Sunday, May 30, 2010

nature pictures of needle felt animals

Although I can't seem to get the photo eliment to work in blogger, it does appear to be letting me add phtots directly from Picassa, so here are my lateset needle felt critters in their natural habitat .
Happy felting !
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wet felt " uncombed fiber" mats

This was my first experiment working with uncombed fiber . I bought this from

under "cleaned wool/ merino/blended colors" . I thought I might be able to needle felt it but though it does eventually is much slower then the combed merino . Above is what it looked like coming straight out of the bag.......a big, semi-matted tangle of white to dark brown . Long and shorter fibers and rather clumpy .
Although the fiber was deffinately lanolin, smell and most of the vegi matter removed....I did have to spend an additional 2 hours "prepping" the fiber . I think some of this would come out during the combing but I don't have a comber or paddles so I did this by hand fuls....separating and pulling apart any clumps to make a nice fluffy base and feeling for any twigs, burrs and getting stuck by a few tiny thorns....(they hurt worse then needle felting like getting a splinter) . After seperating clumps and larger twigs....I shook the handful and removed smaller veggi matter and ended up with this pile . Time consuming but not hard process . I think that you would probably need to do this step even if you have a carder because the clumps of wool can bend your needles if not separated .
Once the wool is hand separated and cleaned........ I had a pile the size shown using a DVD as a reference.......I spread it out over the surface of the bubble wrap as evenly as possible avoiding and large gaps but it will still look a bit lumpy . Why bother with all this work ? I really wanted to see what would happen and hoped that it would add some interesting texture not achievable with the combed roving . I would consider it a successful experiment as it did felt and added some great texture .
Once the fiber was laid out evenly, I added the top layer of combed roving. On the "dragon skin", I laid combed roving on top and bottom to sandwich the fluffy pile between and give two different side of color . Once you have the fiber all laid out, you just wet felt as usual.....hottest water you can stand and I uswed just a small amount of soap . You can find wet felting instructions on utube or on the right top of my blog under "obsession links" . I would say that this was a bit messier then the combed fiber as I had to add a lot more water to get through the many layers of fiber . Once I rolled one side to semi-felt stage, I flipped it over and wet down the other side and rolled that for another 30min . I think I rolled for about 2 hours total, pretty forcefully . Once the whole mat appeared to be holding together, I then did some slamming the mat against the bubble wrap covered table.....which wasn't easy as it was really thick and heavy .

The next step is when you chose how thick, textured and strong you want your new "fabric" . The reason I used very little soap in this felting is Because I knew I was going to use the drier to help me felt....I put the "mat" in the dryer, still wet and unrinsed . For the fluffiest "dragon skin", I only left it in about 10 min which felted it enough to hold together but not so dense that I would break my needle felting into it . The rest of the mats I planned on using for hand sewing bags or as table runners . I wanted it very felted and left it in 20-30 min . Each extra 10min. appeared to shrink and toughen the end result . After the dryer, I put washer on rinse and spin cycle and adding vinegar torinse water to remove any soap residue that might be left . You could do this step by hand but given the thickness and weight of these thick mats, it does take some mucle to get out the water . I then hung the mats outside to finish drying .
Above and below are the 3 "uncombed merino fiber" mats with combed fiber laid on top and wet felted . The texture you end up with depend on how long you felt this .
Since I took these indoors at night. the colors are not "true".....the smaller mat is bright pastels and the larger is brick red with brown design . All three mats were the same size and the smallest is the one that is very hard felted, the red is medium hard and the green dragon skin is light felted....more solid then "pre-felt" but still soft enough to needle felt into .
If you click on the pictures it should that these mats are very thick and textured .
Below is the "dragon skin" I hope to make into a needle felt dragon.......if I can overcome my trepidation of cutting into it . This is actually why I wanted to learn wet felting in the first make skin and apendages for my animal needle felts but I am learning to appreciate the textile for it's own sake as lovely bits of color and texture .

Saturday, May 29, 2010

large and small needle felt friends and large wetfelt landscape

I have been felting but still need to reset up a better photo area . My winter photo area is so bright now that it is washing out my pictures . Just thought I would mention this for anyone else who doesn't use a photo box . As the seasons change , you might need to move items to a shadier or sunnier place to avoid this washed out look which tends to make items look one dimensional and sucks the life right out of them .
Although these are not...."cat and donkey", they are obviously from the same family tree but with my own bizarre genetic tweaking .
Here are two friends that are still missing their eyes....(couldn't find my eyes for a few days but found them last night so hope to add them and rephoto with better pics tomorrow . )

Below looks to me like an arial landscape. It was an experiment using some undyed/uncombed cleaned merino fiber topped with some combed dyed merino . I think it turned out really interesting so I will try and get a step by step demonstration tonight . I was trying to make some "dragon skin" to use in a wet to needle felt dragon project but hate to cut into it now. I think it would be an interesting table runner . I may just use it as a base for my animals to pose for photos . It's hard to see the texture here, but the fabric is really puffy and soft and not hard felted . I stopped before it got to hard because I had planned on cutting, piecing and needle felting it into a needle felt dragon shaped "base"......I will show that if I get the nerve to cut into this living skin but right now can not bear to cut it .

