Auckland Fun Felters

Auckland Fun Felters

The last few months have been life-changing, first moving to New Zealand in March, two weeks in quarantine, buying a new home (complete with 12 chickens), starting a new job, adopting two kittens, finding Auckland Fun Felters (AFF) and the wonderful felting activities on the North Island.

Don’t be fooled by the cuteness, when they aren’t sleeping they are tiny little terrorists!
Aoifa (pron eee-fa) – giving us her sternest look
Floki
Aoifa “helping” to unpack the studio

AFF are affiliated with Creative Fibre, I first found Creative Fibre online before we left the UK and confess I was worried when I read their interests lean heavily towards spinning and weaving, having belonged to a Spinners Weavers and Dyers group in the UK where felting was a dirty word and the committee behaved like felt-makers were contaminating the purist application of spinning, weaving and dying I was a little hesitant about joining.

I am so glad I took the plunge and went along to my first meeting in May, AFF are true to their name and such a fun group of ladies, and everyone is obsessed with felting and the associated skills. I immediately felt like I had come home 🙂

Each meeting involves a show and tell and announcements of upcoming events we might be interested in, at my first meeting that was Woolfest in Kumeu (held annually north west of Auckland). I arrived after lunch and most of the crowds had already been and gone, it was rather lovely being able to get to all of the stands without having to fight my way through:

You can just about make out the AFF stand to the left of the door in this photo
Having been deprived of hugs and cuddles for so long during lockdown this stall naturally pulled on my heart-strings
I couldn’t resist buying a bag of Gotland locks from this stand

Back to the AFF show and tell, Lynn took us through a collection of gorgeous items our members had made:

Isn’t Lynn’s waistcoat stunning?
These eco-printed tiles were inspired by Fiona Duthie’s Creative Sparks video

These tiles will be crocheted together to make a blanket that will be raffled at next year’s Woolfest:

I managed to make one during our session on Saturday, the only rule is that that the design had to use just straight lines, I can’t tell you how desperate I was to add a red dot to the middle, some of my triangles became a little curved during fulling too:

After the show and tell, Lynn demonstrated how to make silk paper using spray starch:

These elegant little bags are an example of what can be made with the papers:

Another benefit of belonging to this group is the extensive library, including the back catalogue of my favourite magazine, I think I have died and gone to heaven!! 🙂

And just to show what a small world this is, I discovered Robyn (a fellow FFS member and a former student of my hat class) is also a member of AFF! Robyn is working on a blanket square for her own personal blanket.

That reminds me, lots of keen felters have been asking when the concertina hat class and the felt bags classes will start again, I am delighted to announce the next iteration of both classes will start on 19th August (registration will open a couple of weeks earlier on 4th August). If you would like to receive a reminder when registration opens please email teri@teriberry.com saying which class you would like to join.

More information about these classes can be found here:

23 thoughts on “Auckland Fun Felters

    1. You are so right, I couldn’t be more grateful to have found such a fabulous and friendly group.

  1. You’ve really landed on your feet Teri. I’m glad you’ve found the AFF.
    I agree that a lot of the SW&D Guilds here in the UK look down on felters. Ours (Dorset) was a bit like that but bit by bit the felting population has grown and now it’s the spinners who get looked down on by some of the older weavers (apparently it was weavers who started our Guild getting on for 80 [I think] years ago).
    The AFF Show & Tell looks very interesting and that waistcoat (vest) that Lynn is wearing looks amazing too. I’ve never heard of making silk paper using spray startch – does it wash out if you use the paper with felt making?
    And I love the kittens, terrorists or not.
    Ann

    1. Thank you Ann, I have heard of some SW&D groups where felters are warmly welcomed and encouraged, I was saddened and frustrated by the attitude of the Farnham group’s committee, of the show and tell evenings I attended at least a third of the items shared were felted, maybe they felt threatened that so many of their members were interested in an alternative textile.

      Lynn makes really gorgeous felt (in fact there are quite a few members of AFF who make me feel quite inadequate just by shared their beautiful creations.

      The spray starch method for making silk paper is much quicker than the paste method I normally use, the starch / paste washes out when you felt it but it is great if you want to cut shapes from silk fibre as decoration for your felt.

      The kittens have their cute moments but I am sure they both think their name is, “No!”

  2. What a wonderful run-down of your first weeks ‘down under’ and your gorgeous fluffy additions to the family. Looking forward to seeing them moving in our next Jitsi chat! So pleased you have found such a lovely felting group – bigger than the one/s you left back here!

    1. Ah but I loved our intimate little felting play dates, they were a great way to share ideas and techniques 🙂

  3. How fabulous to have found such a friendly group to welcome you into your new life, not to mention the unbelievably cute kittens. Love your design for the blanket square too. I’m really happy that things are going so well for you & look forward to hearing more about your adventures down under.

