Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Those who say they love you would never dare
Sister D's felted birthday present was a pair of pears.
The larger one, the container, I wrapped up and gave to her just after her birthday, a couple of weeks ago.
Then I borrowed it back to photograph it. This gave me the perfect opportunity to wrap it up and present it again on Sunday night when we had the long-awaited combined birthday party. She thought she knew exactly what she was opening, so I was sure to have the camera poised to capture her surprised face when she spied the extra pear tucked inside. (The first time around it was a pair of tights packed inside).
Here is the in-progress shot. The smaller one has been stuffed with wadding and waiting to be felted. The larger has been partly felted and then remodelled. I was always intending it to be a container with a lid, which I was going to knit separately. But I overestimated the amount of vertical shrinkage, having made the body too tall. And the opening at the top was too small to be useful, anyway. So I gathered the opening around a piece of icord for the stalk, and cut a new opening in about the middle. Then I felted the two pieces separately.
Cutting it open and re-felting caused it to bloat out into quite a fatty of a pear. (You can see it's still a bit taller and slimmer in this photo). After it was dry, I had to run some thread around the top edge of the lower piece to draw it in enough that the lid could sit on it and not fall in. The perfect pear colours came from a single ball of good old Sean Sheep Armytage, held double with similar colours of plain 8ply.
This project heralds a few firsts for me. It was the first time I have felted something stuffed, and next time need I need to stuff it a bit more - once again I overestimated shrinkage. I also tried out using a sink plunger to supplement my hand felting technique. Turns out to be excellent for getting a bucket full of items started a bit quicker. They still need attention by hand for the final stages.
Finally, I tried needle felting for the first time, to put a subtle red blush and some brown spots on the stuffed pear (after K encouraged me to do a little test piece first). Still, I found it hard to get a really thin subtle layer of reds. I'm still not totally happy with it, but luckily I am not a perfectionist. Room to improve next time.