Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finnish Wool - a great option if you are starting to make shapes for the first time
If you're just trying out making felted shapes (vases, bowls, etc) you will love working with Opulent's undyed Finnish Wool roving.  During one of their sales I bought 2 oz each of white and black and am very excited by the first few experiments.

As described in the New Tips & Tools book, making a small bowl is easy if you use a Baby Gertie Ball.  I start off with cold, soapy water (just like nuno felting) with my Weed Sprayer because it makes handling the first 15-20 minutes of shaping the fibers around the ball so much easier -------- if you use hot water (the usual routine when making all-felt) you have less time to make sure you have an even layer of fibers around the shape.  Using cold water means you can usually add dry fibers to "bald" spots and experience the kind of flexibility you need to get a nice, even, viable felted shape at the end.

Making shapes is not my forte so I have to work hard to get good results.

This lovely Finnish Wool felted about 4x faster than Icelandic.  Because it felts so fast, you can also make either very thin or as thick as you want--------the thinner I can get it, the better.

New Workshops - Feltmakers North

Feltmakers North

Posted: 27 Feb 2015 09:24 AM PST
       Announcing Applications Available!!! 
I am pleased to announce that the application forms for Feltmakers North's next two workshops will be available from Tuesday 3rd March, Jayne will be sending them out by email, if you do not get one and would like one email Jayne at
The first workshop is a Two day Residential on the beautiful North Coast and is being held in Portballintrae Village Centre, The tutor is the lovely Jeanette Sendler, some of you will know her as we have had her several times to tutor us. Her calm gentle approach suits all ranges of abilities!The dates are Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th June!
We will be making a hat with a choice of styles, and there is the option to stay in The Bayview Hotel, Portballintrae, which is a small but friendly hotel with good food! (Good food is important after a busy day felting!!) The cost of the workshop for two days including materials and a light lunch both days is £100 for members and £140 for non members. We are grateful to LAAC and lottery for some funding for this project!
The second workshop the tutor is coming all the way from her home in Australia, its Nancy Ballesteros from Treetop Colour Harmonies! Nancy will be showing us how to make a scarf using some of her amazing silk hankies. The workshop is being held in the Scout Hall in Hillsborough and is on the 31st July and 1st August. The cost of the workshop is £115 for members and £145 for non members, this includes some Treetop materials (no Lunch included)We are grateful to the LAAC and Lottery for some funding for this project.

We are very lucky to have two exciting workshops lined up for the next few months, places are limited so get your applications in quickly to avoid disappointment, the closing dates for applications is 31st March. 

I hope you are successful with your application and I know that if you are you will have a wonderful time, I am really looking forward to them!
Just have enough room to add a wee sheep photo! I couldn't resist this one as I thought it looked like Carrick a rede rope bridge on the north coast but its not!
 Rather them than me! See you soon next felt in March 21st at 10.15!
Fiona Harvey

2015 Catalog from Dharma Trading

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Dharma Trading Co. March 2015 Newsletter
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This Month:
March-ing into Spring 2015!
It's the beginning of Spring! The weather is warming, the birds are chirping, and Dharma's new 2015 catalog is on it's way to you as we speak. If you have ordered with us in the past one is already headed your way, no need to request. We have some good deals lined up for you this year, so keep your eyes peeled. Silk dyes sales, new muck dyes, more silks are just the tip of the iceberg!
2014 Catalog Available Now!

On Sale This Month

Swing Into Spring Super Skirt Sale: 10% OFF Skirts until 3-31-14.

Name Our Next Muck Dyes

Dharma Fiber Reactive Dye Falltones 2014. Exlusive Limited Edition Colors Inspired by Pantone's Fall Colors. Coming Soon!

So Much Silk!

New Shipment of Tjaps for Sale.New Shipment of Tjaps for Sale.

Featured Tutorials

Silk Painting Basics: The Serti Technique

Shibori Spring Fling Scarves

New Products

Sharpie Fine Point Neon Markers - As Low As $1.09

Cotton Solid Knee High Socks - As Low As $5.18

Hemostats - Straight - As Low As - $2.85

Featured Artists

Kristie Boivin: Featured Artist

Heart of Dreams Alpacas: Featured Artist

Chinh Le: Featured Artist

Become a Featured Artist

Contact Us | Top Photo Courtesy of Featured Artist, Claudia Donaldson-Selby Submit Your Work >
Dharma Trading Company 1805 South McDowell Boulevard Ext, Petaluma, CA 94954

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pantone Colors Fall 2015

I know it's nutty to think about the Fall but that's when most of my customers are interested in nuno felt since the world continues to associate "felt" with heavy, wool, December-like weather and just won't look at it during any other time of the year.

