURE, a–b)..

2. To work in tubular Ndebele herringbone (How-Tos), pick up two 8/0s and go through the next two beads. Repeat, picking up eight pairs of beads in this round (b–c). Step up through the first bead in this round (c–d).

Rounds 3–7: Continue working in tubular herringbone (d–e). Round 8: Increase, adding a bead between each pair of beads in the previous round (e–f). 

Round 9: Increase, adding two beads between each pair (f–g).

Rounds 10–13: Work in tubular herringbone, which now has 16 pairs of beads (g–h).

Round 14: Increase, adding one bead between each pair (h–i).

Round 15: Increase, adding two beads between each pair (i–j).

Round 16: Work in tubular herringbone, but don’t add beads to the increase, sew through them (j–k).

Round 17: Pick up one bead per stitch (k–l), sewing through the increase beads, as in the last step. [3]Sew through several nearby beads, secure the Fireline, and trim the tails.

Ramblin Rose Felted Lariat a
Photo a

Rope

Felting is a two-phase process. The first involves opening the fiber’s cuticle and pressing the fibers together. The second, called fulling, mats the fibers by agitation and pressure, producing a hardened and denser material. 

1. Pull wisps of green wool from the end of the roving and lay them on bubble wrap in a row about 2 ft. (61cm) long (PHOTO A).

2. Continue to pull more fibers, placing them on, and perpendicular to, the wisps in the first row. Continue building layers until all the fiber is used. Approximately 1 1⁄2 oz. of wool produces a rope that can exceed 2 yd. (1.8m) in length, depending on how thick you make it.

Ramblin Rose Felted Lariat b
Photo b
Ramblin Rose Felted Lariat c
Photo c

3. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the fiber lengthwise. Fold the bubble wrap over the fiber so it sits in the crease (PHOTO B). Gently roll the fiber back and forth for two minutes (PHOTO C).

4. To lengthen the rope, open the bubble wrap and grab the fibers with your hands about 8 in. (20cm) apart. Pull evenly, working your way along the entire length of the rope.

5. Dribble a few drops of hot, soapy water along the rope. Starting at one end, roll the wool back and forth for 30 seconds. Repeat to the end of the rope. Felt retains water when held horizontally, and sheds water when held vertically. To achieve a branched or crooked appearance, bunch it up and let it dry. Similarly, if you want it to spiral, coil it before drying.

6. After rolling the rope, increase the pressure and work from end to end until you reach the desired diameter. The rope should feel solid yet flexible. You should not be able to remove any of the fibers when you pinch the surface.

7. Rinse the rope in hot, then cold water. Place it between two towels on the floor, and walk on it to extract the excess water. Hang vertically to dry.

Rose

1. Work on a piece of bubble wrap with the bubble side down. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above, pulling wisps from the red roving. Arrange them in a rectangle approximately 5 x 18 in. (13 x 46cm).

2. Sprinkle the fiber with 1⁄2 cup of hot, soapy water.

3. Cut the plastic bag into one large sheet and cover the fiber with it. Flatten the plastic with your hands, pressing out any air bubbles and spreading the water throughout the fiber without disturbing it. Rub the plastic for several minutes without agitating the fiber, then remove the plastic.

4. Place the roller at the edge of the fiber and roll it into a tube. Secure it with a tie at each end. Roll it gently in the same direction for five minutes. 

5. Untie the fiber and place the roller at the opposite edge. Repeat step 4. Unwrap and pinch the fibers of the felt. If the fibers come loose, re-roll for another five minutes.

Ramblin Rose Felted Lariat d
Photo d

6. Leaving the felt uncovered, lay it across a new piece of bubble wrap with the bubble side up. Without using the roller or ties, roll the felt into a tube and roll it over the bubble wrap. Unroll the tube and re-roll it into another tube starting from the opposite edge. Roll the felt across the bubble wrap. Repeat 12 times to complete the fulling process.

7. Rinse the felt under hot, then cold, water. Squeeze out the excess, place the felt between two towels, and stand on it to remove any remaining moisture.

8. Create the rose by rolling the felt into the desired shape (FIGURE D). Manipulate the felt to form simple buds or full flowers with the petals curled over. Stitch the flower together loosely at the bottom to hold its shape.

Ramblin Rose Felted Lariat e
Photo e

Assembly

1. To attach the end of the felted rope to the small opening of the calyx (FIGURE E), secure a comfortable length of Fireline in the first several rows of the calyx. Sew through the felt, then through several nearby beads. Repeat until the rope is firmly attached. Secure the thread, but don’t cut it.

2. Use the existing thread to secure the rose inside the calyx. Sew through the flower and nearby beads in the calyx until the rose is secure. Weave in the thread and trim the tail.

3. Embellish the petals, rope, or any portion of the felt with beads as desired. 

4. Drape the rope around your neck or shoulders with the rose in front. The felt  can be further secured by a pin once you have it just right.

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