Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Felting - An Expensive Hobby?

'Hester' asked me a question in a comment she left on my last blog post that really got me thinking - is felting an expensive hobby?
The short answer is - no!
Now, because I'm going to ramble on a bit, I'm going to throw in some pics of other felter's work with a link to their blogs to inspire you to felt!

The actual wool fibre is really very cheap. I buy the majority of my felting wool from Sara's Texture Crafts. She runs a small business where she dyes, cards and blends a range of wools and other fibres. She also spins it into yarn and does lovely things with it herself. It's great quality, she is passionate about what she does and is also very helpful; there are lots of tutorials for felting projects on her website. She sells her wool fibre in different weights and, obviously, the more  of a colour you buythe cheaper it is. For example 25g of a single colour of merino wool is 99p. I used exactly 25g of the raspberry chocolate blend to make my vase, flowers and vessel (plus a little white).

by Deborah of Felter's Journey

So, when you look at it that way, no, not very expensive, but I appreciate that for some people this would be beyond their budget and I know that I am lucky to be able to afford the luxury of a hobby. However, what I sell does cover the cost of my materials (but not my time) so I feel I can justify my purchases. 
Blends are a little more expensive than single colours and if you have other fibre mixes, like silk, that's a little more too, but not massively. Postage pushes the price up a little. My last order was about £40.00 but the postage was £9.00 - I will add that Sara is very fair and only charges what it costs her.

by Gillian Chapman of Felting Matters

Other than the wool to felt, you will need some soap (I use bars of sensitive soap, but others use olive soap or even washing-up liquid), netting to hold the fibre in place when you begin to felt it, bubble wrap to help agitate the fibres and a bamboo mat for rolling. And, of course, lots and lots of water!

Some people say you should put a drop of white wine vinegar in your final rinse to restore the natural ph balance of the wool. I never used to, but more recently have. I can't tell any difference if I'm honest!

Then you need time and that's why this hobby will never make me rich!

There are loads of tutorials on youtube and people's blogs to get you started so you don't need to spend out on books unless you really want to.

by Elizabeth Armstrong of Studio Felter

Are you inspired to have a go? I've been felting for two years now and feel like I'm only just beginning to find out what I can do. I really love it!
If you fancy a go and want a small starter pack of lots of colours I would recommend you visit The Rainbow Room on Etsy.

These are great packs and the merino wool is super quality. This pack weighs just over 200g and costs just under £10 +postage. That works out about 10g per colour. Clara Luna who owns the online shop is based in Wales, unlike many things on Etsy which are in the USA.

Other things like unusual fibres, beads and buttons to embellish and add interest you can pick up over time.

So, that little essay should get you started!
Were you inspired by all the work of those super fibre artists? I get so excited at their use of colour, texture, fibre and range of projects. They are all just amazing and I can't thank them enough for sharing their inspirational work.

Time to go felt!
Becky x

Saturday, 28 January 2012

January Make #3

I have had a very productive January and am very pleased to have completed 3 makes. I didn't have any real New Year's resolutions but did see it as an opportunity to push myself a little and try some new things. In my pursuit of inspiration and advice I have found some lovely felter's blogs which led to me to my third monthly make, a felted vessel.

Isn't that felt just a gorgeous colour? I am absolutely in love with it - it's the raspberry chocolate felting wool I showed you a couple of posts ago and it is a dream to felt.
I found instructions on how to make this vessel using a 2d resist on a lovely blog called rosiepink! They are a mother and daughter team who run a business and blog all about their felting. They have some very inspirational ideas and a few tutorials, one of which was instructions for a 'felt pod'. I have only made a couple of felted vessels before and, being very honest, found them a bit of a pain, but I was amazed at how easy this method is. 
I added the flowers and pebbles as part of a Valentine's theme.

I made the flower stems by felting over pipe cleaners and added needle felted heart-shaped petals and finished the flowers with shiny shell buttons.
I have wanted to make felted pebbles since finding the instructions for them in a copy of Making magazine last Spring. These were really easy to do and I finished the white one with a small needle felted heart, which I did very carefully at angle so I didn't break the needle!

