Viscose is a type of material that goes really well with wool. In Russia more and more people are choosing to include viscose into their felt projects as it makes the felt more elastic, reduces bobbling and creates interesting decorative effects on the surface.
In felt projects either a minimal or a considerable (up to 60-70%) amount of viscose can be used. When you choose to use a lot of viscose, the finished garment takes on new characteristics while remaining strong and fine, itís easier to obtain the drapery and the final result creases less (if weíre speaking about clothing and accessories), and the other characteristics of the felt garment remain unaltered.
So thatís why I was over the moon to help DHG develop their viscose tops collection. It was something they just couldnít do without anymore!
Today Iíd like to show you how to make layers of viscose to decorate felt work. Follow me step by step and start experimenting straight away! Youíll soon see how easy it is to get amazing results!
16 micron extra fine merino wool tops†2 colours, about 100 g / 3.5 oz per color
Extra fine merino wool prefelt†3 m /† 3.2 y
Viscose tops, 4 colors about 110 g / 3.9 oz in total
Felting water sprinkler
For my project Iím going to use a two-colour prefelt that I made by using four layers of wool merinos. The measurements of the prefelt are†90 cm х 260 cm / 35" x 102"†and weight 110 g / 3.9 oz. However you can use industrial prefelt or you could simply roll the wool out and rub it a little bit until it has some sort of solidity.
For sure Iím going to use 4 colours (Passion, Leaf, Honey and Marigold) of DHGís viscose tops for the decorations - 110 grams.
Iím going to show you 2 different ways of making the layers of viscose, so you can choose which one you like best. Divide the tops into two parts to get a thinner ribbon, which will help to lay out the viscose more evenly. As youíll notice, laying viscose out has an added bonus: it doesnít have static electricity, so it lays out quicker and is more even. A real asset!
Letís start by stretching the viscose out. Iím working with pieces of 50 cm х 50 cm / 19.7" x 19.7" and bubble wrap.
TIP: place the bubble wrap with the bubbles facing upwards, so itíll be easier to separate the sheet of viscose from it after.
The piece consists of 2 layers: a vertical one and a horizontal one. It doesnít matter which one you begin with.
Bear in mind that for this layer I only used 10 g†/ 0.3 oz†of viscose.
Now wet this layer well using the water sprinkler to help you.
Cover the semi-finished product with the second piece of bubble wrap and wet it evenly as it has to be completely soaked. Then remove the bubble wrap.
One of the ways to set the viscose is to use starch, which you can prepare the starch glue yourselves (by simply boiling it) then using it to wet the semi-finished product.
However, itís also possible to buy liquid starch that is normally used for ironing, which is what I usually buy. One pack lasts me for a few medium-sized projects. Now cover the viscose with a layer of starch.
Then wet the sheet some more, after that without separating it from the bubble wrap, put it somewhere it can drip dry.
The second way of making a pure viscose sheet is to use simple soap for felting. Watch this.. Lay out the second layer of viscose and wet it with water, then cover it with the mosquito net and rub soap over it. The more soap you use the stronger the piece will be when itís dry.
TIP: when the semi-finished product is still damp but not dripping anymore, move it onto a towel, donít wait for the viscose to dry but put it onto the bubble wrap. Otherwise itíll be really difficult to move a piece so thin from the bubble wrap without it breaking. You can put the piece to dry on the radiator, a clothes horse or just on the table with the towel.
Once the sheets of viscose are completely dry you can continue. Itís important to note that the sheets that were done with starch seem stronger but both ways are ok for our project. Before cutting these pieces we have to go over it with an iron so that the fibres are laid out perfectly making it easier to cut them. Caution: donít iron the viscose if itís still damp as the fibres will stick to the iron ruining everything. If you need to use the iron to speed up the drying process, cover it first with some fabric.
Letís start cutting out the sheets of viscose fibre to make our decorations, which can be petals, leaves or geometric or abstract shapes. Donít make the designs too small and keep in mind that during felting any pattern can deform and even disappear completely. Working with a viscose this fine may even just leave small signs on the final product (but sometimes thatís just what we need!). Therefore itís essential to make a sample before creating the project so you can adjust the thickness of the sheet of viscose depending on what effect you want to have.
If I were you Iíd cut the edges as well as they melt during felting and so the edges donít tend to be clean. However if thatís the look youíre going for then thatís fine. These are my leftovers that Iíll use for another project.. itís not like they have an expiry date!
And these are my decorations: squares and strips. Itís much easier to use the cutter to cut out these shapes.
Itís time to use the wool prefelt.†Begin by arranging the decorations on the surface.
Now water it, cover it with the net and massage the whole piece until you get a good solidity and the viscose attaches onto the wool.
Roll it up on the roller and unroll it again, then turn it over.
This time decorate the other side in the same way.
At this point all thatís left is to felt your project! Roll it up on the roller, cover it with the bubble wrap and secure it with rubber bands to keep it from moving. Then roll it 100-200 times changing direction each time.
Now work on the edges.
Make sure you use the roller well, as this will make the surface of the final product smooth.
Rinse and dry your work, then iron it and enjoy!
So, how about this double-faced throw?