  4. Thanks Lindsay, finding AFF has been a real treasure, they have helped me feel really settled in our new home

  5. So glad to see you landed well, really, really well! It looks like NZ holds enormous potential for artistic exploration, congratulations. What an interesting and creative group of people and the supplies are to die for. The AFF sounds like a group we could use here.

    1. Thank you, yes, I can’t believe my luck my only regret is that we didn’t move 10 years earlier! 🙂

      I totally agree, every town needs an AFF group!

  6. First thing’s first: KITTIES! Those fluffy cuties with their murder mittens, aw! You must spend most of their waking hours telling them off 😀

    I’m sorry your local UK guild was a bit stuck-up. I get the idea that a lot of British fibre enthusiasts are too afraid of change and therefore shun anything “new” (American fibre magazines? Pish. American wheels? Awful. Art yarn spinning? The horror!) Makes me sad, but I’m hoping my new local guild might be a bit more open 🙂

    What fun your new group seems to be. I hope you enjoy creating with them and share with us what you make.

    1. Ha ha, MURDER MITTENS!!! What a brilliant description, especially when Floki throws himself at you and scales up your legs with his claws by way of greeting! 🙂 Thankfully they spend at least as much time sleeping as they do destroying the house.

      To be fair I have heard of some UK SW&D guilds who are much more welcoming and open-minded about felt making. Fingers crossed your new guild is one of them.

  7. I love the kitty photos. I’m sure they are a handful 😂

    Looks like you found a great local group to join. I agree about the guilds, they actually are kind of like that here too. So I just made my own small group. And how fun to meet one of your former online students. The internet makes the world a small place.

    1. I confess I am still very envious of your group, you always have exciting projects on the go, it all looks very inspirational, it looks like your grumpy local guild did you a favour 🙂

      It was a real surprise when Robyn introduced herself, I have had a few Kiwi students over the years but never really expected to get to meet them!

  8. Wow, everything is falling into place nicely and it looks like it’s getting better and better! The AFF sound a lovely group to be a part of and I particularly love those eco printed tiles. Have fun!

    1. I was rather smitten with the eco-print tiles too, eucalyptus gives some really beautiful prints and incredibly she did not use a mordant, just iron water!

  9. Hi Teri, Welcome to NZ. Like you I’m a Brit but came to NZ nearly eleven years ago and love it. I live in New Plymouth and I discovered Creative Fibre after being made redundant. I got hooked on felting through the group and haven’t looked back. Your Auckland group looks like real fun and you look well catered for in such a wonderful range of fibre. It is great to have found some like minded people and you will make some lovely friends (if you haven’t already).

    Your kittens are stunning despite their naughtiness and look so soft and cuddly. Their names are interesting, are they Scandinavian?

    If you are ever in Taranaki our Creative Fibre group would make you very welcome so do get in touch.

    Jackie

    1. Hi Jackie, thank you so much for the invitation, I would love to come and meet the New Plymouth group too 🙂 Will you be going to Fiber Tron in Hamilton in a couple of weeks?

      Well spotted! Floki is indeed Scandinavian, there is a Viking theme to go with their blue eyes… Floki was the Viking who colonised Iceland and Aoifa was an Irish warrior princess who married a Viking. Given their Viking “heritage” perhaps we should have predicted they would rape and pillage at every opportunity 😉

  10. It’s so lovely to have Teri join the Fun Felters! It’s great to have a new (and young!) member of the group. I’m Teri’s former student in the hat class and I’m also Ruth’s former student in her Paper Lamination class. Both were excellent classes!

  11. Congratulations on your new home, cute kitties, new job and finding your Felting home! Quite a lot of accomplishments in a very short time. Enjoy!

  12. Wow what cute kitties. They are all mischief at that age. You are so lucky to have a dedicated group of felters around. They look like a very friendly and active group. Some WSG can be very snobbish. It took a while but I think I have most of our guild sorted out now. we have a quite a few felters now and things are much more diverse these days. Our spinners seem more outward looking. Maybe because its easier to spin in public than weave in public.

  13. Teri great news that your feet have landed so well with everything falling into place. Being part of a welcoming, ‘fun’, open minded group is certainly the best way to feel you belong somewhere and it sounds as if you do.

    Kittens so cute, but ooh – sharp needle teeth & claws….a great combo.

    The work displayed by Lynn is most interesting, I hope you will show more in the future. And what a coincidence meeting up with your previous student, no ice breaking needed.

  14. This was a real pleasure to read Teri and I’m delighted that you found your tribe. Isn’t it incredible how shared interests can remove barriers so easily. You have had so many life experiences since last March, exhausting and exciting in equal measure. Now as for those two little kitties – I am really really allergic to cats but to cuddle those two cuties, I think I would be prepared to suffer the consequences.

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