Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wonderful Workshop!

Oh what a day we had! Everyone was supposed to make hats with the exception of Barb who I was going to help make a flat resist bag. As it turned out, folks changed their minds and the whole day turned into an open workshop. It was wonderful, everyone learning from everyone.

Barb knew that she wanted to do the flat resist bag and wanted to learn adding pockets. She put one large pocket on the inside with two smaller pockets on the out side of the bag. Since Barb is an accomplished felter, I wanted to push her a bit farther and had her use the synthetic organza over the flap and on the outside pocketed areas. The results were absolutely spectacular! The felt was strong, the organza puckered beautifully and I even had a beaded dangle that matched the colorways perfectly, which of course, I gifted her immediately. It just so worked! Nice Job Barb!

Allison and Susan were going to make hats, but at the last minute, changed their minds. (It's so good to be a girl!) Allison made the black bag with the pink surface design. She used 6 very thin layers, needle felted them, then did the wet felting. For a first timer, the results were amazing! She has a strong sense of herself, color choices and design were well executed. She plans on adding some beading and a snap closure. she also put a pocket on the inside.

Susan blended two different types of merino wool, one fine, one medium, and her results were slightly different. While the wools felted well together, it did not have the smoothness that I think we had both hoped for. She is going to add more texture and color to her blue and brown bag and do some sewing on it and then send me a photo of it completed. She has a very strong new knowledge of what she did well and what she can improve on. If her passion for felting is an indicator of things to come, she is going to be a very good felt maker!

Jen has made felt before using the needle felt forms, so we decided that using the new larger form for her would be a good choice. It would give her the opportunity the make folds, turns and curves, and a larger area for surface design. Her results were truly wonderful. Great smooth felt, lovely design, well planned and made her very happy, though very tired too, I'm afraid.

My wonderful husband made a tasty lunch for us, spinach and spring mix salad with mandarin oranges, cucumbers, walnuts, and chicken breast served with toasted sesame Asian dressing, served up with a large glass of apple juice. I think it was a hit. It was for me and I have so much respect for a man who treats his home guests so well. I am married to a PRINCE!

I hope everyone got some good and well deserved rest after their day of really hard work. Nice job gals. I'm proud of each of you!

Now off to clean up the remains of the dining room that I was too tired to do last night.

Happy New Year Everyone!
Shalom and Joy,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Felt Mama's

I've been thinking a lot these days about my “Felt Mama's” and how much they mean to me in ways that they may never understand. I want to take the time to tell you of my appreciation and admiration of them. They are amazing women. These women gave me encouragement, hints, challenges, shoulders to cry on, inspirations that I could share with them, dreams that I could tell them, goals to reach, and they gave without limits. There is no doubt in my mind that had it not been for them, I would not be making felt today. I am so honored to call many of them friends.

Barb Marr handed me my first felting needles and said go play. From that small act, came the needle felt foam forms and the beginning of my business. Thank you Barb!

When I wanted to learn to wet felt, I placed a call to Ruth Walker who told me to treat the wet wool like I was stroking a butterfly's wings, until I had a fabric that could handle the pressure of rolling. That opened up the world of felt making for me. Thank you Ruth!

Susan McFarland who has been a bouncing board for me for a good many years. She thinks as fast as I do and I love that about her!...and we can both speak at the speed of light. (I think we talk a different language when we talk together). Her efforts with the Midwest Felting Symposium have opened doors, windows and blown the roof of felting for me. Thank you Susan!

Bonnie Ahrens taught me to trust the the the wool. I do now. Thank you Bonnie!

Ewa Kuniczak taught me flat resist and smooth felt, good hand felt, good drape felt. Thanks you Ewa!

Rub the bump came from Sue Pufpaff. Early on I would get a crease in my felt. Sue taught me how to get it out. Rub the bump! Thank you Sue!

Pat Spark taught me to learn form everyone. What a valuable lesson that is! Thank you Pat!

My granddaughter Marie taught me that there is no such thing as too much color or texture! Thank you Marie!

Now, maybe all of these things don't seem like much to the more experienced feltmakers, but these are the treasures I take to my felting table each day. The books are great, the videos wonderful, but these women, their faces and their hearts travel with me. When I teach, each is mentioned by name, along with the felting tips they gave me. I want them to know that what they gave to me, is being given to others and their kindness toward me goes on. I think my “Felt Mama's” are the BEST!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Elfing ourselves!

It's been a time of great fun, family, friends and frivolity this Christmas time. I received the Susan Boyle CD that I so wanted. Happy Christmas to me! Our daughters and grandchildren also decided to "Elf" us. What a funny thing that is! We sent it out to many friends so we could share the laughter.

