Snow Dyeing with Acid Dyes

I have done snow (or ice) dyeing for a while now but I always used Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dyes. I did a quick how to post about it here.  But I have never tried snow dyeing with acid dyes. My group did a session of snow dyeing a couple of weeks ago and we used fiber reactive dyes. I dyed 10 silk scarves to sell at the store. I had 10 more scarves left when I got home but I had left my dyeing supplies at my friend’s house. What to do? I decided to try it with acid dyes. I didn’t find much online information about using acid dyes with snow except several people who said you couldn’t use acid dyes because the items needed to be steamed. Well, I’m never one to take someone else’s word for it. I have to experiment and see for myself.

Here’s my set up on the kitchen floor next to the heat vent. I used aluminum baking pans and put a rack on the bottom of three of them. The rack keeps the scarf up out of the melted snow and dye. The dark blue one in the foreground didn’t have a rack. You can do it either way but the rack keeps the color separation a bit more evident in the end result. I soaked the scarves in vinegar water first and then scrunched them up and laid them on the rack or the bottom of the pan. I then covered the scarves with snow. We’ve had plenty of that this year! Then I sprinkled the acid dye powder on top. It’s important to think about your color choices on these if you don’t want to come up with a yucky brown mess. I tend to stick with colors that are closer together on the color wheel. When you use black, it tends to separate out into its component colors so it is a bit unpredictable sometimes.

Now you must have patience and let everything melt. It’s easiest if you do this in the afternoon and let it melt overnight. Once it was all melted, I just picked up the scarves and put them into a gallon bag keeping like colors together. I had 4 open topped bags that I then put in the steam pot and steamed for 30 minutes. It also works best if you let the bags cool down to room temperature but I was out of time because I was heading out of town in two days. So I rinsed them in the sink until no dye was coming out, soaked them in hot water plus textile detergent, rinsed again and ran them through a delicate cycle in the washing machine and ironed them dry.


And it worked! I was very pleased with the results. You can’t really tell much difference between the acid dyes and the fiber reactive dyes. I had a few more variations than the photos above but couldn’t get good photos of all of them. These photos are fairly representative of the colors and patterns that you can achieve with snow or ice dyeing.

Have you tried any snow or ice dyeing? We’d love to see your results. Come show us over on the forum.

Posted in Dyeing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Selling at Craft Fairs

Last year I attended two crafts fairs as a seller, my first since I began wet felting, and I would like to share with you a few of the tips that I believe have helped me enormously.  You have put a lot of time and hard work into making your pieces, so why wouldn’t you want to show them to their full potential?

Is your stall coherent, does it have a theme ?

This advice for me at least is key.  What are you selling ? Whatever it is, wool, glass, wood etc, I firmly believe that if a customer has to stand in front of your stall and try to fathom what it is you are selling, their interest will wane very quickly and they will move on, I would.  They are there to have a pleasant relaxing browse, not to have to work things out.  This was the case at one of the fairs I attended, a fellow stall holder and friend came and said their takings were non existent for the day, and in her words she thought this was down to their stall being a ‘jumble’ of different things.

Here is a view of my stall.  I would have loved to put the picture easel you can see on the left at the back, to the side of my table, but space didn’t allow.  It is rather large but a great display stand (salvaged free from a shop that was throwing it away!)  It was still visible enough to happily sell both of the pictures shown though.  I just tried not to stand in front of it!  I was lucky to be able to suction cup my wall hangings onto the windows too, and I sold three.


Does your stall have variations in height?

This is also very important in my opinion.  If I stood in front of a craft stall and saw a flat table, my eyes would skim over it all in seconds.  Height adds interest and variety, your gaze will linger longer due to the different sections of the table, and then in case you have missed something, you will look over it all again.   I covered a long wooden box with a cream bed sheet and staple gunned it taught.  This was extra useful as it was left open at the back and this is where I stored bags, sellotape, scissors etc.  This can be seen in the next picture, with the tea cosies standing on it.   I also had the loan of a table top easel for my canvas wall hangings, this was just perfect and looked good.  I am lucky enough to have a card stand too, which displays the cards better than if they were in a box on the table.   One person can rummage in a card box, two or three people can explore a card stand, at the same height they are.   Alongside all of that I had a table top stand that I hung my bags on, creating more height too.