Since "nuno felt" and cold are forever locked, the Fall and Winter colors really are important for future projects.  After more than 10 years of selling my designs, 90% of my customers love the darker, richer, deeper and more-jewel-toned colors.  It's never too early to plan and never to early to start dreaming COLOR!
Pantone's Fashion Color Report FALL 2015 - Haute Hippie


The Latest News from fabulous! Opulent Fibers

Small sculptures from short fiber merino... felting for density.



Celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 •Year of the Ram• at Lan Su Chinese Garden. I'll be demonstrating felting while others spin, knit, weave and dye. We will also be joined by Portland's famous Belmont Goats!

"Scholar's Courtyard- Symbols abound, including the plum trees and stone mosaic 'plum blossoms on cracked ice' which signal the coming of spring and are a symbol of endurance and hope." 


New colors added online

I've been working with our Short Fiber Merino the past few months and have grown addicted to the dense felt and smooth surfaces it will produce.

In the online store, you'll find several new colors and that minimum order for these beautiful batts is now four ounces instead of eight. This will make it easier to sample and blend while building your color inventory.

Shop Short Fiber Merino →



Felted jewelry/ small sculptures

Join me the first weekend in April for a two day workshop felting small sculptures and jewelry (your choice).

We will work with short fiber merino and focus on techniques that can be applied to many felting projects...
• building solid and hollow forms
• addition of beads and found objects
• wire wrapping and felt cords
• fulling to a dense, durable, smooth finished piece.
Please email → if you're interested.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

RAW to CARDED Wool - fascinating!

