Felt Making Workshops for 2014

 

****************************************Happy New Year ****************************************

*****************************New Felt Making Workshops for 2014 ***************************

Many people have asked me how I make felt and I’m now ready and happy to pass on my felting techniques. If you’re interested please get in touch for more information by messaging me here, on facebook or by email on sfeltaccessories@googlemail.com. So here’s what’s available:

WORKSHOPS in 2014
FELTMAKING IN 3D. Start with the “how to” of felt making before making your own seamless ‘3D’ item

Making a felt phone cover or glasses case (Wed Feb 12th , Sat Feb 15th , Sunday June 8th 2014)

Making a felt i-pad, kindle cover.(Thurs March13th, Sat March 22nd , Sun July 20th 2014)

Making a felt bag.(Sat April 19th 2014, Sun Sept 21st 2014)

Making a felt tea cosy.(Saturday May 24th 2014)

CREATING in 2D. FELT PICTURE Create a gorgeous felt picture on this really enjoyable felt making course, learn different felt making techniques experimenting with the use of wool tops and pre felt to form the body of the picture before bringing your pictures to life with needle felting.(Fri 7th Feb 2014, Sat April 26th 2014, Sun 27th July 2014)

FELT BUNTING Make yourself some wet felted bunting ( as many pieces as you have time for!) on this fun feltmaking course. This Feltmaking course covers wet felting and needle felting. (Wed March 14th, Sat 17thMay, Sun 1st June 2014)

The one day workshops will run from 10am to 4pm and all the materials and equipment you need will be provided (as will lunch and copious amounts of tea,coffee and biscuits). 

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Well I Failed :(

Stop press!!!! Sfelt Handmade Launches 1st August – NOT 😦

I failed to meet my own, self imposed and totally realistic deadline and I have to admit to feeling just a little disappointed in myself.  You might think ‘ just a little disappointed’ is rather understated but I’m using the ‘glass half full’ approach because deadline apart things have been going really well.  So, focusing on the positive we’re almost there.  The biggest step forward is all thanks to my wonderful son who has built me a wonderful website (thank you so much Tom).  This is the piece of the jigsaw that allows everything else I need to do to come together. So I’ve set a new launch date, August 31st (I’d love to still be able to say I launched in August, psychological I suppose)  Will I make it, yes I will, watch this space!!!!

A Felt Experiment

I know I said making felt is fun and it absolutely is. I love experimenting with it. I don’t know if you remember me saying but as well as felting I do a lot of fulling   (deliberately shrinking a piece of knitting) so my mind started making connections between the two processes.  Now as far as I understand for both of these techniques to work you need agitation and significant changes of temperature so I asked myself ‘is there a way of making felt that doesn’t take as long and isn’t as physically strenuous?’  Don’t get me wrong if I’ve had a bad day rolling a piece of felt 720 times is the stress busting activity I need but not everyone can physically manage it.  Apparently, depending on the articles you read, felt was discovered ‘accidentally’, either when a wool fleece was flung on a hot sweaty horseback or when wool was wrapped around hot sweaty feet (neither of which sounds exactly nice does it !)

Anyway I’ve been experimenting and without giving away too many secrets  I’ve made felt with a combination of wet felting, needle felting and fulling techniques. I’ve used it successfully to make some flat felt appliques that I attach to a traditional wet felted background but I’m going to experiment a bit more.  Here’s some of the work I’ve done so far.  

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Holding back, no way !!

This weekend i did something I’d been wanting to do for the last two years, I entered my work in an open art competition.

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 This is a huge thing for me, one, seeing some of my pieces as art rather than craft and two, I have to say I suffer hugely from a lack of confidence. This is despite encouragement from so many people, friends and family and other designers and makers.  My low self esteem twist on this would translate it to ‘well you’d expect that from them, wouldn’t you,they’re just being polite. I don’t know if this would resonate with you?

I supply some divine independent retailers and gorgeous art and craft galleries so I know, deep down, my work must be good, people are paying their hard earned money for it but still that basic insecurity is there.  

This week though, maybe it’s just a good week, I feel a new found confidence.  I got an email from a gallery, Y Galeri, Caerphilly, asking if I’d be interested in selling my pictures there.  I took them over and walked in to a fabulous gallery space, with works of art beautifully displayed, to a warm welcome from Jan who said how delighted she was that I’d brought my work.  I almost cried, my work was going to be shown here.  It hit me, I’ve let a lack of confidence stop me doing so many things. NOT ANYMORE!  So I came home, picked up 2 pictures and took them for entry into the art competition. Now to wait to see if their chosen for exhibition.The old me would say fingers crossed but the new me says ‘see you at the exhibition’.  I’ll keep you updated.

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How to Make Felt

Here’s the ‘how to’ I promised you, I hope you find it clear and enjoy making your very own piece of felt. You’ll have most of what you need at home, a bamboo place mat or piece of bubblewrap, a squirty bottle, washing up liquid,a bar of soap and a piece of net curtain.  Of course you’ll also need wool tops (merino felts really well). If you need wool tops or have any questions just message me through facebook www.facebook.com/Sfelthandmade  I’d really love to see what you make, could you send a pic through to my facebook page. Have a great weekend, Ann

 

Once you’ve learnt to make a flat piece of felt the ‘world’s your oyster’.

Remember when you lay out your wool that the finished felt piece will be about 20% smaller. Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice I could give would be to use wispy pieces of fleece, no using thick ‘wads’.