The use of cake stands will add height too, and also look pretty and be a little different.  These two were used for my felted soaps and pincushions.  I have since swapped my cake stands for glass only ones as I think they show the product better than a ceramic plate.  You learn as you go along.



Picnic baskets create height and also look good.  You could lay one flat and closed on the table with the other open on top with your wares.  A great option if you are going for a rustic look.


Table coverings

I am guessing,  but on the whole I think a lot people would automatically go for a brilliant white or cream tablecloth.  Think about this carefully in relation to your display.  I knew white would not enhance my felt pieces at all, perhaps making the colours appear flat.  I already had a wonderfully rich plum/burgundy coloured tablecloth, and this set everything off really well.  At the second fair, the venue had already provided a cream tablecloth for everyone, so this was a good way to be different, stand out from the crowd!  I made a length of bunting out of a failed project and appliqued fabric shapes on it, nothing fancy but hopefully it will never come under scrutiny!   Bunting can make a stall look very appealing, you have made an effort with your stall, it invites the customer to want to see more.


Think outside the box

Try and think how best to present your work to its best advantage.  At my first fair, my bags were hanging on the small wooden coat stand, and I didn’t sell any.  I then had a light bulb moment just before fair two, and thought I should show my bags as bags and not as a piece of felt hanging up.  So I stuffed them with bubble wrap and stood them on my stall, propped up, and I sold one to a lady organizer before the fair even opened.  Another tip, as she was happy to collect it at the end of the fair, I put a SOLD ticket on it and left it on display.  This gives confidence to customers that other people are buying from you, and they may wish to explore further.  At fair one I had two notebook covers for sale, and no one hardly gave them a glance.  At fair two I simply added an extra tag saying ‘writing journal with a wool jacket, ideal gift’ and sold one pretty quickly.  A friend of mine said a strange but very valid point in my opinion, she said customers do not want to look stupid.  Nudge them in the direction of ‘this is what it is, and this is what it’s uses are’.  Think about it, it is so true.

Engaging with customers

No one likes to be pounced on! Conversely, no one likes to be ignored.  I was lucky enough to have a friend helping me for both fairs.  If we were chatting, (who am I kidding – ‘if ‘ we were chatting !), when someone approached, I would stop talking with my friend and make eye contact with the customers.   I would then say just hello or good morning/afternoon.  If they then showed an interest in something such as my felted soaps, I would tell them more about the product, very often making a sale.  Give them enough time to look, but try not to let them slip away without some attempt at a gentle sales pitch!

I hope you find some of these suggestions useful.  I wish you every success with your fairs, and above all I hope you have fun!

Posted in Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Natural Wools and First Quarter Challenge

We made thick mats/placemats/coasters at the well being group last week. I took in some natural wools, partly to keep costs down, but also because I really like the combination of colours and textures they create when used together. I made my base out of some Portuguese Merino batts I’d put through the drumcarder. The fibre was really short and had tiny nepps in. This is how the back looked:

The edges were a lot thinner, I didn’t add the top ‘decorative’ layer of wools as thickly there, so I got what I can’t help thinking of as a ‘pie crust’ effect:

Some of the wools I used were raw so kept their character:

Close up:

The ‘pie crust’ edges reminded me of when I made another natural piece years ago. I used lots of different wools, with different shrinkage rates, which created a similar effect on the edge. I used my steam iron to firm up and shrink the edges before cutting it into pices for small placemats and coasters. It was alsmost 8 years ago, and the mat has sat on my computer desk ever since. I do use it as a placemat, so don’t look too closely because I noticed it needs a wipe! This is how it looks today:

I found an original photos of it, it was a bit dark so I brightened it, and the colours look a bit different on the white background, but here it is 8 years ago:

