Monday, August 02, 2010

More felting & a recipe

I had a scarf for Mr6 laid out for a week before I finally got to felt it.  I wanted to try something I'd seen in a book whereby you embed marbles into the felt and use them as resists creating cell like structures as texture.  Mine didn't entirely turn out like the picture in the book but I've learned a few things along the way which may be useful for future creations.

Here it is laid out and sprinkled with soap before I put netting over the top.  The marbles are under the lime green ends.

Here it is wetted out and the felting process started.  It took quite a while actually.  I think the wool got cold very quickly and I've noticed the wool I got from Designscape seems to be harder to felt than the stuff from Kane Carding (the wool we used in the class).  I sopped up some excess and added some more hot water and soap (the white stuff on the ends) in the hopes that it would felt a bit more.

Working around the marbles was quite tricky.  Some of them popped through before I was finished which was annoying.  I did place them under 2 layers of wool but suspect more would have been better, however, that would have made the scarf too thick.  This technique would probably be better for things like bags.

Finally it was ready to roll 400 times.  The weight of the marbles meant I needed to wrap the outside of the roll with a tea towel so it didn't flop open all the time.

You can see one of those naughty escaping marbles here!  The fulling process has begun.  It gets folded up in the bubblewrap, wrapped in a towel and beaten against the table.

Now for the final fulling process.  Throwing it onto the bubble wrap!  Felting is quite physical work.

You can see the little cells the marbles make beginning to take shape on where the odd one has come out.  The scarf gets rinsed in clean water, then briefly soaked in a white vinegar/water mix to get rid of any remaining soap, and restore the pH of the wool to neutral.

Then the scarf must dry entirely before the marbles are cut out.  The final result looks a little like sea squirts, or the cells bumble bees make in their underground hives.

I made this recipe the other week - it was amazing.  I didn't bother with the individual pie thing, just served it as a stew with a mash.

Beef & caramelized shallot pies with cauliflower tops from Dish Issue 30, July-August 2010, p. 64

30 g butter
1 1/2 T olive oil
18 shallots, peeled but left whole
3 bay leaves
1 T sugar
1 T white wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper
1 kg chuck or blade steak
3 T flour
1 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 t Dijon mustard
2 cups beef stock

1 large floury potato (about 300g), peeled and cubed
1/2 small cauliflower, about 350g, cut into florets
45g butter
3-4 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
6x individual pie tins

Preheat oven to 170 deg C.

Heat the butter & 1 T oil in a large saute pan until sizzling, add the shallots, bay leaves, sugar & vinegar.  Stir well then reduce the heat & cool the shallots slowly for 10-15 mins or until lightly golden but still holding their shape.  Season with a little black pepper then remove from pan and set aside.

Trim the beef of gristle, cute into cubes and toss in seasoned flour.  Heat remaining oil in the same pan, add the rest of the beef & cook until golden all over.  Stir in the tomato paste & red wine letting the wine bubble away then stir in the Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and beef stock. (Have to be honest here and say I didn't bother with the browning step.  It all got dumped in my clay pot, including the wine... none of this "bubbling away business thank you very much!)

Transfer the mixture to a casserole and cover the surface directly with baking paper. (Didn't bother with that step either.  Am so bad).  Cover the pan and cook in the oven for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from oven and leave to cool completely, preferably overnight.

Topping: Cook the potato and cauli in boiling salted water until tender.  Drain well and mash with the butter and Dijon mustard.  Season and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line the pie tins with pastry and prick the base a couple of times using a fork.  Dived the cold filling & onions between the tins then top with the cauliflower mash.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins or until the tops are golden brown and filling is piping hot.  Serve with sauteed greens e.g kale.  Serves 6.


  1. That scarf look so cool ... love the cells at the ends :-) What does Tim think of it?
    Hows your arms after that workout hehehe

  2. Wow ... your felting looks fantastic. I really must try this :o)

  3. Fantestic scarf. And small world - I made the same recipe last week- the same as you as a stew not as pies!

  4. Fantestic??? (Where's the edit button?)

  5. You're enjoying your felting, I can see