So, I still haven't had a go at that book cover yet, but it is on my 'to do' list and at least I'm not adding to the WIP list so that's something!
I have ordered a new felting book which I am very excited about. I'm hoping it will be here in time for half-term so I can have a go at some of the projects, but as it is coming from Hong Kong I might have to wait a little longer than that.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekends. We did a super walk around the local reservoir this morning, fed the ponies on the way, had a bacon roll and carrot cake at the water sports centre and the children played in the park on the way back! So now we have all flaked on the sofa! Happy days!
I'm off to start tea then have a little hooky time planned!
Becky x

Edited to add:
Forgot to say thank you for your suggestions for fastenings on my last post. I am definitely planning to try some of them out. Thank you!

Monday, 16 January 2012

January Make #2

Mid-January and I have completed my second make of the month! I gave you a little peak in my last post, but now I've had some time to play with it...

Some white splashy needle felted waves, glass beads and shell buttons. I used blue hemp cord to sew them on and added french knots as I went.

I must admit, I really enjoyed making this one. It has taken an age to stitch and I will never make any money selling these, but they are great to make ;)

I have used velcro again for the closure, but I want to try something different for my next one.  It needs to be easy to open and close and durable. Mmmmm...Any ideas?

Meanwhile, I think I will take a short break from mobile cases and try something else for my next project. I have lots of notebooks which I would like to personalise, so the next felting project could be a notebook cover. I also want to make some heart brooches for Valentines day.
There are 82 of us sharing our Monthly Makes on Flickr now. Why don't you pop over and take a look at the amazing things people have been making? Or even better, join us and show off your makes too!

The new year prompted me to look back through my blog at all the posts I had done last year. I have friends and family that really don't get the attraction in writing a blog, but for me I have a wonderfully colourful record of a busy 2011 and some really kind and supportive comments from all of you. Then I realised, it's been nearly a year since my first post. A bloggerversary is approaching and, yes, I want to celebrate it! So, watch this space as I will soon be having a giveaway to say thank you for following my crafty chitty-chattah and leaving those comments that make me smile.
Wishing you all a lovely, craft-filled week,
Becky x

Friday, 6 January 2012

New Year, New Felting Projects

Happy New Year to you all! I hope it brings you health, wealth and prosperity - and, most importantly, happiness.
I have abstained from New Year's resolutions, but have started as I mean to go on with my felting - lots more of it!
So, another two mobile phone covers have been felted! Here is the first of the two.

I had made a prefelt from the gorgeous strawberry sundae fibres I put in my last post and, once dried, used my sizzix machine to cut flowers from it. 

 A plain citrus green felt was used for the first two layers and then the final layer was added using the lovely green wool and silk fibre mix. Finally, the flowers were laid on top and it was all felted together.

It was quite large at this stage, pencil case size, but as it was felted it shrunk down considerably.

Once dry, I cut one end to create an opening and hand embroidered it with french knots and and back stitching to accent the flowers.The closure is made with baby velcro. It has smaller loops so it doesn't snag on the felt.

The felt is quite thick so it should protect a phone well from bumps and knocks. It would fit most mobiles, here shown with my Blackberry and my husbands iphone.

 A few close-ups and back shot:

I haven't finished the other cover yet. I'll give you a little peek...

A definite sea theme for this one!

So, I have already completed my monthly make for January and posted it on Flickr in the Monthly Make - January group. Others have been busy too so don't forget to pop over for a look!

I am enjoying doing some wet felting after needle felting so many brooches before Christmas.
There are now so many projects that I want to try: bags, felted silk nuno scarves, vessels, flowers and maybe even some baby shoes. I'm not sure where to begin but being signed up to the monthly makes will get me into gear for achieving some of these.
Two flowers to go on the Japanese cowl - a tah-da is on the horizon!

Have a lovely weekend,
Becky x
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