felting

yarnbombedtractor02

Have you ever seen a tractor so glorious?

yarnbombedtractor01

I saw these pictures of a Yarnbombed Tractor named Alice, part of Kingaroy’s Tractor Tattoo, on Sparkling Adventures.

I’d love to share some more yarn bombing.  If you have yarn bombed, or know of any yarn bombing, let me know all about it in the comments, or send me some info and pics to vagusvenus (at) gmail (dot) com

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Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Laura Malek is a felter and sells her creations on feltjar. When she isn’t felting she is found behind a camera. Her work can be seen at www.lauramalek.com and in the book, 1,2,3 Sew by Ellen Luckett Baker.

Thanks Kathreen for inviting me to share my creative process with your readers today.

Five years ago, I was parenting a toddler and eager to find something to do besides day to day mom duties. This is when I began to felt. My good friend Ellen Luckett Baker from The Long Thread had found her place and much success in the craft world, creating a blog, selling on Etsy, and writing a book on sewing. I found myself inspired by her work along with the countless other moms who were sharing their hobbies, work, craft and parenting through blogs. It was here that I discovered the beauty and originality of felted items. My curiosity led to searching the internet for how to’s, which then led to lots of practice, blood and broken needles. After five years, I can say that there is far less blood and I rarely break a needle.

It was just over a year ago, with Ellen’s urging, that I decided to sell my creations on Etsy, opening up feltjar. It was exciting to take something that started out as a handmade hobby and turn it into a super part time job (financially) but with full time hours. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But what I really fell in love with is the wool and the idea of sculpting simple, modern designs. With just a needle and a penchant for poking something for sometimes hours on end, I am able to create just about anything. And because wool is a natural fiber – tactile and colorful – it is only natural that my work would be inspired by nature. Most of my inspiration comes specifically from the change of seasons which serves as an invite to design something new.

Before I delve into felting an object, I create several sketches – deciding on size and color options. Most of my work is quite small except for a very large nest that I created as a prop for newborn baby photography. Fortunately, because felting does not require much space, my studio is my home – but more specifically my couch – in front of the television. I love that I can sit just about anywhere and create. Although, I do find that any sort of distraction will usually result in injury (ie. a real good finger poke).

While I have the privilege of working anywhere, I do require a lot of storage space for the pounds of wool that I have amassed over the past few years. It is easily uncontrollable and is spread out between closets, storage chests, and scattered here and there throughout my house. Because each creation may require a different type of wool (ie. coarse vs. silky), I buy from a few different online shops. Besides the wool, a felter requires either a barbed needle (for needle felting – I prefer Wizpick) or hot sudsy water for wet felting.

My day to day work schedule no longer consists of obsessing over a clean house, but revolves around parenting, felting, photographing and promoting my work through various Etsy teams. I am constantly inspired by the variety and amount of talent I find on Etsy, and the pleasure of creating relationships with others whose days look similar to mine.

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I am so happy to welcome Katie from Duo Fiberworks. Katie is drawn to knitting and felting especially and regularly posts free little patterns for knitted toys and gifts on her blog.

I visited a weaving, knitting and spinning shop for the first time recently and some Fingerwolle from Schoppel Wolle caught my eye. This variegated pencil roving is soft Merino wool and good for spinning and felting but I thought it would be fun to try to knit with this fine, colorful roving.

Knitting with the roving does take some care, but it’s not difficult.

Tips to help you knit with and felt with pencil roving:
– Gently pull out the roving from the skein so you have a bunch of loose roving that you can work with. The only time I broke my “yarn” was when I wasn’t paying attention and started tugging on the piece to advance the working yarn.
- If you do break the yarn, just overlap several inches and knit with them held together for a few stitches.
- Tug the ends to pull off extra roving after weaving in your ends, don’t cut them, this will help them felt invisibly into the piece.
- The piece seems fragile when you begin felting. Work it gently at first. I used a potato masher for a few minutes then began working it with my hands.

It’s fun to knit with something new and I have lots of ideas for this inspiring new-to-me “yarn.” I was down to one potholder in my kitchen, and it was a stained holey mess, but have been holding off on buying new ones because I figured it would be a good DIY project. As soon as I began swatching the chunky roving, I knew it was destined to become a felted potholder.

I think the spring-like colors add a fresh note to my winter kitchen. If you have some worsted weight yarn around, you can make two potholders, with one knit from solid roving and one with roving edging. The edging takes about 10 yards, so you could make 4 potholders with one skein of the roving if you use it for edging only.

Download the PDF pattern for a knitted Felted Roving Potholder.

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Carefree Clothes for Girls: 20 Patterns for Outdoor Frocks, Playdate Dresses, and More (Make Good: Crafts + Life) By Junko Okawa. Trumpeter; 1 edition (October 13, 2009).

Felting for Baby: 25 Warm and Woolly Projects for the Little Ones in Your Life (Make Good: Crafts + Life) By Saori Yamazaki. Trumpeter; 1 edition (October 13, 2009).

The latest additions in the make good series (Japanese craft books published in English by Trumpeter) are 2 books for parents or those who love to make things for children.

felting for baby

Felting for baby has instructions and patterns to make lovely tiny felted shoes, felted teddy bears, hand puppets and other cute accessories with lots of adorable little details. The best thing really about this book is the exquisite detailed photos of the felting process, and includes both wet and needle felting techniques. A treasure of a book.

carefree clothes for girls

Carefree clothes for girls is filled with adorable romantic and rustic clothing for active little girls. Some outfits are more practical than others – depends on how many trees your little girl likes to climb. However these outfits are so gorgeous with some beautiful detailing – such as raw edges, buttons and hand stitching, antique lace and found fabrics, layers of fabric, the use of natural raw unbleached linens and simple cottons. The designs are not difficult, a-line styles, ruffled skirts, square front bodices, and wrap-over tunics. This is such a sweet, sentimental, romantic book of designs for little girls – and mothers who love to dress up their little girls. [You can download full size patterns of the designs from Make Good Crafts Website + download a couple of sample projects.]

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Nicky Epstein’s Signature Scarves: Dazzling Designs to Knit by Nicky Epstein published by Nicky Epstein Books (July 1, 2008).

I always thought of scarves as something you used to teach a person new to knitting how to knit, and to achieve a quick result that would encourage them to go on to build up skills. But this book, changed my mind about that limited view of scarves.

The colourful ‘Majestic Fair Isle’ if worn with a coat when commuting or on a cold winter’s morning, would make one feel very smart while wearing it. The ‘Patchwork Floral’ and ‘Winter Roses’ scarves make for fun designs – for a little knitting playtime.

The pattern designs in this book include so many different knitting styles and levels of skills with endless inspiration – including cables, fair isles, applied designs, felting etc – there are many felted designs – which I love but if you are not interested in felting your hand knitting then this book may not be for you.

The illustrations are very clear and detailed. There is a good beginner knit section and a section on making embellishments. Altogether I think it is an extremely interesting knitting book – and I highly recommend it.

About the reviewer: Janette spends her retirement working on all things yarn related. When not knitting, crocheting, felting or spinning she is slowly doing up an old weaving loom and plans to have a go on that as soon as she possibly can.

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