Category Archives: HOW TO’S

03.30.17spring and summer workshops…

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Starting this May, I’ll be teaching an 8 week fiber sampling workshop at East End Arts!  We’ll review basics, teach new tricks and techniques, and explore the endless possibilities of a variety of fiber art forms such as wet felting, eco dying, weaving 101 and more.  Here’s a downloadable brochure to East End Art’s summer program.   I’ve updated the workshop page, so have a look! I’m looking forward to a fresh new spring season of making and creating…

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06.08.16summer workshops…

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I’m going to pretend that while updating my workshop page just now, that I didn’t just notice how long it’s been since I’ve added a post, ugh that’s pretty bad…  Anyway, I’ve been invited to teach at a few new spots this summer and into fall…  I’ll be at Bond & Bangs in Asbury Park this July, and I’m really looking forward to my workshops lined up at the Art League of Long Island, that actually starts this Friday evening!

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Make sure to check out the workshops page and hopefully I’ll be able to add a beginner’s weaving class to my line-up soon!  I just started this incredibly addicting craft, and I don’t feel confident just yet to teach it, I’m just winging it myself…. Happy felting and WEAVING everybody!!! See you all, I hope for class!  Please make sure you’re following along on Instagram to stay up to date with classes, pop up sales and what I’m working on…  There’s a link to the right!

08.29.15the fall workshop schedule…

There are a bunch of new classes added to the workshop page, so make sure to check them out!  I’ll be at the Comsewogue Public Library this fall and I’m pretty excited about that!  You need to be a card holder, so what better time to join the library right!?!  I used to go to that library as a little girl, so teaching there is going to be pretty neat-o!  Those are evening classes too, so if you’re looking to craft after a long day of work, unwind a little, craft a little, chat with the ladies… I think you catch my drift…  Anyway, click on the workshops link at the top of the page and don’t hesitate to email me with any questions you may have.  See you this fall, let’s felt!

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02.27.15felting pods…

 

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A fabulous workshop in Riverhead this week at the East End Arts Council.  I try to post soon after my workshops a bit of a recap from the class as well as a list of resources for wool and goodies.

Whenever you’re felting a 3 dimensional piece whether it be a pod or a pair of slippers, you want to use a resist.  A resist is needed to prevent the walls or sides from felting together.  In this case, we were felting vessels so we used foam board resists.  We cut them to size taking into consideration that our finished piece will have shrunk up to 20% or so, give or take depending…

After we cut the resist to our desired shape and size, we covered the first side with our fibers, which for this workshop we used short fiber merino from New England Felting Supply.  The first side, whether it be a top, bottom, or a side was then decorated and wet down.  Once completed, we flipped it over to cover the other side of the resist.  Before the leftover fibers from the first side were folded over, we filled up the “empty space” on the second side with matching fibers to complete a solid cover around the entire resist.  No holes (for this project).  After the second side was covered with fibers, we wrapped the fibers from the first side onto the second.  It was then wet down with warm soapy water and covered with bubble wrap so we could start to massage those fibers around and start the felting process.  After 10 minutes or so, the piece was flipped over to start the felting process on the first side.  Sounds confusing but once you start you’ll remember the steps, not to mention I’m an email away…

After the piece has had both sides massaged (remembering to be “pulling the ends in” towards the center), it is now time to start to roll.  We sandwiched it between our bubble wrap, rolled it around a pool noodle and then wrapped that in a bamboo mat (this kept it from unraveling).   The idea here is to keep rotating your work 90 degrees, this way it felts evenly around.  You also want to flip it so that the curled edges that are facing up after every roll, are facing down with the next rotation.  This also helps to keep the shrinkage process evenly distributed.  Once we see that the resist looks really curled and squished inside of our felt, it’s time to cut a hole, work the fresh cut (felt the raw edges) and remove the resist.  Our job didn’t end there though… We stuck our hand inside and started to rub vigorously our pod or vessel against the bubble wrap until we achieved full sturdy felt.  This takes a while.

