A welcome return to in-person sessions and we were all scissor happy!

A welcome return to in-person sessions and we were all scissor happy!

A recent workshop saw a welcome return to my facilitating face to face felting sessions.

I was asked by our local felting guild, Feltmakers Ireland to run one of their Sunday Sessions.  These are social woolly gatherings.  They generally take place in the morning on the second Sunday of each month and last 2.5 hours.

I was given a free reign to present whatever topic took my fancy.  I thought a fun morning which I called ‘Demo and Do’ might fit the bill.  The topic was felt embellishments.  My idea was to demonstrate two basic techniques, then quickly show samples of how I had developed these techniques in my own practice to contextualise use, after which the members could have a go.

The first technique was ‘Cracked Mud’ which I learnt many years ago from the wonderful Lyda Rump.  This was quick and easy to learn so I allocated a smaller portion of the session to completing it. If you are unfamiliar with the technique, here are two of the samples I prepared for the session.  I used three colours, red, grey and black.  Alternating between the red and black (top and bottom layers) totally transformed the finished samples when I cut into them:

The second technique was the creation of a basic wet felted geode.  I was taught this technique by Marjolein Dallinga  at a superb workshop she gave when she travelled to Ireland many years ago. This technique was a bit more complex so the group spent longer working on it.  Again, so that you can have a visual on this, here are my samples.  I used the same colours as for the cracked mud technique samples.  The top of the photo shows some of the off cuts from the finished samples:


As time was short, I decided to make up packs which the participants could purchase if they did not wish to bring along the materials.  These packs comprised of a number of prefelts.  The cracked mud prefelts were industrial and the geode prefelts were handmade; three colours over six layers.  Each one was different (I bore easily so I wanted variety when I was making them).  Each square measured 20cm and weighed around 15 grams.  Here they are prior to wetting out:


And here they are after they had been lightly pre-felted.  They were all so colourful:

There was a lovely party atmosphere and altogether 20 worked on samples while 3 chose to observe.   Here are some photos from the morning.  Many thanks to Clodagh McDonagh of Feltmakers Ireland for taking these photos:


Just look at how focussed we all were! I promise there was a lot of laughter and misbehaviour  too!


A number of the participants were new to wet felting and luckily they all sat together so I was able to give them a bit more time and answer their questions following the demonstration.  I am very proud of them all as each one produced finished samples.




Here is a photo montage of the participants’ work.  Many of them brought their geode pieces home to finish but all of my ladies who were new to felting got theirs finished in time.  I am really proud of how hard they all worked.  I also prepared an electronic PDF of the technique for the participants which was sent to them later in the day.

It was a real treat to resume these activities and to meet up again with such a lovely group of women.

Have you ever gotten scissor happy with your felt!  Do you fancy sharing your results?  I would love to seem them. You can upload your photos here.

Thanks in advance and happy felting!

26 thoughts on “A welcome return to in-person sessions and we were all scissor happy!

  1. Great job Heléne….no wonder you were proud of them, they produced some great samples….the product of a good tutor.

    You certainly gave them a good start too with all the prepared pieces – a lot of advanced planning and work for you!
    Am I seeing it correctly….you created individual pieces for the geode samples, each of 3 colours & total of 6 layers, pre-felted each individual one then trimmed each one to perfect 20 x 20cm squares – you didn’t produce a few single larger pieces that you then cut down to size??? Madness! Your students will never know the lengths you went to!

    I can imagine there was not just some, but a lot, of misbehaviour & laughter 🤪😂 x

    1. Thanks Antje,
      I know, complete and utter bonkers producing all those 20cm squares. I got this crazy idea in my head that I wanted everyone to produce unique samples. Initially I was going to buy in the prefelt but we could not have managed as many combinations with this strategy. Making all the prefelts took days (you are right, the students will never know lol). We had so much to cover in the 2.5 hours. The finishes could have been made up using fibre rather than prefelt but it would have taken and heck of a lot longer.
      Of course, there was the naughty corner. This would be the place you and I would both occupy should we ever get the opportunity to attend a course together lol.
      Helene x

  2. That looked like great fun for your students (after a lot of work off-stage for you). It is great to teach face to face and especially with beginners when they see what they can achieve. Lots of work, but lots of satisfaction for you.
    Thanks for those two links. I’ve just spent half an hour down the rabbit hole with them.
    Any chance of you showing us the samples of how you used both techniques in your work? The one we could (just) see looked very interesting.

    1. Thanks Ann,
      It was a touch of behaving like the veritable swan for the week beforehand.

      I can appreciate your disappearancing down those two rabbit holes. Lyda was my first experience of being taught at a workshop. Along with being impressed by her work I was kind of in awe of her willingness to share all her knowledge. And her kindness too. I made so many friends that weekend!
      Marjolien is such a lovely person too, very spiritual to the extent that I searched down the key to a local tomb from the Stone Age and brought her there. (Yes we have some of them around where I live and you can access them if you can find the lady with the key lol).
      I would love to share these works with you but I can’t share them here as they won’t attach. If you have any ideas about how I could go about that just let me know or I can pop them on my Instagram page @feltzen Please let me know where you would like me to upload them.
      Helene x

    2. How about on the Studio Community Gallery or perhaps the Forum as I’m sure the others would love to see them? I’m not on Instagram so can’t look there.

