If you are one of those people who loves reading about synchronistic and serendipitous events, you’ll enjoy learning about what contributed to my knowledge about something that – to me – was an entirely new kind of craft. While researching low-income housing options, I came across a process called Felting, specifically as it related to Yurts (types of homes often made of felt).
As I expanded my knowledge of felting, including wet felting (through Martha Stewart’s coverage of the Cooper Hewitt Fashioning Felt Exhibit), I discovered that one of my amazingly creative online friends had just discovered felting, too, and she showcased some of her felted projects on her Facebook page.
As one who loves learning new crafts, my curiosity about felting became even more aroused when I saw Kim’s felted animal photos, so, knowing what prompted my own curiosity, I asked Kim why she began to craft with felt.
Kim responded, “I was inspired by other felting artists. I've painted realistic animals using oil paint, and I wondered if it was something that I could do. I began with a kit, and I searched the Internet for info on making more realistic animals. I picked it up quickly. The little white dog was the second item that I've made. The hound was the third. I plan on buying a variety of colors and books with good animal photos. I don't want to use needle felting examples. I want to add as many details as possible.”
Like Kim, I will probably create my own little creatures and begin with a felting kit, too, so I can learn the process of felting. Wool Roving materials and needles come in kits, so they’re a great way to practice. But as of June, 2016, don’t expect to find them in Hobby Lobby, JoAnn, or Walmart. Apparently, though the process of felting is old, felting in the 2010s is fairly rare. You have to go online to buy roving wool, felting needles, and pads. After shopping at the stores just mentioned, all of which sell felting kits online, I finally found a brick-and-mortar store that sold the kits so I didn’t have to wait for my materials to be shipped to me – Michaels.
Materials needed for felting are roving wool, felting needles (specialty needles that are barbed so that by moving them up and down they can pull different layers of wool fibers together, making the roving wool more firm), a felting pad (to protect surfaces), and a pattern – or your imagination!
Learning how to felt is easy, but you have to be careful not to stab yourself, so this craft may not be suitable for young children. YouTube videos are a great way to learn how to felt. The following videos helped me.
Felting for Beginners - Very Easy Tutorial for First-Time Felters
Needle Felting Basics for Beginners
Another creative felting artist I found online is Kay Petal, who felts celebrities. Her work is so astounding, I’m sharing her website, Felt Alive, with you. One video featured on her page is Making Whoopi! A Needle Felted Doll that is so eerily close to the real Whoopi, you’ll be astounded by what felting can create. Her other dolls are equally amazing.
The Conan O’Brien Show featured 10 seconds of another video that appears on her page, Conan O’Brien/Donald Trump off-road adventure! Scroll down her page and you can watch the whole thing. It’s funny, but a little long.
I’ve already come up with an idea for my own felting projects and if they turn out as well as I hope they will, I’ll introduce my creations to you. Give me a couple of months, though. I’m in the process of packing and moving while still caring for grandkids, so I might not get to it until late summer.
Thank you, Kim Dalessandro, for allowing me to post your first few items on this blog. When you get your online store up and running, I’ll add a link to your items here on this blog!