I broke the process down like this for time: One hour to plan and lay out fibers.  Another hour just to wet, complete the other side, wet and start the massage.  The third hour we spent rolling, cutting out our resist and then felting our pod or vessel with our hand inside and rotating while we roll.   Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset You keep this process going until you achieve your desired size and shape.  Then leave to dry.  Remember to wet down as you go,  wet and rub some soap onto your bubble wrap when you massaging,  this lubricates and allows your hand to move around freely.  Check out the link on the side of my blog to New England Felting Supply.  It’s a one stop shop for everything you need.  We used short fiber, but you can also grab some curly locks and other various fibers, explore and experiment and remember to email me some pictures!  See you all next time at class, happy felting!

12.15.14Felted slipper materials…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I’m so sorry it took me so long to post this!  It seems like life manages to get in the way of your best intentions (especially around the holidays)… but anyway,  I’ll break down the materials into 2 sections since the class was a combination of 2 different workshops…

For the felted slippers:  We used %100 Pelsull wool.  We used about 4 ounces per pair of slippers, and had some left over, so if you’re going to felt a pair a gift, even for a man’s size, 4 ounces should do it.  On the right hand side of my blog, there is a button (link) for New England Felting Supply, there you can find Pelsull and all sorts of different kinds of wool.  We used Pelsull because of the strength and body it has for the slippers.  However, if you wanted them to be super soft on the inside, you can always place a layer of short fiber merino inside, meaning the layer closest to the resist.

For the introduction to wet felting:  For felting flowers, we used a combination of short fiber merino and extra fine merino.  The short fiber merino IS the extra fine merino, but has been combed and chopped, combed and chopped…you get the idea…  Short fiber merino felts quickly and smoothly, and is a pleasure to felt with. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Here’s a little refresher for my slipper students, and I truly hope I didn’t hold you up from starting slipper #2!  I still haven’t done my second slipper, but I suffer terribly from second sock syndrome, an issue I developed when I owned a knit shop (hehe)…

Steps: 1. We traced our foot.  Then we traced our outline about an inch or so out to allow for shrinkage once we start felting our slipper.  2. Cut it and cover it with a nice solid layer of Pelsull wool.  3. Wet the fibers and press the water out so it reaches the edge of the resist (our foam form).  4. Flip it over and wrap the overage around the resist to the other side, trying to avoid big bulges of wool, flatten it the best you can.  Fill in the blanks with more pelsull.  You should have a nice solid layer wrapped around your entire resist.  Once you’ve wet both sides, check for areas where your resist comes through, the wool is too thin there and you’ll need to add to it.  Once you’ve checked the piece from front to back and you know that there is wool solid throughout, it’s time to cover your slipper-to-be with a sheet of bubble wrap (bubbles facing down) and rub.  I add a bit of soapy water to the top of my bubble wrap so that my hand can rub around freely.  5. Rub the slipper for about 15-20 minutes and flip it over and repeat, and remember as we discussed in class, it’s always good to rub from the edges inward to tighten as you go.  6. Once you’ve rubbed generously both sides of your slipper, you can roll it.  We used a pool noodle to keep the pressure even, if you have one, great.  These can be found at the dollar store or a pool supply shop.  Good to have and makes felting so much easier.  Once you see that the slipper is shrinking over the resist, you can cut a slit or whatever desired shape you’d like for the opening of your slipper.  I always cut 2 inches from the bottom of the slipper, remember that the heel gets shaped and the sides come up once we start to felt it around our foot.  7. Pull the resist out.  Pour a little soapy water around the opening and make sure your felt and finish the edge.  8.  Slip your foot into the slipper, (it’s wet and feels weird, I know) it’s the only way we get to see how much further we need to go.  Fold your bubble wrap and use it to felt your slipper around your foot.  Rub the heel, the sides, and the toes, felt it ALL!  9. Now you’re at the home stretch, you’re now going to felt and work your slipper to the size and shape that you need it to be.  10. Work and finish your felting, but remember to shape and mold your slipper so it dries exactly how you want it to be.  You can stuff it with bubble wrap to give it form while it dries.  If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email!  Enjoy! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

 

02.19.14the felted cuff how-to…

Whether you’re out braving the cold or sitting at your computer, these extra fine merino and silk cuffs are super warm and cozy.  They’re a rather quick project, easy to make and once you put them on, you won’t want to take them off…

