As you may or may not know, I've been dying to learn how to needlefelt onto mohair bears. I had no knowledge whatsoever of this fascinating craft and so decided to book my first ever course relating to bear-making, as part of my new year's resolution to learn something fresh. Naturally, when I saw that our very own Judi was offering just such a course I leapt to my keyboard to sign up!
I received my login details yesterday evening and eagerly logged into the course webpages. Because of the time difference between the UK and the USA, I was yawning like a mad yawning machine by the time I actually managed to find space in my day to settle down at the computer. It was all extremely user friendly and well planned out, so after printing off a few pages, I went up to bed secure in the knowledge that if I'm a disaster at needlefelting, I certainly won't be able to blame it on the course materials!
This week I must try and find the time to get started. Judi has kindly provided a bear pattern for the course and I'm debating whether to try that out, or whether to start off with one of my own patterns. I think it might be fun to try out someone else's pattern for a change, so will probably use this course exactly as it is offered, before deciding how to incorporate my newfound skills (fingers crossed!) into my own design work.
I decided that I wanted to source all supplies myself, rather than purchase the course kit offered and so I've spent many hours on the internet hunting materials down ... it's been a huge learning curve for me as I didn't even know the basic terminology! Still, with the help of dear Carrie from Little Bloomers, I've started to understand a little more about what I'm looking for and why. I've found many useful links for supplies through TT members and have located bits n' pieces via Ebay too. I have certainly needed help to find my way around!
I think my main problem will be time. The course runs for a month with a short period of grace, but as I have a show on the horizon and orders to fulfill, I'm a little concerned that I will find it hard to accommodate all that I need to do over the coming month. I'm still waiting for the arrival of some of my supplies for the course, but don't think that's too much of a problem, as the first thing I need to do is to make a bear head - hopefully, by the time that's done, I will have received my new toys!
So, to summarise Day One: I've decided on a course, booked it, sourced materials and printed instructions. I haven't received all my materials yet (my own fault for not buying the course kit!) and haven't actually started making anything. I have a clear understanding of what I need to do for the first part of the course, thanks to the great course instructions and I'm looking forward to turning that understanding into my first ever felt face bear!
I'll let you know how I get along!
Does anyone else have a progress report to share?
WoooHoooo Yayyyyyy Paula! You are an inspiration!
Judi's bear pattern is cute....don't shy away from the needles.....keep bandaids and tissues close to hand- let your finger bleed just a bit and then slap on a bandaid and go on.
I've seen your work Paula- you have nothing to fear. If dilu can do it you can do it better!
It is very relaxing for me and I treasure the evenings when I watch silly shows like MONK and poke away!
did you get yourself a larger foam cushion? At least 1 1/2 to 2" thick. I use one side for dark rovings and one for the whites and lights.
It can be a bother trying to keep your needles straight
I buy mine in bulk and have all sorts of weird finger nail polish colors....I color the tube and the needle.
If you decide you like needlefelting there are some neat tools that can help you make short work of the begining...which is basically turn and poke over and over....so save this link:
They have 3 and 5 needle punchs that work much faster for the beginning and the also have a 'pin-vise' needle handle. It is metal, balanced, and easy to change needles. because of its weight and balance I can work longer, oops, I should have said play longer, without fatigue.
I hope you love doing it as much as those of us who are hooked do.
I am truly looking forward to what you come up with, because I am convinced you will be great at it and it will be a fantastic addition to the Paula Carter style
Many many thanks for the advice!
I'm hoping my needlefelting equipment will arrive in the next day or two - I ordered from the US, so hopefully the wind is in the right direction for early delivery!
My daughter has just started to learn to needlefelt with one of Carrie's (Little Bloomers) kits and she's hooked already (not to mention well bandaged!) so I've no doubt that we will be spending many pleasant evenings jabbing away together.
Today I'm feeling guilty that I haven't found time enough to at least cut out my head pattern for the course yet. I have a couple of orders to get finished this week and I'm think I've picked up some kind of virus, so I'm fighting the need for sleep. Hopefully I will feel more awake and find more time tomorrow.
I'm really looking forward to learning this craft in the hope that I can keep developing my designs. I just hope I can master it!!
Paula and Dilu,
I also like Paula logged on and got the pattern and the notes for the class, and got as far as tracing off the pattern. This afternoon I want to cut out the mohair.
Most of the morning was spent trying to find out if we have the "raw " wool in South Africa. I have learnt about microns- thickness of fibre, we buy all of our wool from Australia, but we produce all of the mohair in the Eastern Cape, but no alpaca. I will have to go to the Wool Mills for the wool roving and lucky for me my husband is in Port Elizabeth for a meeting and I spoke to a Jared Shear- now how can a Mr Shear work at a Wool Mill, I ask you, anyway he will kindly put some samples into a bag and hopefully hubby will find time to go and collect them for me. This way I will be able to see if it is the same that I have bought when overseas.He will give me mohair, wool and a blend of the two. Needles I will still purchase overseas, and will look at the address you mention Dilu.
