My plan was to show you the needle felted sheep class I taught a few weeks ago but it seems I took a lot of pictures of my hand and only ended up with two group pictures at the end. So here they are:
That doesn’t seem like much so I though I would show you what my house looked like on Sunday morning. It was so pretty and I may do a felt picture of using one of the pictures for inspiration. It was only -2c and all the snow is gone now.
I have a couple of new felting tools. The first I am told is for sitting on to help with some hip problem but I found 2 of them (cheap) at the second hand store. Value Village for those who live in the USA or Canada. I will attach a strap of some sort and give it a try.
Jan Found this great foot massager for me. It should be interesting to try out.
Lastly If you signed up for the Holiday card exchange the partner names are now up on the forum holiday-exchange-2018
As you Read this I will be at my Guild Exhibitions and Sale. It’s in Ottawa Ontario Canada if you are in the area drop by and say hello. facebook.com/events/
Also, I would like to encourage anyone who would like to learn how to make felt bags to sign up for Teri Berry’s online class. Registration is now open and class begins November 22. For more information and to register, please click on the link to the Felted Bags online class.
Who could resist learning to make a cute bag like this?
Here is part 2 of Jan Scott’s felting tool post. It was much prettier in the word doc format but I don’t seem to be able to transfer that to the blog.
I have a large selection (24 years of collecting) of Massage related implements that may have potential for Felting. One of which are the I.T. Band rollers. They were once veryexpensive and rather limited to acquire. A few weeks ago I found a number of variations of surfaces on rollers at Dollerama for 4.00 each.
So I got a few and gave one to Ann. She tried it out at the Felt in using a pool noodle to mimic a rolling pin (a really big Rolling pin!)
Another massage tool you might like to consider would be the Bar, it is used on large muscles to work out knots.
It is similar to a rolling pin but has groves.
There are also foot rollers and trigger point balls. Not only are they excellent for getting tension out of Levator scapula or the plantar arch, they also work quite nicely to felt with. They come in various stiffness’s for the knobby bits. There are similar balls with knobby bits at the dollerama for much less money. Check the pet toys and the kid’s toys. The tall purple cylindrical roller was from Walmart in the exercise section and was still cheaper than the massage supply stores.
If you find a theraband roller in a second hand store you might want to grab it. Not only is it wonderful for treating both Golfers and tennis elbow (a common felter’s complaint) it also is a cylinder with grooves so again good for felting. They come in different firmness in case you were wanting to use it to stretch your medial or lateral Epicondilitis.
I have been keeping an eye out for Fondant rollers with groves and patterns, they are a Kitchen implement which may also be useful in felting. I have also seen pictures of a regular wooden rolling pin with a bamboo place mat elasticed to it. It looks like it would work too.
Ann has been tracking down wooden facial massagers and foot rollers from Ali express out of china. It’s a very interesting site but be very attentive to the size of items some look much bigger in the picture than what they are when they arrive. They are good for getting into small corners but some of them have a bit of a squeak when rolling.
For needle felting too there are tools not originally designed for felting. I only started to try Cookie cutters for needle felting templates recently. I am not sure if I will investigate further since I really have enjoyed the sculptural aspect of felting but for a production felter it may be helpful to start with a standardized base shape.
I have a number of different sizes of dowels, Meet skewers and wooden scraper for rapping wool around. Most were acquired at the Dollar store in the art or cooking sections.
I have been wanting to try wax on felt to crate claw tips, beaks and noses. I have a suspicion that melted crayons may work. If I need more stiffness I can add paraffin wax. If I need more flexibility I can add more Bees wax. To melt the crayons, I have been cruising the second hand stores looking for a melting device. This is what I have found and am looking forward to trying it out. I will let you know how it goes!
I have found the Extra-large Zipper Bags at Dollerama to be extremely helpful. The Foam pad I used for making the 3D pictures fits in it perfectly. The Foam is a chair pad I bot at Walmart. The 3” thickness I found to be safer than the smaller 12×12 by 2” deep pad I have also been using. I have been leaving the thin plastic over the foam, finding it gave me good separation from the wool and the foam. As I continue to work in one aria the plastic eventually will deteriorate. I have just kept moving to a new section but eventually will add another layer of plastic over the foam. The Foam I chose has no memory foam content. (I have heard rumors of needle felting and memory foam are not compatible.)
Have you noticed at Dollerama, the test tubes with screw tops? They have decretive erasers in them, but you can empty them out, add a bit of wool at the bottom and then they hold felting needles very nicely. I have been keeping the needles I’m working with stuck in the side of my foam but the test tubes are grate to store extra needles. I have labeled each tube with the needle type size and source. I will add a label to the lid once I find a good storage box for all 16 reasonably available needle types. I am still tracking down spirals in a coarser size.
Now that I have most of the needles that are available it will be easier to determine what the Chinese supplier are labeling as small medium and large, or fine medium and coarse.
There is one last thing I think would be important to any art and craft person which is a comfortable table height. I was lucky to find a small adjustable table at Walmart. The top is 30”x19” so hold a table loom or all my needle felting stuff. It adjusts from 21 to 28 inches so has worked well for seated work.
I also have a printer table that was not the height I had hoped for. So added leg extensions of PVC piping to raze it up. I think Ann is using the same technique on her table to make it a good height to stand and work at. With a bit of height adjustment, you can have the table slope just enough to drip water off one corner and into a bucket or drain.