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  • warm soapy water- some folks only use olive oil soap to felt.  I like dish washing soap like Dawn, it works great!  Add few drops into a spray bottle of warm water, that’s all you really need.
  • tulle netting- for intricate designs, you can lay the netting over your work.  This will hold your details in place before you start adding water.
  • a bamboo place mat- this makes life SO much easier.  It help keep your bubble wrap in place once you start to roll and speeds up the process A LOT!
  • roving- about 2-3 ounces will do, I find that extra fine merino works best and results in a nice soft to the touch cuff.  Other fibers for adorning and details like silk or mohair boucle’ are good to have around too.
  • a towel

IMG_5291 step 1:  With your merino wool in one hand, pull tufts and start to place your fibers down for your cuffs.  I find that thinner layers of extra fine merino work best.  Do not cut your fibers with a scissor, you want to hold your fibers in one hand (between your palm and your finger tips) and gently pull with the other, keeping your hands about 5 inches apart.  The bottom layer should be placed with the fibers running vertically, while the second layer runs horizontally, or visa versa.  You want to make sure you end up with 3 layers in total, each one criss crossed on top of the other.  I use extra fine merino and top it with silk, mohair, and all sorts of other blends, (trial and error basically- see what you like working with over time).  The most important thing is that your final layout isn’t too thin.  You don’t want holes in your cuffs (well maybe you do, but now isn’t the time to do it).  You want your final piece of felt to be about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick, so don’t be shy when pulling your tufts, it needs to be thick enough for a button hole… cuff thumb step 2: Finish designing your layout. This is your last step before adding water. Remember, you want 3 layers in total.  Felt shrinks about 25-30%, so keep that in mind for sizing.   Typically, my layout for a cuff measures approximately 4″ wide x  10″ long.  That felts down to a nice size…

step 3: Start to sprinkle your cuffs with water. If you have an intricate design, you can lay netting over your piece to keep your fibers in place. I just hold my hand over the fibers and sprinkle through my fingers, adjusting as I go. After your pieces are wet,  lay a piece of bubble wrap over them and start to press, even distributing the water throughout.

step 4: Once your piece is wet and you’ve rubbed it under the bubble wrap, carefully lift the wrap. Now it’s time to tuck the sides underneath along with any loose ends.

step 5: After you’ve tucked and tidied up your piece, you’ll cover it again, rubbing the bubble wrap in a circular motion with the palm of your hand and adding pressure. I add a bit of soapy water on top of the bubble wrap to lubricate it, this way my hand can circle around with ease.  This step requires a bit of patience.  You’ll be rubbing circles for about 10 minutes or so before you perform the “pinch test”.  To see if your piece passes the pinch test, lift the bubble wrap and pinch your felt between your thumb and index finger.  If the felt stays in place, you’re ready for the next step called the fulling stage.  If the fibers pull apart, place the bubble wrap back on  and rub for a few more minutes until your piece is solid.

step 6: This step is called “fulling your felt” which means the fibers continue to move and entangle around each other.  The space between the fibers will now start to diminish and your felt with start to shrink.  To start fulling your felt, roll your piece sandwiched between 2 sheets of bubble wrap for extra agitation like you’re rolling sushi.  After a few rolls, you can remove that top sheet of bubble wrap.  You’ll want to re-roll it with one sheet of bubble wrap, rolling that within a bamboo place mat.  This keeps it in place and makes it a lot easier to roll, and you’re going to now roll this another 50-60 times.  The more you roll, the more it felts.  Keep checking your work and roll it until you get it where you need it to be for strength and size.

step 7:  How tightly felted you want your piece to be is up to you.  Like I mentioned earlier, you want it to be solid enough for a button hole.  Once it’s a solid piece, you want to rinse it under hot water, then cold, then hot again.  This is called shocking the felt.  After you’ve rinsed it, you want to throw it in the sink 10 times, with force!  It seems so strange, but it shocks and locks the fiber into place.

step 8: Press the excess water out with a towel and let it dry.  Once it’s dry, cut a button hole.  I wrap my cuff around my wrist and eyeball it.  I use a scissor and make a tiny slit, just under the size of the button, allowing room for the felt to stretch, but not too big for the button.

IMG_7632 IMG_7654 These cuffs are waiting patiently to be featured in my shop.  Felting isn’t the issue, it’s the shooting and editing of my pictures, that’s another story…  But this Friday I will shoot them, I’m hoping to post some new items this weekend.  Hope you enjoyed this quick how-to, and happy felting!!!