First Tests of Ann’s and Jan’s New Felting Machines Part 3

First Tests of Ann’s and Jan’s New Felting Machines Part 3

Part 3:

This will be a “short post” since we have had a third machine to add to our investigation (which I hope will continue on next Monday).  Ann has received a package from Georgia, hopefully containing the Solar Bee she ordered. It is vary similar to the design of handle and motor placement of the Orange fly but instead of a single needle it can have up to 4 needles. We will let you know what we find out about it soon.

The continuing investigation into the first 2 electric felting machines (China and Ukraine)

A quick look at trying detail work on pre-felt:

I tried fine detail work on pre-felt with merino, first with the Orange Fly (Ukraine). I did not have trouble working along the edge of main branches but found that it felted much faster than I am use to. the increased speed of felting is especially noticeable when we tried felting the tiny branches. Although it worked well, I did not feel as confident in my control of wool moving, I suspect I just need more practice.

1- dry felting on dry pre-felt. creem prefelt, black winter bare tree, orange fly needle felting machene on foam mat with a cuple needles and a bit of black merino wool 1- dry felting on dry pre-felt.

Next I wanted to try a piece of pre-felt that had been wet felted by Ann. This was one of her tree prototypes that she did not use as her finished tree.

2-3 pre-felt with one of Ann’s wet felting tree tries. - During wet felting. 2-3 pre-felt with one of Ann’s wet felting tree tries.2-3 pre-felt with one of Ann’s wet felting tree tries.

   4-6  I wanted to try adding little cardinals (red birds) to the tree. adding red dots to tree branches to indicate cardnels (red birds) black tree branches on prefet with red dots, adding a bit more fiber suddenly got a lot bigger dot. 4-6  I wanted to try adding little cardinals (red birds) to the tree.

I found that the machine grabbed the fiber and pushed it with enthusiasm into the pre-felt. A bit more than I had expected.  Again I think more practice would improve the bird-ish-ness of my red blobs!

back of prefelt showing red wool penitration 7 the back of the pre-felt showing the red fibers pushed to the back.

 I also tried on the orange Fly on 2 more wet felted bases with good results and not as good results.

Our next test base was a felt Ann had made in two colours of brown.

It was about the thickness for a wet felted hat but could be a good surface for a picture.

The single needle of the orange fly did not have trouble embedding fiber into the felt.

adding blue fiber to solid wet felted wool on a wool pad back of wet felted wool pad showing penitration of fiber. adding blue fiber to solid wet felted wool on a wool pad adding blue fiber to solid wet felted wool on a wool pad. using orange felting machine on an angle.8-11 working on solid wool felt.

I found that I felt more fiber movement when I angled the needle insertion. This would allow more barbs to engage fiber without having to imbed the needle into the wool felting mat.  (Angling the needle reduces the depth of insertion while still allowing more barbs to grab and entangle fiber.)

Having only one needle should be slower when laying in a general background colour. But, it is still quite quick, and there was no stress on my wrists, fingers, elbow or shoulder.  Ann and I should try a race between the felting machines vs. the 10 needle bar tool, which I find very fast for laying in backgrounds. But speed is not the only factor that the machines address.

We also considered the mettle machine from china. As you remember the mettle machine did not like most of the felting surfaces as much as the orange fly did. We used the fake clover brush (driveway asphalt painting bush from the hardware store) which is what seemed to be its favorite surface so far in our investigations.

mettle machine felting into wet felted wool on bristal brush 12 Mettle machine felting into wet felted wool on the driveway brush

Wet felted (Fulled) knitting as a felting surface.

Ann had fulled a piece of knit sweater and brought a piece to try felting into. the orange fly did transfer the white fiber through the knitting successfully but it was a bit more resistant than the firm felt.  (It is quite firmly fulled knitting.)

felting into fulled knitting on wool pad back of fulled sweater showing wool penitration 13-14 Orange Fly felting fulled wool knitting on a wool pad

Next I tried the mettle machine on the same surface. I noticed one of the screws loosening so stopped and tightened it. I suspect that you may want to check all the screws occasionally just so you do not lose one.

  15 mettle machine felting into fulled sweater on wool mat, 16 one of the tiny screws had started to loosen.15-16  mettle machine felting into fulled sweater on wool mat, one of the tiny screws had started to loosen.

There is less resistance when using the driveway brush  as a work pad but there was still the most resistance when we were felting on the fulled sweeter. Running with 2 needles was also less resistance than running the machine with 4.

  17-19 checking work angle and comfort holding mettle machine

I again tried holding the machine vertically and on an angle.  Both were comfortable to hold and there was less vibration/resistance when using the brush with this machine.

