This last Sunday I taught the felted lantern cover workshop that should have happened in December but was delayed. I was teaching at the guild I belong to, Ottawa Valley Weravers’ and Spinners’ Guild.
It was a half day class. the biggest challenge with the lantern covers is laying out the wool thin enough to let the light through but with enough wool to hang together. They don’t need to be strong because the lantern will give them structure. For this class, I provided a glass vase so everyone would be working to the same resist size. You can use a large pop bottle with the top cut off but I would add some weight to it to make it more stable.
I had 5 ladies for this class. I showed them two examples of covers I made.
Everyone wanted the longer one so they could add wrinkles
I only just realized we ended up with just 2 colour palettes. the largest part of this class is taken up with layout and decoration. We discussed how you can add things to the inside of the cover that won’t show when it’s not lit up but will show as silhouettes blocking more light. A couple of people decided to give that a try.
It is hard to see on the last one but she is adding white and blue silk hanky pieces to the wool. they disappear as soon as they get wet. They will show up again later. You can see them a little in the pictures below. I think everyone had a great afternoon.
Two of my students sent me pictures of their covers dry and lit.
I hope the others will send me pictures as well. One was very thin and delicate and I think it will look amazing lit up. If they send them I will add them here.
I did have someone ask why I like to make covers rather than making them with a bottom. There are 4 reasons, first making a nice flat bottom that will allow the vase to stand properly can be tricky. A cover that is self-supporting needs to be felted much more or be thicker to be stiff enough. Having an internal structure gives you something to put the lights in and attach the controller to. And lastly, the container inside allows you to add water if you would like to use it for flowers.
I did finish the felting part of the 3 pieces I started last time.
First the lantern cover. I am not entirely happy with the way it felted. I was hoping it would be more solid. However, there was so much non-wool fibre it ended up very soft and holey.
It will still work for this application but it wouldn’t stand up to being a scarf. It looks cool just not what I planned. Sometimes that is the way it goes.
The first one is just on the vase the second is the lights turned on and the last is with the lights on in the dark.
The first picture felted up nicely. I used the thicker mostly felted prefelt I have and it is nice and firm after felting. It shrank a little but I was able to pull it back out to 5×7. I am not sure which way up it should go is it land and sea/stormy sky?
Or is it land and sunset sky? what do you think? I haven’t decided on what I will add to the picture now. Maybe some needle felting or some stitching or both.
The next one that wasn’t wet yet in the last blog also worked out very well. I felted it onto a piece from a fulled, woven wool coat. The fabric didn’t shink but the wool attached pretty well.
The embellishments are attached but look to be floating rather than part of it. I think I may rewet it and felt it some more. The embellishment fibres are not very well attached. I like it though.
After writing this I decided the wool was well felted so I would needle felt the embellishments in rather than rewetting it. They lost some of the brightness but I still like it.
I have an experiment to show you next time and maybe if I figure it out, some idea of what I will do with these pieces.
A while ago on Facebook someone posted they had made felt covers for lanterns. they had ordered a workshop in a box with everything in it but I like to figure things out myself. They didn’t look too hard to do. I think someone here might have done something similar here too but I don’t remember properly.
I started out thinking I wanted a clear plastic cylinder to use as the base. I couldn’t find anything, except, of course, I could find them with other things inside them. But then I went to the dollar store and found a tall glass vase for only $4. Available trumps ideal every time.
I started out working out the size.
then I made a resist to those numbers and one that was taller.
For the tall one, I was going for a landscape feel, grass, sand, water, sky. The layout is very thin so later the light will show well.
The second one was my granddaughter, Autumn’s choices of colour and sparkle.
The felting was easy and fast as there wasn’t much wool involved.
Here is Autumn’s cover
And with a string of battery-operated LED lights inside.
This is mine. The darker blue of the deeper ocean looks very green now. I think the scrunching of the water area adds some interest for when it doesn’t have the lights on.
And with the lights inside
Although they both look interesting with the lit up even in the daytime.
There are lots of interesting things you could do by adding a hidden design that only shows up when lit. You could create a scene on the outside and hide things inside that change the scene when lit. I wonder if you could write a message that would show up when lit. that would be a challenge. I would like to try a thicker cover and see how it works with the lights. I may work this into a short workshop. A fun afternoon or evening making lantern covers.