Those of you who read my last post will know I was asking about print-on-demand sites for t-shirts. I don’t have an update on that yet, but while I was asking around at local printing shops, one of them mentioned transfers, which reminded me that years ago (probably about 11 or 12) I bought a pack of transfer papers to make t-shirts at home. I found the pack, but had lost the instructions (typical!). I also found some prints I made and never used because of a tiny ink splash. I thought I’d combine experimenting with how long I need to iron the prints with trying them on different surfaces for the First Quarter Challenge. The first thing I tried a print on was a felt sample. I can’t remember what wool I used, but judging by the tiny crimp/texture, I’d guess it’s either 18.5 mic Merino, or one of the fine Swedish wools Zara sent me. This is how it turned out:

It felt crispy! I did get a nice imprint from the hem of the tea towel I used to protect the wool, though:

The next thing I tried was a transfer print onto Muslin. I used a print I’d just made which had turned out wrong. It looked ok in parts:

But in other parts I didn’t iron it long enough and part of the transfer paper came off, but some didn’t … still won’t even after soaking:

The last attempt on muslin was a bit better. I probably should have ironed the muslin first, so I could line the print up with the weave:

If I hold it up to let the light through you can see the weave still:

And here’s a close up of the edge, it doesn’t feel quite as ‘crispy’ as the wool, but is definitely stiff with texture:

Now, I just have to try the samples and see how they felt 🙂

Posted in Challenges, natural wools, Surface Design | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques – A Mixed Media Approach Online Course Registration is Now Open!

You can now register for any of the four modules of Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques – A Mixed Media Approach. Just hop over to the online classes page that you’re interested in and fill out the form at the bottom of the page. All four modules will be starting April 6, 2018. I would suggest taking these classes one at a time and not trying to double up or take them all at once. They are all online four week classes with an extra two weeks of tutor support and make up time if you get behind. Click on any of the links below to register or for more information about the class. Each module will be offered on a quarterly basis and the class schedules are listed on each page.

Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination

Screen Printed Felt Journals by Ruth Lane

Experimental Screen Printing on Felt

Printing, Stenciling and Playing with Thickened Dye on Felt

Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt

As always, our beginners class is always available with unlimited access so you can sign up at any time.

Wet Felting for Beginners

Posted in Online Classes | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bags Galore!

Over the past year I have been working on a series of bag tutorials for the FFS online bag class that will begin on May 24th. I am so excited this long-awaited class is almost here! 🙂

The first week will cover the techniques to make a spectacles/phone/pencil case that uses only felt for the closure (no buttons or magnetic snaps), to date most of my pouches have been cats with bling, so this weekend I have been making a giraffe to illustrate that you can choose any animal you wish, it could be beloved pet, a friend’s pet (they make very personal gifts), a wild animal, or even an imaginary monster, the choice is yours! 🙂

In each case below, the tongue of the animal forms the tab that closes the flap over the pouch opening.



The second week will be about making a bag with adjustable straps and internal pockets, adding a magnetic closure and how to shape the bag so it has a flat base that will sit on the ground without falling over.


Finally in week 3 we will look at how make a backback with large internal compartments and multiple pockets, choosing the hardware and making adjustable straps from either canvas webbing or wool. Consideration will be given on how to make large bags durable enough to carry a heavy weight without being heavy themselves.

The red backpack is my bag, it gets daily abuse from me and this is what it looks like after 6 months, they are pretty sturdy bags!

The pale green/yellow slit you can see on the back of the green backpack is a large pocket, I will add a zip when I get a spare hour 🙂

The great benefit of online classes is that you can work at your own pace and at times that fit in around you and your other commitments. Although the class nominally runs for 3 weeks, the forum will be open and I will be there to offer support  and answer questions for an additional 2 weeks in case you are unable to make a bag one week or would like to make more than 3 bags and share photos of your wonderful creations with the rest of the class. 🙂

The PDF tutorials from each week will be yours to keep after the class has finished.

For more information and to register your interest in the bag class please follow this link and complete the contact form at the bottom of the page. I will be in touch by email just before registration opens at the beginning of May.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Making Socks from Start to Finish

Our guest artist is Leonor  from Felt Buddies who is sharing a special sock story and process.

Today I’m sharing with you some sock making, from the dye pot to the finished product.

A few months ago, I got a new tattoo from my husband’s co-worker Jim (if you’re guessing my other half tattoos for a living, you’re guessing right). In exchange for his work, Jim asked me to knit him a pair of socks – he’d seen me knit whilst in the studio and was fascinated by the concept of having a garment made especially for someone. I happily obliged!

