Thursday, January 29, 2009

Working in Circles - Part 4, Felt

So Many Felt Circles

A leisurely browse through some Etsy treasuries and shops led me to discover that felt circles can be very interesting and also very practical. The first discovery was this captivating felted centerpiece by Etsy seller Kthurm who makes some beautiful felted table runners and centerpieces that you can see by following the photo link into her Etsy store.

The wonderful color variety in this piece is what initially captured my attention. Then I became captivated by the organic feeling and the sense of movement. It seems like those circle cells are in motion. They may be participating in some special choreographed dance or random exercise. They may be multiplying and increasing in number. Some of them are trying to run off the very edge of the centerpiece.

After the dazzling centerpiece, the next discovery was penny rugs. I had never heard of them, so I Googled and found a good description, along with some history, in this article.

In the olden days you had to painstakingly cut out all your own circles from your scraps of wool that you had saved for years--leftovers from all those clothes you had made by hand or sewn on your treadle sewing machine.

Today you can buy this kit and all the circle cutting has already been done for you! Doesn't that sound like an engaging winter project! For other kits and supplies, follow the link under the photo to the ragamuffin2006 shop.

The penny rug is not just for walking on--it is also a work of art. You don't have to put it on the floor. You could put it on the wall. Take this next piece, for example, by Etsy artist, baumcat.

This work of art, as the artist describes it herself, is very tribal in appearance. To me it has a magical, healing quality and seems to promise the rediscovery of some long forgotten abilities. The artist says in her description that this piece was inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs for blessings and peace.

Single Circles

I don't know about you, but I am getting more and more inspired by circle work. You don't have to go full out with the myriad circle approach if that feels overwhelming. You can make a simpler felt circle project.

Last year I made some super hot pads for the kitchen by felting some berets that had gone bad. I just took off the rolled brim band and threw the crown of the beret in the washer and dryer a few times. You could also felt up some recycled sweaters and cut them into circles for coasters or hotpads.

Here is a fancier application using just two single circles--Etsy seller, MountainMist, made these two pincushions out of two felt circles and then added some decorative embroidery and wool stuffing. These are both currently for sale in her shop if you follow the links.

This little bird is so cheerful and cute that I think I'd feel guilty using him for a pincushion. I would add a little ribbon loop, and turn him into a cheerful ornament. Then I would hang him up high so that sweet kitty Samba, who loves red things, and loves birds even more, wouldn't go after him.

This second pincushion is also made out of recycled wool. This one has been embroidered with some of MountainMist's hand-spun mohair in a yummy creamy white.

Another great idea for a felt circle is to make a brooch. Just look at this lovely photo of a felt brooch that was made by chimaerashop. The photo has it all--a pretty felt brooch with a spiral design in hand embrodiery, laying on a bed of lovely knitting.

Wow! so many fun things can be done with felt circles. Thanks to all of you great Etsy artists for letting me share your work! Readers, think of supporting these artists by buying handmade.

Next, think of fun things that you could make out of a felted circle:
  • earrings
  • a brooch
  • a coaster
  • a placemat
  • a centerpiece
  • a rug
  • wall art
  • components for jewelry
  • game pieces
  • a badge
Stretch your thinking some more--What else could you make? Leave some brainstorming ideas for felt circles in the comments!


Rag-a-Muffin Collectibles said...

Very nice article, thank you very much for featuring my penny rug kit.

Cat said...

Great finds! I love all the circle art you have featured!