Right, when the last thing I needed was another needle & fiber-craft. I took a two hour course on felting. I went in completely ignorant of how to shape wool fiber or roving into all sorts of forms, came out being able to put together cute little animals and creatures.
The ingredients needed for a successful felting are the following:
1.) Felting mat (usually made of a thick piece of foam or a wide flat brush with thick bristles).
2.) Wool roving or fiber (that is washed, combed and processed).
3.) Felting needle.
That’s it… no glue, no wires unless you’re creating an armature or skeleton to make your felted creation bendable and pose-able… though this sounds tricky & fiddly and perhaps a bit dangerous. Because essentially when you’re needle felting you’re taking the felting needle and jabbing it over and over again into the roving bits to shape them. For example in both the owl and the Totoro figures below, the body is simply just a rolled up wad of roving that has been poked and shaped into a body form. The ears on Totoro and the owls’ wings are smaller clumps of roving shaped into the appropriate form. I didn’t cut those pieces out. I basically poked and prodded at them until the wool took the shape I desired.
This is such a simple yet rewarding craft… even children (who are responsible and responsive to safety instructions) can master this skill within an hour or two. It’s a great introduction into fiber-craft. Looks like I may not have to knit or crochet everyone a present this year.
Want more ideas for felted cutestuff?
My 2nd Totoro - completed in less than 1 hour
A glimpse into my Artfibers stash
Joy! Joy! And SUPER-EXTRA-JOY!
I’ve decided to host an Artfibers Yarntasting on July 19th. I had to reserve a spot with the Portland Parks bureau so we could hold it outdoors. You might ask… What on earth is a yarntasting? It’s basically a party where you get to swatch or sample various yarns. In this case, Artfibers gorgeously unique yarns. I first learned about Artfibers via the Stash and Burn podcast, but I became seriously enamored of these yarns soon after visiting their old location in San Francisco. I became a regular online customer. I’ve even purchased their undyed yarns for a future dye project.
Unique textures and fiber blends combined with color palettes that seem nature-inspired can be knit or crocheted into gorgeous heirloom projects or special gifts. I have Artfibers stash reserved for some of the most special members of my own family. My favorite sweater is made of Artfibers Rush:
My favorite pullover in Artfiber's Rush (Egyptian cotton)
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Rox at Artfibers that the Yarntasting kit is on it’s way. Each yarntaster will get several samples of yarns to knit or crochet into swatches. After the Yarntasting is over they’ll get an e-mail with a survey to provide feedback on the yarns. I’m pretty darned psyched about this! I’m hoping that people will bring their cameras so they can take photos of their swatches and share with others.
If you’re interested in hosting your very own Yarntasting you can check out the Artfibers website. It’s a wonderful way to learn about these gorgeous yarns.
I remember grandmas grandpas or lolas and lolos smelling of mothballs. To this day I associate the smell of mothballs with old Asian people. Maybe it’s often chosen to place in closets of an older generation because camphor is such a cheap deterrent for moths. Still I grew up determined never to let a mothball in my house… this may sound cold to you, but to me they smell of regret, sadness, and the powerlessness of being aged. I respect my elders, but I don’t want to smell like them.
I’d overheard (somewhere I can’t recall) that Irish Spring Soap is a good repellant for moths and mice. I don’t think there’s conclusive evidence for this, but I figured hey it’s less than three dollars for three bars of soap…I’m going to try it. I have to laugh when I recall the ads from my childhood of rosy cheeked actors with an Irish brogue selling us green marbled strong smelling soap by a babbling brook. I guess they could pull that off when people didn’t know that much about the world and there was no Internet to allow use to verify if Irish people really do use Irish Spring soap.
I forgot how strong this stuff was… EGADS! I’d imagine the Irish of that golden age those commercials referred to using lye soap in the stream, and I’d have to say I wonder if this is comparable. The stuff is strong enough that I could cut up each bar of soap into inch slices and distribute them amongst all the large bins in my stash. Thank goodness most of my stash is kept in a room outside my workspace. I don’t think I could work around that smell. My other concern was that the soap would leave a lasting odor on the yarn. It’s been in my bins for about a week. I pulled out a skein or two to sniff. There was a faint smell, but nothing that wouldn’t remain after several hours of handling while knitting. So it’s a bit antiseptic in odor, but it beats moth balls and it’s far more affordable that cedar blocks.
I haven’t seen a moth near my stash yet… so here’s fingers crossed.
I finished this in almost record time… less than a month. I aways do this with projects and fibers I love. I have decided that I am absolutely in love with Art Fibers Rush, and I’m planning to do one more sweater in it. Probably another pullover. I’m really happy with the drape of the fabric and even it’s warmth despite the fact that this sweater has a lot of lace openwork in it in the arms and sides.
Side Impact Sweater - Click the link to view the source of the pattern
I was also able to finish a scarf just in time for my brother’s birthday. It’s knit from Andy II Merino purchased at the Close Knit knitting store on Alberta here in in Portland. I really love this yarn, it’s spendy, but it’s worth it for a nice present for someone special.
Special Autumn Scarf
While I was at the store I was also able to pick up two skeins of Imperial Stock yarn… in a great heathered blue. Love this yarn. I also love that it’s locally based, and the colors are really beautiful. For the amount of yarn you get 200 yards of worsted 2-ply at little over 11 dollars a skein is quite a deal for locally grown and milled yarn.
Imperial Stock Yarn