Because I own my own fibre business, I have a lot of sock yarn available to dye at my pleasure. After talking to Jim about his colour preferences, I got to work. I loved that he asked me for three of my favourite things in socks:

  • Mismatched colours with contrasting heels and toes;
  • Bright colours (you can’t get brighter than magenta and purple!)
  • Socks that glow under UV light.

I had some yarn I was keeping for a special occasion and this was the perfect time to use it. It’s a very soft alpaca/merino/nylon blend.

For some reason, at the time I thought it was a good idea to break down the yarn into four pieces – two for the main body, two for the heels and toes. I’ve no idea why I did this, since I was only using two colours, but hey. I simply weighed the skein and took out 15 grams for each foot to make the smaller parts.

I then soaked the fibre in some water and synthrapol in preparation for dyeing. Synthrapol is a wetting agent and helps the wool absorb more dye. It’s also excellent to rinse out fibres.

After the yarn was thoroughly wet, I made my dye stock using professional-grade acid dyes and to the pots I went.

After adding the colour to the water, I placed one little skein and one big one in the pot and let the fibre sit for a few minutes without any heat. Because this yarn isn’t treated to be superwash (non-felting), the dye takes longer to penetrate the fibre, so I wanted to give it some time to get to every bit of wool.

I then turned the heat on and once the water started simmering, let it be for about 10 minutes, turned it off and let the wool cool completely in the pot. This allows for the remaining dye to be soaked up, and also makes for a brighter finished colour work.







In order to turn my skein of yarn into a ball, I used an umbrella swift (pictured above, on the left) to hold the fibre whilst I pulled it onto a skein winder (above right) to make a neat ball. I have all the cool gadgets!

Once the yarn was dyed, washed, rinsed and dry, it was time for knitting. I had made an impression of Jim’s foot beforehand and used it as my template to make sure they’d fit. If you’re curious, this is a technique taught in a pattern called Fish Lips Kiss Heel that makes for fail-safe sock fitting (and heel-making). It’s available on Ravelry at a very low price and I highly recommend it.

And here’s the finished socks! I still had to weave in the ends in this picture, but I’m happy to report that’s been done since and I have presented this squishy pair to a very enthusiastic Jim.

Now, for a fun little extra: I asked for a photo of him wearing the socks for my social media. Be careful what you wish for! Jim took the picture, alright – he got down to his underwear and struck a hilarious sexy pose for me. If a bit of skin doesn’t offend you and you like a good laugh, hop on to my Instagram @feltbuddies and look for yourself. There’s a black and white photo with a disclaimer about the partial nudity, and after you swipe there’s Jim happily wearing my socks… J


Thanks Leonor!  If you’d like to follow more of her fiber adventures,  you can see her work here:


Posted in Dyeing, Guest Artists, Knitting | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments


I was really happy with the way the green vessel I showed last time dried. I was worried it’d lose shape, but it kept it and also ‘came to life’ when the textures/sheens of the different wools and fibres appeared after drying. This the vessel from above:

This is my favourite side:

I can’t remember which fibres I did use, I know it wasn’t many, I think the blue on the bottom is bamboo fibre. Most of the texture came from BFL locks:

This is a few of the tiny locks teased apart:

And this is a different angle of the single lock and orange BFL from the 2nd photo, where the side curves onto the bottom, there was a small amount of carded lime green BFL on top of the Merino, which helped create the texture:

This is the soft, wispy piece I was making in the photo from the well being centre:

I thought at first this was silk noil, but it looked a bit too shiny, looking closer I realised it was soy staple, just a bit more dense than I’d normally use. But we always do get carried away piling on the embellishments on these pieces!

Some red nylon, clashing nicely with the Green Merino:

The end of a purple Gotland lock, anchoring down a synthetic thick/thin yarn, with some pink viscose trapped underneath:

Just out of curiosity, has anyone used a ‘print on demand’ site for t-shirts? I’ve been looking at a few like Society6 and Teespring, but thought I’d see if there were any recomendations before choosing.

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , | 16 Comments