Do you buy fibres, wool or other felting supplies online? Could you spare a minute or two to tell me your favourite places to buy supplies online and what your most commonly bought items are? I’d also like to know what fibres you would like to try that you haven’t yet. For a long time, I’ve been planning to do a blog post comparing the prices of online suppliers. I’d like to choose one main supplier each from Australia, Canada, UK and USA, then compare the prices for a few commonly bought felting supplies and the shipping costs to each of the same countries.
I know everyone would like to support their local communities and small businesses, but with the current economic situation, we also like to save as much money as we can wherever possible. I know too, that for a lot of us, we just don’t have local shops that sell fibre supplies or nearby farmer’s markets, or there are other reasons which make buying online a necessity.
I’m hoping that by being more informed about the costs of supplies online, we can find the best places to buy from. Hopefully, it will make a wider variety of fibres more affordable and accessible.
I think it will really help new felters too, it can be overwhelming searching for online suppliers and trying to compare prices in different currencies and a variety of weights.
I’d also like to post about any bargains or exceptional quality wools or fibres, so if you have a favourite seller/supplier who you think deserves being more widely known, I’d love to know about these too. They don’t have to have a huge range of items, just something of great quality and great value for money.
Thanks a lot for your help and input 🙂
36 thoughts on “Online Suppliers”
My favourite felting supplier is Lara Downs in Melbourne Australia. The colours are beautifully done and the Optim (stretched merino) is luscious.
Shipping is economical and speedy.
I would like to be able to access more of the heavier fleeces for hard wearing articles.
Thanks Liz 🙂
Do you mean whole fleeces or are you interested in wool tops of the more hard wearing breeds, too?
A biggie in the U.S. is New England Felting Supply. http://www.feltingsupply.com
Thanks for that, Terri 🙂
I like Opulent Fibers in the US. You may want to know that one supplier that I featured in my blog was incensed that I included the fact that their fibers are pricey, which they are. It caused a big problem and misinterpretation of the info I shared with my blog readers. The one issue with small business-suppliers is that their prices vary greatly and many of them are here today, gone next month. It might be helpful to felters to know how to choose the best fibers for their projects instead of by source or price. For example, commercial, handpainted, custom mixes, short or long fibers, and textures eg colonial vs merino. Many fiber-types are better than others depending on the maker’s goals.
Thanks, Nancy 🙂
What kind of problems did it cause, if you don’t mind me asking?
We do have lots of the kind of info you suggest on the Information pages of our site and forum, and cover those things in blog posts too. Through comments on our individual blogs, flickr accounts, and discussions on the forum, we’ve learned that a lot of people would love to try a variety of different fibres but for reasons including price and limited availablity, they often feel discouraged. The four of us have been felting quite a while and have our favourite places and know where to get great deals locally, but we value the input of the wider felting and fibre community and are always looking to expand our supply base/save money, and pass that info on.
I’ve only been felting for a year, but after using lots of small expensive sources, I felt like I hit the Holy Grail with Dharma Trading in the US. Huge amounts of rove (like 40) including soy, nylon, all breeds of sheep, yak, camel…on and on… But not a lot of silk like hankies, cocoons. Prices are decent, and since I live in CA like them, I get it fast and cheap. They have a great website.
Thanks, Michelle 🙂
I want to feature a supplier that does have a good variety of silk products so hopefully I’ll have a good alternative for you 🙂
I think with all the input, I’ll have a good selection of places to use and some others that are useful worth a mention.
Zed – I don’t think you have to say fibers are “pricey” since you’ll just have a chart listing the prices. People can figure out on their own the comparison. I had forgotten about Dharma but they do have a good selection at reasonable prices as well as dyes etc. They are excellent to work with and send stuff quickly. Also they have fabrics for nuno felting.
That’s what I was thinking Ruth. It’s hardly my fault if somewhere is more expensive. I’ll be sure to mention that I’ve chosen somewhere where the most commonly used fibres/wool are sold and that other suppliers might be cheaper for individual items. I’ll keep a note of anything worth mentioning.
I think us overseas from Dharma have to pay import taxes on fabrics, I’m not sure about fibres though.
I’m a big fan of New England Felting Supply. I’m working only with Merino and I dye my own fiber so I don’t need a color selection. I love the short fiber Merino prefelt NEFS sells but I’d love to have another source for the same product if anyone knows of one. When I find a good supplier I try to be a loyal customer, but it’s always good to have some backup sources if your primary supplier runs into a problem of some kind.
Thanks, Julie 🙂
I haven’t used short fibre merino prefelt, but I’ll make a note of it as something to keep a look out for.
I always use Fibre Fusion, which is a Melbourne-based online company, to buy merino tops, pre-felt batts and they now sell silk in different forms. Recently when I needed tops in pink shades I had to look elsewhere and used the World of Wool in the UK. Both have good websites and good delivery. I really like shopping online.
Thanks a lot 🙂
My list of things to look out for is growing, it might turn into a mini series!
Hello Zed – I’ve posted two replies on the forum!
Thanks, Lyn 🙂
For those felters living in Europe and wanting excellent needle felting wool, namely Norwegian C1( in batt form), I don’t think you can beat the UK based Norwegian wool at norwegianwool.co.uk. Great communication, favourable prices and postage.
World of wool is an excellent supplier, especially for wet felters, with a great range of products.
Supporting the little business, Sara at sarastexturecrafts.com, has a great range of products for felting including, batts, raw fleece, silk, tops and much more.
Thanks, Amanda 🙂
I’d forgotten about Norwegian Wool. World of Wool is definitely my favourite main supplier, and Sara’s Texture crafts for raw wool locks-that’s 4 recommendations for Sara now!
