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Friday, March 25, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

Recently, I was feeling a little burnt out on paper crafting, which is odd because it is my passion. I believe there is therapy in all crafting, especially in a group, which no doubt swings WAY back when women gathered to collectively work on quilts, enjoying the company & support of each other. So, anyway, I started dabbling in a new-to-me hobby FELTING. For those of you who've never felted before, it boils (no pun intended) down a couple different methods both resulting in the most gratifying result! You can either take old wool/cashmere/angora sweaters and wash them in hot water & soap with agitation to make them "felted". Then you are free to cut, sew, embellish however you wish. Then there is "wet felting" where you take loose wool called roving, soap, bubble wrap and lots of sweat to created felted items. You can then "needle" felt onto either method using sharp needles and wool roving making another layer to the whole process. Of course I am just barely scratching the surface on explaining "felting" but I'll add some sites below for you to check it out more in depth.
For the cute little patch Ewe & Me you see in the picture, I started out with a light blue cashmere sweater and "felted" it in the washing machine, then using the felting needle, added cream roving, poking it back and forth into the cashmere with the needle until I got the sheep's body shape. Next, I added black roving for ears, face & feet and a small dab of pink for the nose. For the letters I took a red wool felted sweater, cut out my letters (it helps if you have a really good pair of shears/scissors & a rotary blade is the BEST for cutting straight lines) and sewed them on with red embroidery floss and a darning needle - metal, not plastic. My goal is to make a patchwork pillow out of felted cashmere with each piece having a cute design. I especially love the blue heart with the orange dots. I actually got this idea from a magazine, where the person had done these patchwork felted pieces and covered a little girl's bed frame. TOO CUTE. There is a fabulous online shop, I think they have a physical shop as well, called Living Felt. She has instruction videos, explains the various ways of felting, why the wool "felts", and gives tips on how to use the tools as well as offering patterns and supplies.
I also searched YouTube and the internet and found lots of instruction videos. Also, you can buy handmade felted items like restructured/upscycled sweaters, gorgeous shawls and wonderful hats at: http://www.etsy.com/ just to name a few. If you've never shopped from Etsy, you're missing out. The creative world is now able to share and even make a living using these online markets like Etsy, Ebay and more. My passion is still papercrafting, but it is so fun to dabble in these other crafts! I liked the fact that the felting is relatively in expensive. You can get second hand sweaters from the thrift shop or your closet. What about that sweater with the tiny moth hole you just don't wear? The needles are inexpensive and really only need one to get started as well as the roving - a little goes a long way! My next project is taking old cotton skirts and making aprons from them, wish me luck on that one! I'm not the best at a sewing machine ;o)
I also went to half.com and purchased several books on felting a great price. htp://www.half.ebay.com/

Some good books on the subject:

  • The Sweater Chop Shop by Crispina Ffrench
  • Complete Feltmaking by Gillian Harris
  • Sweater REnewal by Sharon Franco Rothschild
  • Warm Fuzzies by Betz White

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