Ergonomics, in body position, comfort of tools and working height is important if you want to keep doing what you are enjoy for your entire lifetime.
I hope that I found something that was new to you and that you will share some of your best finds with me!
This is a guest post from Jan Scott. It is in 2 parts as she has many felting tools now. She is great at thinking out of the box.
One of the problems with delving into Felting is that there are very few tools that were originally created for the purpose of felting. I am starting to suspect a lot of felters have a similar form of dyslexic distraction as I have. Do you find while wandering through Dollarama or Walmart your brain will look at some odd item and declare “WOW that would be grate to felt with!” Sometimes it’s the boot tray or a van rubber mat (that lives over at Ann’s since I don’t have a big enough table for it) or it may be a cylindrical plastic dog toy with knobby bits on it. The person who made the item definitely didn’t have felting in mind as the end use but we can see its potential.
I have been collecting “Odd” felting tools for a while now. And thought you might be interested to see what I have found. You may already have a wooden scraper and a package of skewers for Needle felting and car mats for working surfaces. But you may have missed the Iliotibial band roller (massage tool) so let’s compare and see if we can inspire each other.
My first felting tools were a lid from a Tupperware Juice pitcher, some bubble rap and a piece of curtain sheer. I have expanded a bit since then.
Tupperware Juice lid – source Garage sales, second hand stores.
I have made quite a few hats with this and a pool noodle. Pool noodles can be found in many types of stores. Improvements in pool noodle technology has led to a variety of sizes and shapes which can either give a more aggressive felting experience or used to shape around when the felt is drying. The smaller noodles come in 3 sizes and were found at Dollarama in the craft area.
I added bamboo place matts but trying to replace them as the warp threads start to rot has been a bit more challenging. Dollerama has not been carrying them at the moment. If they don’t restock them I will have to watch the second hand stores for matchstick window blinds and more placemats. I have tried non-slip matting which comes in a couple sizes and longer lengths (and doesn’t seem to rot out). I found that it worked but was not quite as quick as the matchstick placemats.
I also found a Ball Brause Sprinkler originally used to water bonsai. I recently had one of those odd thoughts that occur rather frequently while shopping as I spotted a garden sprayer with a compression pump (4.00 at Dollarama). It has a much larger capacity than the Ball Brause and adjusts from a strong stream of water to a fine mist. Ann tried it out for me at the Felt In. She is very brave around water.
I am not that fond of getting unnecessarily wet, much to Ann’s amusement. I have been trying to perfect wet felting without getting wet myself. In this endeavor I have found boot trays effective. They come in many sizes, depths and various patterns on their boot surface. I have one that is extra-long with a trellis pattern and a much shorter tray with ridges. In the spring, Giant tiger stores often have their end of season sale on boot trays. Other spots I would check would be Walmart, Home Depot, Costco and Dollarama. They have worked quite well to contain the water and keep me dry.
Mainstays Manor Lattice Boot Tray Mat, 17” x 35” Walmart
Costco Deal: Bird Rock Home Rubber Boot Tray 34″ L x 14″ W x 2″ D
Winter car mats have the same usefulness to work over as the boot trays but don’t contain the water as well as they do. If you are lucky you might also find a van winter mat reduced for quick sale. Even the regular car mats have textures that may be to your liking.
I have also found that plastic gloves are helpful for keeping my fingers dry while wet felting! I have some from work and found some in the automotive section of Dollarama (they’re black but work great). I have tried the dish gloves but find they have poor palpation through the thicker gloves.
The first two years I was felting I used the shoe storage method to store my fiber. But as a fiber enthusiast and one to try new things my inventory and tool collection kept growing. So, it became quite unruly. The picture doesn’t show the overflow and piles in bins I couldn’t fit in.
I had piles of things everywhere.
For the past year I’ve been trying to find a system to keep my fiber and tools organized. I tried a wire cube system next. This was a real test of my patience.
I liked the openness of this system, but didn’t like it was so deep and I’d have to juggle the fibers to see all the colors I had. I did put my batts in bins on the floor.
So, I continued to look for another system. I wanted an open bookcase, but because of the dimensions I was limited to, I couldn’t find something that worked.
Then we had a big discussion on the forum about fiber and bugs, so I decided to try plastic drawers.
Now I have drawers organized by color. Here’s just a few. I also have one for alpaca, one for merino and silk mixes.
But I wasn’t finished. I organized my embellishments in two separate units.
This one is under my table.
I also used the furnace room door for coarser fibers and to hang my scarves and hand dyed yarns.
Here is my table with my tool drawer and a bin full of WOW fibers, some foam for needle felting and other useful tools all close at hand.
More fiber and bubble wrap marked.
Behind my table is my felting machine with more tools close at hand.
And my drum carder set off to the side next to another table.
The cube system is temporarily holding some folders until I figure out what to do with it.
Then there is the daybed covered with samples, bins of yarn, ribbon, scraps, etc. This still needs a bit of work. And my “paper” room which is now my dyeing room. That will also have to wait.
This system works for me right now. Its by no means perfect. I’m fortunate to have two water sources close at hand and extra space. I don’t think we intended it to be a studio but that’s what it is for me right now.