I have been making a chart for the 3 machines so next we will investigate the machine from Georgia and fill in the rest of the chart. We will open the package and put it through its paces next Monday (which is a holiday) and hope to have some test results ready for the next blog post!

For working on wet felting the orange fly seems to be a bit more enthusiastic towards embedding fiber into the felt/fulled 2D picture ground .  I will not give up on the mettle machine, I suspect we have not found its forte yet. I want to look further at 3-D sculpture. i am a bit concerned with the machines hitting armature wires (I may have to find some safety goggles before I try that!)

Until we can find out what’s in Ann’s mysterious package, Have fun and keep felting!

20 the mysterious package arrives at Ann’s

10 thoughts on “First Tests of Ann’s and Jan’s New Felting Machines Part 3

  1. I hope Ann is very careful opening that package from Russia!
    Another interesting post Jan, you two girls are working very hard at this – more power to your elbows!
    More to come and looking forward to it.
    Happy Easter.

    1. thanks Ann and Happy Easter to you too! i hope the bunny brings you lots of chockolett!

      the elecrtric tools have such a good posibility to ease the stress of needle felting on our bodies. this has the hope of leting us felt longer or alow those who would like to try dry felting but cant felt at the moment due to various mucle and joint irritations also have fun.
      but like all tools they are usualy realy good for some things and not so good at others. (dont bring a hammer if you need a screwdriver). so Ann and i will try to find out what each of the tools we have bought will like to do best and i like pros and cons so there is a list to compair the 3 machines developing as we go.

      we will have more inital impreshions then a later report of how we are finding using them over an extended time. are we gravitating towords them regularly or only for serton uses? i am looking forword to finding out!

      have fun felting and i hope the Bunny is generous this year!!

  2. Oooh – what’s in the package?

    It looks like you two are having fun with this 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to document your trials because it makes a really interesting read.

  3. thank you both!! i was werried i was the only one having fun (Ann looks perplexed occationaly, but overall i think she is having fun too). i am a vary curious person, no i meen i am naturaly curious about many things. I then get excited about what ever i am investigating and love to share this intersting thing with others. (the others sometimes look confused as i explain the exciting thing…. maybe not explainging parchment makeing in grate detail would be better for the listeners thought, they looked a bit pail by the end of the explanation of skudzing. relay its probubly better not to ask about that.)
    i am very excited to see how well wraped the new macheen is. and find out what it likes to do and what is is not so fond of doing. i am particualy intersted in how easy it will be to change needles. oh no there i go again…

    anyways i hope you have a fabulous weekend (posibly chasing chokelet barring bunnys in your gardens). we will be trying to do the same but have to make it through today which already has a sivear weather worning flshing on my computer. posible thick layers of frezing rain/ ice pellets accumulating posibly with power outages, so i may not be ansering many more notes today if the weather gose bad. looks like a good day to stay at home and keep working on rebuilding my office maybe with a good audio book (i better make sure the ipod and fone are charged.)

  4. Oh my, those machines look scarier to me when I see them in action on your hand! And I’ve used tattoo machines… (side note: I’ve often wondered if a modified tattoo machine might not make a better felting machine for details.)

    You’re a brave woman for experimenting for our benefit, Jan 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor! yes the speed that the needle is moveing means that distracted felting is not an option!!!. i may make a safty test to add to my chart too!

      i had wondered if the Chinese machene is an adaptation of a tattoo machine? i do like the quality of construction of this macheen it is solid but the tiny screws may be a potental problem if we see more migration (so far only the one screw for me).

      we have another one to investigate then consolidate our inital impresions in a chart.

      have a fabulous Easter and i hope the Bunny is generous in leaving you Chokolet this weekend!

    2. The Chinese machine is definitely inspired by the workings of a coil tattoo machine, but the tattoo ones just have a bit more… oomph? Power? Pizzazz? Something that makes me think they’d be more bada** and work better 🙂

      Am I addicted to chocolate if I’m drooling at the mention of it? Haha

  5. It’s good to see the comparison of the two machines. And it looks like you are both having fun with them. I wonder about the control, but as you say, perhaps that gets better with practice. Looking forward to seeing the new machine.

  6. I enjoyed reading about these hand machine felting machines, and I too am curious about the third one. What a cliff hanger to finish the post on!!

  7. Thank you for your in-depth investigation Jan this should be required reading for all needle felters 🙂 It’s also good to see that it is saving wear and tear on the body.

    mmmm can’t wait to see what’s in the parcel. Looking forward to the great reveal!

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