  1. Hold the length of fleece in one hand around about 10cm in from the end. Use your other hand to pull out wispy threads. (I’ve found the best way to be holding the fleece between all 4 fingers and the base of the thumb and gently pulling away).Image

  2. Lay out the fleece (in one direction) into a square or rectangle. Try to overlap the fibres slightly and make sure there are no gaps.Image

  3. Lay down a second layer in the opposite direction and then a third layer on top (same direction as the first)Image

  4. To add a design use very fine, wispy pieces of wool. Keep it as loose as you can and you can add spots, lines or any motifs you choose. Put the netting gently over the top to be sure you don’t move your design.Image

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  7. Fill a squirty bottle with lukewarm water and add a squirt of washing up liquid. Use this to spray generously over the net to wet the felt.Image
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  9. Use the flat palms of your hands to press the water down into the felt. No parts should feel springy, if they do add more water. Rub over the felt with a bar of soap then the real rubbing begins. You will need to rub over the net for about 10 minutes, reasonably firmly and evenly. Every now and again lift up the net and check the design. (I lift the net even if it’s a plain piece of felt to stop the wool coming through it.)  Time to rinse the felt. Either fill a bowl or sink with lukewarm water (don’t put the felt under a running tap because at this stage it’s still very delicate). Just briefly rinse the felt, ( you can lay it flat on a draining board and very gently press out the excess water)Image
  10. Put down your rolling mat or bubblewrap (I lay it onto a towel, to absorb water and also to make rolling easier). Lay the felt on it and roll the mat up very tightly with the felt inside it. (I use the legs of old tights or ‘pop socks’ to tie it up)Image
  11. With firm even pressure roll the mat backwards and forwards 20 times. Unroll, turn the felt 90 degrees, re-roll and repeat. Do this twice more so the felt will have turned through 360 degrees in total and will have been rolled 80 times. Turn the felt over and repeat on this side (a total of 160 rolls and good exercise) Rinse the felt in very hot (boiling if possible) water, followed by cold water then very hot again. All the soap should have been removed. Repeat the rolling process again, your felt will have thickened and shrunk by as much as 20%. Image
  12. Leave the felt to dry naturally (although no harm will be done if you’d like to speed it up by pressing with a steam iron on the wool setting)Image

Felting is such fun, would you like to try it?

I think you can probably guess I absolutely love making felt, honestly I can’t get enough of it. It’s such an easy craft to do, you only need wool (called tops) and basic equipment most of which you can find around the house. I thought that first of all I’d share some of the things I’ve made and then if you think you’d like to have a go I’ll show you how to make some felt yourself.  

 

Firstly some of my favourite things I’ve made, hope you like them 🙂

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In the next blog I’ll show you how to wet felt, my absolute favourite.  Take care.

 Something happened this morning that made me think

 Something happened this morning that made me think of my mother. Whenever she was really busy and working hard (which was almost always) she’d say ‘Untie this pair of hands from behind my back so I can do two things at the same time ‘ .   I was in the studio trying to finish off some felt pictures for a gorgeous gallery (Y Galeri, Caerphilly) that had asked to display my work.  Two lovely ladies came in to chat and buy felting supplies.  My heart sank because although I’d got the wool tops in I hadn’t done anything with pricing.  The lady was really understanding, left an order and is coming back next week.

 I just have so much to do !!! At the moment Sfelt really is still in it’s infancy but it’s going to have to grow up quickly because I’ve got August 1st 2013 as it’s official launch (no matter what day that is). I know that doesn’t give me much time but I really want to be up and running. Having so much to do could be overwhelming but I’ve taken a leaf out of my super organised sisters book and started making to do lists, lots of to do lists. Doing this made me realise quite how far I’ve come already.

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 Up until recently (literally the last couple of weeks) I still had to:

organise felting workshops and let people know about them

source wholesale felting supplies for use and for resale

design and package felting  kits

make product

photograph  product

sort insurance/finance/tax,

build a website

build a brand

build sales

be a wife, be a mother, be a daughter, be a sister, be a friend, be a housewife, shop, eat, sleep

 Where am I today?

Thinking about organising workshops gave me some sleepless nights but, now that I’ve got the studio, the venue and when I can run the workshops are no problem. Just today two ladies from the local WI and two craftaholic sisters came into the studio to ask if I was going to be doing any. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I’ve got a fabulous wool supplier, the wool is beautifully soft and there’s a really wide range of gorgeous colours so I’ve bought in a good amount of stock just haven’t priced it. (kicks self)   I’ve also started stocking up on felting equipment.

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 I’ve designed felting kits and written all the instructions.

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 the hold up here is going to be the photographs for the packaging and the instruction sheets.  I’m just not good enough so there’s something I’ve got to learn more about.  I really think product photography could make or break the business…..I’ve put so much care and effort has gone into making my items I really can’t let it down with poor photographs. People who buy from shops can see and feel the product but I also plan to sell online where photographs are all they’ve got to judge an item by.

I’ve been making product like crazy so now I’ve got to finalising the range I want to offer.

My Felted Bags

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My Felted Soap

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My Felt Pictures

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My Lampshades

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Then there’s photography again, as you can see, not good.

Need to get liability insurance……

  • Registered as self employed

Then there are the biggies, do I try to build a website myself or do I invest in a professional one, build a brand, build sales.

 I’m really happy with my business name so thanks to my son Tom for the suggestion so next it’s a logo and business cards then comes the big one, a website. If I can fine the money to invest I think a professionally built one will be the way to go. 

If I haven’t bored you to tears by now and you stuck with this to the end you’re bang up to date with where Sfelt is at this point in time.  What do you think the chances are of me being ready for the launch?  I’ll keep you updated. 

Another one of my mother’s sayings was ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ so let’s hope we are eating pudding, and not humble pie, on August 1st. See you soon.