Wet felting tutorials

Marie Spaulding takes you very carefully through the felting process she uses so that you can see and understand completely. Jan sent these links to us because she knows we like to learn new things or improve our skills. These videos and the LivingFelt channel provide very comprehensive help with regard to felting.

The bamboo,wooden mats can be a bit hard to come by these days. In our area there is a shop called Ishka which sells them.   The plastic, non slip matting can be found in the cheap shops and you can buy it by the roll and cut it to size. One of the Instagram felters uses plastic with a wider mesh so the gaps are about 1cm. She too, makes little felted bowls and pots.

Part 1 of the video is at the top and part 2 is at the bottom of the post.

You can also find some written instructions for resist wet felting on FiberArtsy.

It’s all Clarrie’s fault!

needle felted diaporamaAlan is someone who shows us how to just take life’s experiences, good or bad, and make them work for you. His flexible thinking has enabled him to take on so many creative opportunities because Alan sees everything as a challenge rather than a block. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you his story this week:

Like some of the wool we spin up, our Alan is indeed a rare breed! He is one of four precious males in our group. To be cherished and wondered at. But not merely because of his rarity but because of his  prodigious output of felted articles. When I mused that he must have made good money out of all this, Alan assured me that has not been the case. He has given away most of his creations!

In 2008 I brought my wife Andrea along to Seaford Spinners to get some advice about her craft work. (You Tube does all that nowadays) The 3rd time I brought Andrea along, Clarrie waylaid me and I just went on from there.

Prior to that I had no experience of spinning at all. I had gone to a felting workshop in Tasmania instructing us on how to felt a hat. I later learnt how to make beanies. But I used the advice given there, as what not to do when felting a hat! So I was a raw recruit when Clarrie got on to me. I used the worst wool imaginable when I started spinning. Short  dirty wool. It was like an anchor rope . I remember Clarrie saying ‘If you can spin that, you’ll be able to spin anything!’   I eventually  got enough wool spun up, to make a really good beanie. Someone else knitted it for me.

I use a circular loom now to make beanies because I’ve never really got into knitting. I leave that for Andrea who is a really good knitter.  (who does remarkably delicate gossamer work.)

As I watch Alan spinning silk looking nearly as fine as a spider web, I think he’s achieved amazing quality and output since his relatively recent debut in 2008.

In 2009 I called in on Highland Felting in Oberon NSW. I bought a book, some foam, some needles and some batts. I had a 10 minute verbal instruction on how to make a hat. Then I went back to the campground where we were staying in Canberra and made one! I’ve made a lot of hats since then. I’ve run workshops here and at Aldinga. I’ve also made some big felted bags, scarves and wraps.

One year we all had to make a doll to hang on the Christmas tree. Most people knitted theirs, but I felted mine. It was a figure that was me.

I started needle felting when doing hats and since then I’ve felted a lot of 3D miniature doggies. One year for the Royal Show I made stand up figures of me and the group of 7 dogs I was showing (See that amazing picture).I won 1st prize for that. I’ve even felted fish! I’m currently needle felting a picture of a poodle, and I’m using dog’s hair. I use a colour print on the paper, and I work on either a canvas or paper. If its paper, I just pull it away when I’ve done my felting. When using a canvas, I can print up the background and needle felt the dog straight on to that.

So here I am today busy with my felting, and thinking it all started with Clarrie, rounding me up and teaching me to spin. So you could sort of say that all this is Clarrie’s fault!   (and what a marvellous fault, dear Clarrie!)

Felting workshop

The felting workshop was a triumph! Why?  Because by the end of it , those who participated were all energised and confident. They had the felting bug! Last year’s workshop which Sheila ran was to help Marina and Cathy understand what wet felting meant, what the processes were and how you went about wet felting. By the end of it they knew what they could and couldn’t do, they could see what the possibilities were and they could follow it up with some sense of understanding. This year’s felting workshop , run by Jan, was about improving our skills. Those who participated were making a pair of baby booties. Jan co ordinated it all, Alexis facilitated and Pam and Karin did the pop in on the participants to offer some gentle help and guidance. We were all enabled. We were pointed in the right direction and then we had to experiment and trust ourselves . We were then given ideas and techniques by Jan and Alexis so we could improve. By the end of the workshop we all had a pair of booties, we were all wildly enthusiastic and we all had a confidence in being able to felt. Sonya thought she should have a certificate for being the most improved. That’s the thing. When you do something, and at last reach that sense of achievement, it does make you feel you are finally a success! The workshop was such fun and we all loved it. Even those who didn’t participate were happy for those who succeeded in their booties. Having a cheer squad just added to the positive aspect of the day.

We thank Jan for all the time and effort she put into organising this workshop. We thank Alexis for giving up quite a bit of her day to help us do well and we thank Pam and Karin for noticing when we might need help.

We used this site  by Sally Gullbrandsen- how to make wet-felted booties – to help us.

felted slippers

Needle felted poodle

standard poodle needle feltedWe’d like to congratulate Alan on this third place prize at the Royal Adelaide Show this year for his needle felted poodle. It is a replica of his own award winning standard poodle and he used the hair he had brushed from her. We watched him making this from scratch. He had brought the fibre, his needles and equipment and a photo of his beautiful dog. He was thinking it out carefully as he created this picture. The competition must have been really strong because this was a beautifully made image of his dog. He particularly thought out the eyes and nose. He thinks he maybe should not have put it behind glass because you don’t see the full effect of the fibre and expertise. We were really impressed and we are very proud of Alan. Well done!