As I said, I've been doing a bit of crocheting and this is one of the hats that I made. It can be worn as a tam or as a cloche. I am making them for my friend in Wisconsin to sell in her shop. This one is made of alpaca yarn. It is so soft, warm. I'm working on several others for her as well. It is just to to sit quietly and enjoy the snow, my family and the fact that there is quiet in my day.

There will be a class at my house on Wednesday. I was not anticipating another teaching opportunity, but it has come together rather rapidly. Looks like the house will be full of fiber and new feltmakers! I think we're going to have a ball!

Monday, December 21, 2009


While watching the news the last few nights, I've been playing around with some very small, old pieces of felt, trying to look at them with new eyes. Since making bags is part of the classes I'll be teaching this next year, I wanted to look at these small pieces for decorative closures on the bags. With a ton of beads that I never seem to use, this might be the answer for the small pieces of felt and the much neglected glass beads. These small pieces of felt come from color experiments. If I am unsure about how a colorway with look in a completed state, I'll make up sample-felt. From the looks of my stash, I'm unsure about a lot. I think these pieces could also be made into small pins for simply wearing felt on a small scale, an accent on a hat, splash of color on a sweater, or maybe even a pendant of necklace. Gotta do more thinking on it.

Oh, Happy Winter Solstice! I never really think of it as the first day of winter, I think of it as the day we head back toward Spring! I love winter, love wearing big bulky sweaters, warm shawls, hand made wool socks, felt hats, mittens, the quiet beauty of big snow flakes, the striking beauty of white, the geese in huge flocks flying overhead, the gentle hibernation that happens in me. I love winter, but honestly, sometimes, does it have to be so cold!

Wanted to ask you, have you found a felting blog that should be added to my growing list? If so, please let me know. There are some fantastic artist out there and I'd dearly love to plug them here.

God's Peace to you,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

DAZE of Rest and Recovery

Seriously, I am still a bit dazed over the whole 10 day show thing. While I am thinking felt, I am not making felt. I think it must be that time when the ideas store up and then will burst forth at some later date. The time now is spent looking for upcoming art shows in early spring, looking at the fiber art show schedule, getting some crocheting done for the pure pleasure of doing it and putting things away from the trip. There is still much of that to get done.

I'll be teaching a lot more this year than last year. The phone has been busy with offers to teach. Classes are filling before I can get them put up on the blog or posted locally. Have a class between Christmas and New Year. Who does that? What was I thinking????

I am putting some items up on ETSY. The one in the photo is one of my favorite hand dyed scarves with random acts of felting all over it. The color alone is great, adding the felt just makes the texture a bit more interesting to me. Listing things take so long for me. But it is a time of taking it easy, so I'll not berate myself for being a slow lister.

There is snow falling, it is quiet in the house, peaceful in my heart. I am so glad that felt happened to me. I love everything about it. I think my favorite moment is when the wool almost become liquid in my hands, just before it becomes felt. It is superb moment for me. Has anyone else experienced that? It is most noticeable when I am making felt beads. Love that feeling!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


"Usually, we live peaceably together, except there was the time when he sold him a horse, but delivered a mule." ...a line from one of my favorite stage plays, Fiddler on the Roof. I think that is how I would sum up the total experience of the 10 day show. We had 17-21 inches of snow, depending upon where you were in Wisconsin, followed by the ever lovely ice that follows a melt and re-freeze. Most of the crowd was there to experience the German themed Christmas atmosphere, to do some shopping and of course, eat the wonderful foods that were there. We were lead to believe that the show was juror ed , but when we were setting up, we knew differently. They were looking to fill booth spaces, that was the process. Suffice it to say, I am so glad to be home.

I met wonderful people, people who "got it" about the felt or wanted to know more about the wonderful textile. Several hats in particular got a lot of attention, ones with the hand dyed yearling mohair and the ones with unusual fabrics in the surface design, such as the velvet, silk, gauze, chunky yarns, or the ones with unusual lines. I think the total number of hats I sold was 24 by actual count. All in all, really not that bad and with the other felt items that were sold, the nuno/laminate felts, pincushions, scarves, etc, it was all ok. I was surprised at how many of the wool and silk scarves sold. I think for many, they are comfortable with silk, and they are intrigued by the combination, so they are comfortable making the purchase even if they are unfamiliar with felt. It was a great learning experience in many ways.

In the days ahead, there will be much family time, and I rejoice in that. There will be time to reflect on the great gift of Christ's birth, more joy in that as well. I believe the final days of this year will be full of family, friends, wonderful foods, quiet nights and simple joys all around us. But, I know I have a lot to think about as well... Felt ideas that keep going through my head, thinking about going back to the art shows for finished goods and blending my time between art shows and fiber art shows, wondering how much I can physically accomplish to build my inventory, and getting class schedules put together. It's going to be a busy 2010!

Looking back in thanksgiving, looking forward in hope, looking up, listening.
Blessed Christmastime and Shalom,