The one person I spoke to knew all about wet wool felting, but nothing about needle felting, and has asked me to send her a picture- I do have some small bears that I did when sitting at shows and that was as far as I ever got with it, so have a kind of idea , or should I say I know all about bleeding fingers.
Another day to live and learn.
Oh the tortures we put purselves through for the love of our art. It is worth the ocassional jabbed finger.
I really enjoyed reading your progress reports Paula and Lynette. Thanks so much for your input also Dilly woggs
Ladies, youwill find as you go along on thie asventure that almost any wool will felt. Of course I have my favorite wools ..as you will most likly find favorites too. In fact I have even needle felted fur pulled from the undercoat of an arctic fox pelt. It was very very slippery stuff to work with, but it did work.
Like Dilu, I use a large piece of faom rubber from a pillow that I cut up. The small foam blocks that youcan buy for needle felting break down after a few projects. I also like that not only does my cut pillow work as a base for felting, it also serves as a "table top" or better yet, a lap top srurface so I can wacth TV while working.....caution...if wacthing TV..don't get too distracted...that is when my poke accidents happen. Ouch.
Right now I am working on a New Zealand Opossum fur bear with an inset needle felted face. I am not felting right onto the fur itself but rather an inset wool fabric face that I peiced in while sewing the head. I can felt right onto the face now. It is working wonderfully and is turning out very cute.
I'll post pictures when he is done.
Your new project sounds very interesting Judi - I shall look forward to seeing the pictures!
I received my mohair for the bear today and a few needles, now all I need is the rest of the materials and I'll be up and running. I like the idea of using a foam pillow ... that sounds very practical.
I have enjoyed knitting for many years and I love natural fibre so whilst hunting around for materials I have been delighted to discover the wide variety of beautiful wool available for felting ... having to finish my last couple of mohair bear orders this week before starting on my new project is frustrating me no end!!
I can hardly wait to see your newest creation. I know it will be fantastic.
I just finished another golly girl and friend.
When i finish this nexty set I think i will try a cat.....since anywhere I look in this house there are cats.....
Lynette and Paula I hope you love it too.....I am grateful for Judi's class because it does give the mohair bears an extra dimension.....I have one almost finished ....needs some eye brows and painting.......
My wool/roving arrived back with "grumpy" hubby today, so over the weekend I am going to poke it and see how it works. (Hubby decides that January is his get slim trim month, so he does not have his usual beer to drink, also he is a keen mountain bike rider and marathon runner so hence him being a Mr GRUMPY) The mohair piece looks stunning, very silky in appearance.
I even went as far as taking a few darker pieces of wool, felted that and added it onto the paw pads of an Alpaca bear that I am getting ready to take to Japan, so Judi and TT Chatters you have already got my fingers poking away, thank you for sharing and giving me the encouragement to try out a new venture.
Don't you feel like a kid at Christmas when a package of supplies arrive?! When that brown UPS truck comes up the drive my kids and hubby will say, "Santa's here!". Woo hooo you should see me run to the door!
I love your enthusiasm ladies! :hug:
It took me all evening to felt the feet of my newsest bear. I am using roving wool where all the long strands of fiber lay in the same direction and comes in th form of a snake in the bag. What I have found to help mix up the fibers is to pull off a short length...approximately 6 to 10 inches, and cut it is three segments , then pull it all apart and mix up all the fibers. I like the finihsed look much more this way. It is more smooth looking.
must go poke poke poke
oh and Dilu...you know the rules...pictures please...... :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:
Well I too have signed up for Judi's course and so far I have cut out the bear and stitched it together, but now I'm stuck I only have a few felting needles and they are hiding away somewhere in the house so far I've searched six rooms to no avail so I'll try in the other rooms today. Why they would be anywhere other than in the room where I work I don't know but things do have a way of moving around and hiding sometimes. I've ordered more needles from Edinburgh so hopefully they will arrive soon. I love the simplicity of the E-BearZ website and have downloaded all there is to have so far for making the bear. I can't wait to get started so I find it all very frustraighting not to have my needles. Still I haven't poked my fingers yet!
Jane, I just reread your post! You had me laughing. Why?
so far I've searched six rooms to no avail so I'll try in the other rooms today.
If you don't count the kitchen my house only has 4 rooms altogether! And Yet?! I still loose things. :redface:
Good luck on finding your needles....