I have found so much price and quality variation among small Etsy sellers that I eventually got fed up . As much as I would like to buy from home suppliers, if I get one more batch of filthy, over priced, smelly, poorly dyed, prefelted roving and orders that ship 2 weeks after paid or sellers who have to be reminded to send an order….I will scream . My new favorite seller is overseas…ie…big carbon footprint, sorry mother nature, but they are reliable and good quality for a descent price .
They are especially good for the mix of natural fibers I need for needle felting animals….alpaca is clean, beautiful , great selection of colors and cheap compared to many sellers I’ve tried . I don’t know how they compare for dyed fiber but even with dollar exchange and shipping, they are cheaper then many US sellers .
Thanks Denise 🙂
If you like World of Wool on ebay, you should definitely try their online site http://www.worldofwool.co.uk the prices are even cheaper and they have big postage discounts. One thing that worried me about this was the carbon footprint, but by buying supplies from one place at one time, I think that evens it out some.
I know what you mean about getting bad products, I’ve had some obviously gorgeous baby mohair locks that were ruined by the seller’s poor washing. I don’t know if Sara ships overseas, but sara’s texture crafts have gorgeous locks, there’s some Gotland and Teeswater in our wool gallery from her http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/fibers/wool-basics/gallery/
Agree with issues around buying from Etsy sellers and the few sellers that produce quality fibers have their own online stores where I shop instead. In the 10 yrs I’ve been nuno felting, many small suppliers have gone out of biz but there has been a resurgence in 2012 of more quality online stores. I would prefer to buy from outside the US but the dramatic increase in shipping costs is a big issue for me.
The UK postage prices are very reasonable, Nancy. I often get 4lb packages from the US which cost $45 shipping, the equivalent sent from here to the US costs £24 or $36. Also, buying from one main supplier dramatically cuts down on shipping prices.
Sara will ship overseas and has a great fleece club!
Thanks, Amanda, that’s good to know 🙂
for felting supplies in Australia I would highly recommend Tree Top Colour Harmonies. They do a fabulous range of wool and silk tops in both solid and variable colours. Their colour blends are inspirational!
Thanks, Cherie. I feel terrible that I haven’t got around to this yet, bureaucracy and other dull stuff keeps getting in the way!
I will definitely consider Tree Top, thanks for the comment 🙂
I live in Ireland any help re felting wool as shipping costs are expensive. B
Hi Nora, I did a follow up post: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2013/07/26/online-wool-and-fibre-suppliers/
To put it simply World of Wool are the cheapest wool and fibre suppliers no matter where you are in the world, and by a very big amount. They also have the largest selection of wool and fibres too, and since I did my post, they’ve added more stock:felting supplies, wool batts, lots more fibres and also a bigger variety of dyed wool breeds.
I am glad i found this site because i saw only this page and it has a wealth of information!! am new to needle felting and the terminology has me a bit confused. Is merino short fiber like merino batts? I have seen people say they use merino as a core and i assume that they must mean merino cross batts. Is this right? I bought supplies from livingfelt.com here in the U.S. I tried looking at ebay and etsy and quite frankly, it was overwhelming.
Hi Holly 🙂
Merino short fibre is just Merino whose staple (average) length is short. It is mostly used for wet felting as the shorter fibres felt quicker. Merino isn’t commonly used as a core for needlefelting, it is generally a softer, finer, silkier wool which makes it more expensive than a lot of other wools, and also a bit ‘slippy’ for needle felting, but is good for finishing touches. There are merino’s which aren’t quite so fine and have a bigger micron count (16 being fine, 26-28 being a coarser Merino). Coarser wool breeds are good for needle felting, especially the core because they felt quickly and are very inexpensive. Some sites sell ‘core wool’ or ‘needle felting wool’, but unless they mention the breed it’s hard to know what you’re getting. Some good coarser wools are Dorset Horn, German Eider, Cheviot, Whiteface Woodland, If you want texturey, wiry/coarse wools maybe for animal hair, there’s Herdwick, Swaledale, Suffolk. Batts are better because the fibres are already a bit tangley or at least not all combed smooth like tops. World of Wool is a very good site because it has a massive variety of breeds and colours, and needlefelting batts too now. The postage isn’t expensive and becomes more cost effective the more you buy (buy with a friend?) Also, pretty much everything is 100g (just under 4oz) so you don’t have to keep re-ordering and paying $20 postage every time. If you want more info, come and ask some needlefelters over on the forum: http://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/
I just went to the forum and see you already have! 🙂
There are a few big names in the game in Australia. Feltfine.com.au fibrefusion.com.au to name two big ones. We are seeing a trend now that felt makers are processing their own fleece and selling artisan hand carded roving, core and wool batts to those who are fellow fibre ‘freaks’.
yeah, it is nice to process your own fibre, but very time consuming!
I will look at World of Wool, but as I am in Australia I try and support local suppliers. As I said before Nancy at Tree tops Colour Harmonies does wonderful colours and leaves the wool tops in tip top condition. The Thread Studio another Australian company sells wool tops and prefelts which are done in small quantities by wool dying artists. I also use Feltfine and Fibrefusion as we have no local suppliers where I live.
Hi again Cherie 🙂
It is nice to support local suppliers, one thing which is a lot easier for Merino buyers in Aus/NZ! When I did the comparison I wanted to compare suppliers which offered similar items, for fibre artists who tend to buy a fair amount of various supplies, to try to get the best deals/save on multiple postage/shipping costs which you end up with buying from multiple sellers.