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271  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Newbie asking a question on reducing "loose fuzz" on: May 31, 2012 08:05:42 AM
Craftylittlemonkey -

Oh! Don't be intimidated!! Needle felting is such a great craft and it really is easy to be successful even as a beginner!!

When just starting most needle felters work on a foam pad - that's fine for starting out, but it is not the best work surface (a Clover brush mat is). Cover the foam pad with flannel. Eventually the flannel will need to be replaced, but it helps to prevent the foam pad from grabbing fiber. Don't felt TOO firmly - that's a common mistake beginners can make.

I'm a lifelong artist. I grew up with artists. I have studied art formally, but I learn best when I teach myself and I am very thorough when learning how a medium works. I also tend to think that people want to make their own projects and not copies of mine so when I share information it's meant to be useful for any project you might make.
272  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Roving for sale on Oriental Trading Company -- huh? on: May 31, 2012 05:32:01 AM
My favorite source is mielkesfarm - their prices are great and their quality is always the best!! They have lots types of fiber and lots of colors!
273  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Re: Happy Cat! on: May 31, 2012 04:09:50 AM

The stripes were rather interesting to do. I used core fiber to make most of this kitty and then I used Shetland fiber for color. I generally use this Shetland fiber for beards on gnomes and to get this particular color I had to dye the shetland fiber. Even though the fibers were clean, when it was dyed the tips of the fibers came out darker than the rest (probably because there was some left over lanolin in the tips). I trimmed the tips off the locks I was using and carded the length to even out the tone (the root end tended to be lighter in color). I used the trimmed tips to create the stripes!

Not certain how easy it is to see in this photo, but the shetland produces a fine fuzzy surface which just seems quite perfect for a small cat.
274  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Newbie asking a question on reducing "loose fuzz" on: May 31, 2012 04:02:27 AM
Yingying - I sent you a private message about books.

While I have worked with a lot of different fibers, I have my own favorites and I tend to work with Merino more than any other fiber. Merino is often not the favorite fiber of needle felters because it does require a bit more work (oddly enough, Merino fibers wet felt fast than most other fibers).

Which fiber to use is often just a personal choice. I prefer Merino because it produces a lovely smooth finish. I use other fibers for specific purposes such as Shetland for beards on small gnome figures that I make. The Shetland has a fine crimp to it and is just perfect for beards! It also makes for a very fine fuzzy surface similar to the texture you can see in my Happy Cat posted over in the Finished Projects forum.

Making objects of equal size is a matter of measuring the fiber. Fiber that has been carded and aligned to look rather like a long rope is fairly easy to measure. For example: you may start with a piece of rope fiber that is 8" long. That can be divided in half (lengthwise) so that you have 2 portions of fiber that are each 8" long. Those could be divided again and you have 4 pieces of similar size 8" long. There may be minor differences in the quantities which might become evident when the fiber is felted. The differences are apt to be small and you can correct any differences with small additions of fiber.

The batt fiber that I use is easy to pull apart and I can measure it easily as well. Generally with batting I'm working with sections of fiber that are 1" wide by 4" long or whatever I think I need for a project, but the way the batting is constructed allows me to easily pull off another piece of batting that matches the dimensions of my first piece of fiber.

When making objects that need to be of equal size - measure the fiber for all of the matching pieces at the same time - before making the first piece.

How much fiber is needed for any piece depends a lot on firmness. If you do not need a piece to be very firmly felted, it will require a lot less fiber than a piece that needs to be very firmly felted.
275  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Using core batting on: May 31, 2012 03:43:18 AM
Polyester fiber does felt, but there is something about it that makes me think it is dulling my needles more quickly than wool.

The wool batting that I use pulls off so easily!! It's very fluffy and works a lot better than the polyester that I have tried. It is also a lot easier to measure.

Yingying - it sounds as if you purchased wool batting that has been treated and/or bonded. Check around for woolen mills and look at their batting - for comforters it is usually about 3" thick (very fluffy). It's wonderful stuff!!!
276  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Re: Happy Cat! on: May 30, 2012 10:17:19 AM
Thanks so much!!!  Cheesy  Cheesy

I made another cute cat yesterday, but I can't get a good photo of it because it was made in very dark fiber. I may have to try some new lighting arrangements and see if I can finally get a decent photo.
277  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Using core batting on: May 30, 2012 10:15:17 AM
Wool batting works great for core fiber! I use batting that is meant for comforters - works great!!
278  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Newbie asking a question on reducing "loose fuzz" on: May 29, 2012 09:30:29 AM
# 42 needles are very fine and the first barb would be on the same side as the bend in the L at the top of the needle - I've never found that first barb placed anywhere else on #42s

on #40s the first barb is "on the side" in relationship to the L at the top BUT

all you have to do is hold your needle so that first barb is closest to the surface when needling at a shallow angle.

279  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Happy Cat! on: May 29, 2012 05:59:26 AM
I've been experimenting with a bunch of different projects - this is a small piece I made at the end of last week:

280  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Newbie asking a question on reducing "loose fuzz" on: May 29, 2012 05:55:02 AM
There are several ways to reduce the amount of surface fuzz on a piece.

When you begin finishing a piece the best technique is to use #42 needles at a very shallow angle AND positioned so that the first barb (which on a #42 is on the same side of the needle as the bend in the L at the top) is the first to enter your piece. I call this "Surface Felting" - your needles are almost parallel to the surface of the piece. This helps to catch a lot of those flyaway fibers and secure them into the piece.

Once a piece has been properly surface felted you may still find some flyaway fibers - it's pretty much the nature of the craft - and then your best tools are a sweater (or fuzz) shaver, or fine scissors.

When using a sweater shaver, do not apply heavy pressure on the piece. Sweater shavers are capable of shaving off more than you really want. You just want it to glide across the surface so that it can shave off those flyaway fibers and give your piece a nice neat finish.

Hope that helps! =^..^=
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