One of the things that stopped me going fully vegan was my love of needle felting. I was very sad about the idea that I would never play with fibres and colour combined again but didn't want to be a hypocrite. Enter the wonderful internet!!! I found out from google searching that you can felt with plant and synthetic fibres!!!! I had always thought that this wasn't possible if the fibres weren't some kind of wool.
I have the post by mythillogical of the myths and fabrications blog http://mythillogical.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/bamboozledexperiments-in-bamboo-fibre.html to thank for pointing me in the direction of world of wool world of wool website who seem to be the only company selling ready dyed bamboo,most company's sell it white,it felts when needle felted,I cannot vouch for wet felting as I don't do it. It is a different texture to wool,shinier and slippery and slightly harder to get to felt,it doesn't seem to mesh quite as well as wool fibres but still felts,I find it best to rough it up a little first by carding it between my dog brush carders!!!
This also makes it possible to mix colours together,the colours from world of wool are quite bright so if you like a more subtle palette mixing is the way to go. I have been experimenting with mixing mid tones to my main colours and got some beautiful orangey pinky colours.
My next test would be to use the fibres in a design. I drew out a mandala pattern and then hit a snag.....how to transfer the design to felt? You can't draw on felt to mark where you want the lines of your design...so I decided to stitch the areas of the design in running stitch and hopefully be able to pull them out later.
I then started filling in the colours and was pleasantly surprised how well they took to the background felt.in some places the background felt was starting to warp a little so I kept it in the embroidery frame for stability.i used my Janome Embellisher to smooth out the fibres but didn't linger to long in one spot as I am aware that the acrylic prefelt background is not that robust.
Very happy with the results so far and extremely happy to be needle felting with totally vegan fibres!!!i am embroidering gold lures thread around the coloured areas,this is how far I've got at the moment.
Guess what just got delivered? More felty goodness from world of wool,black and white bamboo so I can mix tones as well as colour and an interesting fibre called super right trilobal nylon rainbow top. It's much harder to felt and makes a fluffy mess everywhere but is so shiny and sparkly,I think it will make lovely highlights to a felted piece.
It's the rectangular sample at the bottom. Am excited about all these new fibres and am off to mix some new colours.