Happy felting .
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Miserybear loves company.....sad and cute ?

I found the above at Cute overload which lives up to its name ......

I think I will have to add this to my "obsessions links" as I consider cute to be a form of therapy .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spinning the Web special order of animal colored merino for felting

Here is a sample of the gorgeous fiber that I recently ordered on Etsy from "Spinning The Web" .......... is going on vacation soon, so make sure you get your orders in soon or bookmark her for later . I think her fiber is wonderful in texture as well as color and I have been searching high and low for some good browns and grays . she did a great job of dying for me and the color variations gives the animals a much richer coloring .
I know I have posted this "utterly unottery otter" before, but wanted to show her what I have been doing with her wool . My BF says he looks like a Down Syndrome Otter but I think he turned out a bit panther faced . I obviously need to make the snout shorter and rounder...(see video of baby otter playing if you don't know what he was supposed to look like ) . I can't seem to make the video fit today....(arrggg computer challenged), but if you double click over the video it will take you to the full screen version on Utube .

I think the gray mouse turned out rather sweet and I spent a lot of time on his face to get more depth in the coloring but the picture doesn't seem to show that very well .
Blurry picture caused by battery dying in my camera.......(note to self...need AA batteries .) is it just me or do cameras seem to eat batteries?. My rechargeable batteries only last about 10 photoes and the cheapo batteries last only about 30 pics .

Below, are the whole clan so far using Spinning the web fiber .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

needle felt otter is a "fail" but kind of cute ? out of order...above is the fat-tailed bandersnatch , the larger gray critter was my otter attempt .

Well, my attempt at making a baby otter is not very ottery . Rather disappointing as I have been working on him none stop for two days and nights .........I will not give up.....I want a baby otter ! I think his friend, the fat tailed Bandersnatch, turned out rather cute though, so all is not "fail" and fiber poking fun will continue . I do think that it is much more fun to make imaginary animals then to try and imitate "real" animals but I LIKE real animals so want to eventually be able to do both .

Happy felting .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mouse playing Bunny bongo's (and other friends)

Having finished all my "have to get ready for Shepherds Harvest".......I am once again, allowing myself to indulge in the sheer joy of making new friends out of wool . The best part is I never now exactly who/what they will be until I am done .

I just received another few pounds of lovely merino...... natural and dyed, which I will try and get a pic of tomorrow.....(I'm so excited) . This is very special stuff and I can't wait to get my hands/needle in it .

Monday, May 10, 2010


Shepherds Harvest Festival 2010 with Wool Alchemy


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I'm still recovering from 2010 Shepherds Harvest wool festival . This is a rather over whelming experience for someone who usually lives more like a recluse then a social butterfly . Not only was it a challenge as far as sensory over load, auditory processing and executive function but I was trying to get ready while working an 80 hour overnight shift and fighting a cold .

That said, it was an amazing experience and I met so many cool people who seemed to share my love of color and texture . For some, it was their first exposure to needle felt sculpture and nuno felting and others were fellow crafters interested in sharing tips and hints on crafting with wool .

It was a great opportunity for me to share my enthusiasm for one of the most versatile and addictive craft materials I have ever used and I hope I convinced others to give it a try . Wool is good stuff . Biodegradable, nontoxic, renewable and helps family farms sustain themselves . The wool industry itself, as illustrated by Shepherds Harvest and other small community festivals, provides and opportunity for small crafters and home businesses...wool dyers, spinners, share their wares with others .

A special note to the wonderful people who purchased items from me.....

If you have any issues or questions about items you purchased, please feel free to contact me on . Just log in to Etsy and go look for my shops....woolalchemy or starsaponthars(re-purposed decotative items ). There is a function called "convo" which will notify me by email that someone is looking for me . (Technology is kind of cool when it doesn't leave me tearing my hair out ).

Both of my shops are empty at present but I hope to have items in them by the end of this month (May) . I have many items that never made it to SH due to lack of space, so you will see some new things as well . I am also very open to doing special orders if you basically like an items but would prefer it with a strap or out side pocket .

Anyway, businessy stuff aside, I had a great time at SH due to all the positive comments and encouragement of the folks who visited me there and just want to say thanks . You give me all the energy I need to keep poking the wool and making more wooly friends .


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