It's finished! I took advantage of a strangely warm Saturday to put the finishing touches on my octopus rug. It needed one last round of wet felting to smooth things out and firm up a bit more, and being a wet and messy process, I like to do this outside. Even though it was the first week of March, I was comfortable out on the deck without a jacket. Felt good to be working out in the sunshine.
Here's a picture of the rug rolled up in plastic, ready to roll:
The soapy hot water helps the fibers relax and open up their scales, and the rolling makes them slip past one another and lock on to eachother. Here are some photos of the rug after I finished felting the final time, but still wet and soapy:
A nice place to make some felt:
Meanwhile, back in the house, Willie takes a nap while Henry climbs the stairs. Being a nanny wears Willie out! (Don't worry, Willie wasn't the sole babysitter while I was felting - there were some human adults around!)
I joined a critique group of the local chapter of the Surface Design Association, and brought my octopus rug to the group for feedback a few weeks ago while it was still in progress. I had mentioned that I intended to use the piece as a functional rug, but the group felt it should be a wall piece. Willie had really taken to lying on it while I was working on it, and scratching it up (and undoing my work), so I decided to take the critique group's advice and hang it on the wall. I'll have to make another rug just for Willie. I sewed a dowel onto the back, and voila!
This is the finished piece hanging on a wall:
And a few closeups:
I was surprised that the golden silk threads really faded with the second wet felt. They started out more saturated yellow and became more straw colored. I think perhaps the dye was not fixed well in these reclaimed threads (I did not dye them - they were purchased as a bunch). The magenta threads seemed to hold their color fine. Nevertheless, I still like the effect they give.
This is my favorite section of the rug. I like how the tentacles seem like they are flowing and undulating (at least they are to me).I plan to hang it on my purple wall, next to my eels. Hopefully eels and octopi get along.
And a few more pictures of my beautiful boys, and thanks to Brian for granting me some time to finish my rug!