  3. What a great example of how much a teacher actually works in the background before the students have access to the knowledge! I commend your patience and love for the craft, Hélène 🙂

    Those finished samples looks amazing, I bet there was indeed a lot of misbehaving as they came about 😀 No point gathering friends of the woolly materials if that’s not the case!

    As for scissors, I don’t use them on felt but I’ve used a lot of quilting blades to make felted book covers. I had a hard time healing the ends and making them pretty, though, they kept wanting to stretch on me…

    1. Thanks Leonor, with 23 in the session the naughty corner could have gotten bigger by the minute! they were all really kind. It was a super turnout of woolly pals.
      It was wonderful to watch so many disappear into ‘the zone’ during the session. All the results were quite remarkable.
      I sometimes use the rotary cutter blades too Leonor. I actually managed to source a rotary blade sharpener at one of the knitting and stitching fairs (let me know if you want further information if you don’t already have one). I change my scissors depending on the job. For the cracked mud technique I used a bandage scissors which protected the main body of the work. I found it in an old first aid box. it was one of those great finds!

    2. There’s such a thing as rotary blade sharpener?! I definitely want to know more, please! I’ve just been buying new blades…

      I’m very impressed with your knowledge of scissors. I consider it a success when I can see the difference between paper and fabric ones… 😀

    3. Leonor, I’ve had a blade sharpener for a several years….it works fine but somehow the blade dulls again quickly. Using my sharpener is also very time consuming, as it involves continuously rotating one half of the gadget against the other!!! Perhaps I have an old model & there is a newer version….hopefully motorised!

    4. There are two types of scissors in our household Leonor. First there’s the ordinary ‘I couldn’t care what you do with those ones’ scissors, which are used for everything from flowers to papers. Then there’s ALL the other ‘touch them on pain of death’ scissors. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes and play specific roles in my workroom. They also set off a series of alarms if anyone attempts to free them from the workroom. My latest gadget is an electric pair which are fantastic on jersey.

      My rotary blade sharpener does it in a jiffy. It’s called Truecut and comes from The Grace Company. It’s an American company but I think you can get them on Amazon. Here’s a visual to start you off: https://graceframe.com/en/truecut/linear-sharpener
      Antje, you might like to check it out too. I haven’t had an issue with the blade dulling quickly but maybe I just got lucky.

      I also have a scissors sharpener from Fiskars. Great little tool! x

  4. You worked really hard with the preparations – the squares of pre-felt are so pretty – but you were amply rewarded with the felt that everyone made 🙂

    The venue was perfect, with the good sized tables spread out as they were, and what a lot of concentration on all the faces. Just shows how interested they all were.

    1. Thanks Lyn and Annie,
      the venue is a new one as unfortunately our old space was reclaimed by the owner (state-owned). The old spot was in the middle of the Phoenix Park which is the largest park in Europe. It took as lot of hard work to find this alternative and it is actually much better a triumph by the committee.
      Helene x

  5. Looks like so much fun Helene! Your work ahead of time made it so much easier for the students and they really gave you some great samples. It is wonderful to be able to return to in person workshops and I bet everyone appreciated your expertise!

    1. Thanks Ruth,
      They truly are a lovely group of humans. You are right it is so good to be able to meet up in person again. Seeing the end results made all the work before the day worthwhile.
      Helene x

  6. Oh I wish I could have been a fly on the wall that day! I can imagine the excitement of those who were new to felting….that would have been a very inspiring two and half hours and they did you proud with their results. Well done you for being completely bonkers and making all those individual prefelts!

    1. Thanks Karen, we had a ball. You know what it feels like when you are delivering to friends – it doesn’t feel like work at all!

      Helene x

  7. That session looked like enormous fun, and I can see that everyone enjoyed themselves and were very pleased with their work. I have made the cracked mud felt twice before, and really enjoyed the process. I have not tried the geode effect felt, but it does give very interesting effects depending on the colours used. I love all the colours that you had for the course participants.

    1. Thank you Marie,
      They are super effects and we all had a really chilled morning.
      Helene x

  8. What a lot of work. But what great results. Makes it all worth while. The naughty corner is the most fun. If your already in the corner you can’t get sent there. LOL Teaching beginners is so rewarding as you see it all come together in their mind when it all works.

    1. Very true on all accounts Ann (especially the naughty corner). A bit like a VIP corner only more fun and less expensive! Helene x

  9. Very true on all accounts Ann (especially the naughty corner). A bit like a VIP corner only more fun and less expensive! Helene x

  10. Looks like a fabulous workshop. Love seeing how everyone’s samples turned out.

    1. Thank you Carlene. They were all fantastic workers. Hopefully they went home tired but happy.
      Helene x

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