New post on feltingandfiberstudio

From Raw Fleece to Carded Batts of Wool

Our guest author/artist today is Zara Tuulikki Rooke.  She generously offered to take us through the process of preparing fibers from her own sheep to use for felting.
As I enjoy felting, I feel very fortunate to also be able to keep a couple of sheep. My four ewes are crossbreeds, from traditional Swedish breeds including the more well-known Gotland, and the perhaps internationally less well-known Rya and Finull. In any case, they do have really nice locks.
Photo 1
In Sweden, the common recommendation (with exceptions for certain breeds) is to shear the sheep both in the spring (to remove the thick winter fleece before they have their lambs and before the summer) and in the autumn (when they return to the barn and start spending more time indoors). The summer fleece (sheared in the autumn) is considered to be of higher quality. It has been grown while the sheep have been out grazing nutritious green grass, and not full of hay and straw like the winter fleece. Below is a photo of their summer fleece, sheared last autumn. The lighter, brown tips are from bleaching by the sun (and probably some dirt as they are unwashed).
Photo 2
My ram is from an old breed called Åsen. His fleece is straighter, without real locks. This breed can have a variety of fleece characteristics and different colours in patches on the same individual animal. My neighbour also has a ram of the same breed, and the darker fleece (black-brown-grey) on the photo below is from one of her lambs.
Photo 3
In addition, I also buy raw fleeces from pure Gotland sheep from a farm in a neighbouring village. The photo below shows some of the variation you can get between individuals, both in colour and in the size and shape of the locks. The lambs are born black, but later the wool turns grey and the once black tips are bleached by the sun. Or rather, they grown an increasing proportion of white hairs – there are no grey hairs, just different proportions of white or black hairs making the fleece look grey.
Photo 4
To a felter, this abundance of raw fleeces must seem like an ideal situation. And I certainly think it is. But, the process of turning raw fleece into carded wool is quite time-consuming. And that is what this post is really about.
After shearing, the fleece needs to be skirted and sorted, to take away wool that is too short, dirty or tangled. The short wool can either be from the head or legs of the sheep, or the result of what we call double-shearing (i.e. shearing a patch a second time to even it out). You usually also need to remove a fair amount of grass seeds and other vegetable matter that gets stuck in the fleece. That can take a lot of time, but it helps to do the sorting on some kind of wire mesh that allows small bits to fall through.
Then comes the washing. I try to get as much washing as I can done outdoors in the autumn, after shearing, up until the temperatures drop below freezing (in the North of Sweden that can be quite early in the season). I leave the wool to soak overnight in net-baskets in an old bathtub filled with cold water. The next day, the water will be really brown, but that just shows how much dirt you can actually clean out from a raw fleece with just cold water. I change the water at least twice after that, allowing the wool to soak for at least a few hours between changes, until the water no longer looks dirty. In my opinion, washing the wool in just cold water is sufficient if I am going to use the wool for wet-felting. During felting it will anyhow get washed again with hot water and soap.
Photo 5
During the winter, I do the washing in my bathtub indoors (which prevents anyone in the family taking a shower/bath for 24 hours), and then I usually use lukewarm water. If the wool is very dirty, I also add some washing powder (the type used for knitted wool items). The main rules when washing, to avoid felting the wool in the process, it to avoid too hot water, or quick changes in water temperature, and to disturb the wool as little as possible.
After washing comes drying. The net-baskets are easy to just lift out of the water and then I usually hang them up for a while to drip off a bit. If I am washing a smaller amount of wool, I often use one of those contraptions meant for spinning water from salad. Then I lay it out to dry, on a wire mesh or on towels on a clothes drying rack. Drying takes time, usually several days. It helps to turn the wool over each day and fluff it up a bit each time. It may seem dry on the surface, but wool has an incredible capacity for retaining moisture.
Finally, you have your washed and dried wool, ready for carding. However, some locks do need to be teased first. This means pulling apart the locks/fibres – and you will probably find even more grass seeds now. The photo shows washed locks, before and after teasing. It´s an extra step in the process, but if the locks are tangled in the tips, teasing really does facilitate the carding.
Photo 6
I own a drum-carder, which really does save time compared to using hand-carders. The wool is feed in under the small drum, which in turn feeds it onto the larger drum, as you turn the handle. After two or three runs through the drum-carder, you can finally lift off a batt of lovely, fluffy, carded wool. Then you can start felting!
Photo 7
It does take a lot of time and effort, and I do swear about grass seeds through the whole process, but each step also has its own charm. I often find it very relaxing to sort, tease and card wool. It provides an opportunity to really feel and look at the locks – and to plan what to do with them. And at the end of the day, when I look at my washed locks and carded batts of wool, I feel really wealthy. Perhaps, in part, because I know how much time and effort has been invested into those locks and batts of wool.
Thank you  Zara for such a wonderful tutorial with exceptional pictures to show us the whole  process from fleece to wool batts!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

BOOKS on Nuno Felting by Nunofeltdesigns

Create better, more intricate nuno felt faster!

TOPICS include:
Part 1: How to use the new tools including the Palm Washboard, Edge Tool, Felting Stone & Felting Mat
Part 2: Tumbler Dryer Method & Shelf Liner Shortcuts, Rolling Machines - what they do, where to buy
Part 3: Importance of Color in Nuno Felting including How to Work with White, Using Non-Wool Fibers, Using Cotton Base Fabrics, Prefelts & Batts, & What went wrong - my fibers fell off?!
Part 4: How to make an Infinity Loop, add Ruffles to your designs on the edges and inside, make Felt Lace, the Two Layer Technique, Mosaic Nuno Felt, add how to quickly make and add Prefelt Swirls as a design element
Part 5: List of sources for supplies including fibers, tools and fabric


Kindle COVER
Kindle Digital Edition*:

PRINT Edition on***:
*NOTE: The Kindle digital edition is readable on all Apple and Android devices including tablets and smartphones using free Kindle Reader software.


NFT&T has hundreds of secrets and tips for how to nuno felt better and faster using the newest and latest techniques and tools. It's so popular that it's now available in several bookstores and public libraries in the US and UK. Available in print and digital editions.

Best Silks for nuno felting with a list of types and weights
Cottons for nuno felting
How to dye your own fabrics with RIT and DYLON powdered dyes
Non-wool fibers and nuno felting
Using a microwave
Using a portable electric sander; detailed directions
How to "water" your nuno felt
Soaps for nuno felting
Learn how to make great EDGES and ENDS
Make "ROVING YARN" to create outlines & designs
What to look for when buying custom-dyed/mixed fibers online
Best throwing technique
Using the "ALL COLD WATER" method
Fix a "mistake" with needle felting
plus many, many more!
or you can buy it from my online store at a discounted price