About Our Classes
SPINNING on drop spindle or wheel
We carry spinning wheels by The Merlin Tree, (the Hitchiker and the Road Bug), handcrafted spindles and tools for spinning & yarn-making, fibers, roving, top, and locks and effect fibers for adding texture and sparkle.
FELT MAKING is an Ancient Process
At The Sheep Shoppe, we have materials and instruction for you to explore your creativity through felt making.
There are several ways to make felt and your method will generally be determined by what you would like to make. Below are descriptions and photos of the different kinds of felt making. Find more inspiring photos and sign up for classes here.
Wet felting refers to any kind of felt making that uses water, heat, and agitation. Whether nuno, 3D with a resist, plain wool felt, or a new felting style called ArtFelt, the technique is pretty much the same. The fibers are laid out on a textured mat, such as bubble wrap or a bamboo curtain. In the most basic felt making, the fibers must be strategically crossed in layers in order to get them to lock together. The layout is always part of the design element and is where much of your creativity comes in! Different colors and/or fibers can be used to create your unique design.
Soap and hot water are then introduced and the piece is thoroughly wetted with hot water and carefully rubbed with a little bit of soap (preferably pure olive oil soap) to lock the design in place and get the felting process started. The piece is then rolled up and the bubble wrap or mat is secured with ties at each end. After the mat has rolled up and secured, pressure and motion are applied to the roll with the hands and forearms as the mat is rolled to get the fibers to lock together. The roll must be opened after a period of rolling and the piece turned and rolled again the opposite way to insure all the shrinkage is not in one direction only. Once the piece is well felted so that it will not fall apart, the wrap is removed and other techniques are used for fulling, or finishing the felted piece.
In more advanced felt making, forms and resists are utilized to make effects on the felted fabric and also to create 3 dimensional shapes. The technique known as nuno felting can be used effectively in both 3 dimensional and flat felting but refers to the incorporation of silk fabric. Nuno felting is often employed for making wearable art works. (Link to Cristina's class)
It doesn't stop there! Some of the things you can make are beads, faux flowers, vessels, footwear, gloves, mittens, shawls and clothing, dolls, toys, puppets, just about anything your imagination can cook up can be made from felt!
See the gallery of felt making here to get inspired and see the difference between different kinds of felt making.
Age is not a factor in felt making! As long as you can keep your mind and body focused, you can make felt!
See our list of felt making classes here!
Needle felting is a relatively new craft that has become quite popular. It's sometimes referred to as dry felting because no water is necessary like in traditional felt making. Needle felting is done by hand with a tool known as a felting needle. This tool is actually a needle from a commercial felting machine that makes non-woven batts for quilts, or felt fabric from wool and other fibers for interior and hardware applications. The felting needle is sharp and pointy with barbs on the end. When you introduce it to wool fibers by stabbing the needle into them, the motion of the barbs causes the fibers to tangle together. The more the wool is needled, the tighter and smaller it becomes. The piece shrinks and takes on a shape that depends on where and how much you stab into it with the needle. Details like color and naturalism are usually added once a basic shape has been formed. This kind of needle felting is employed to create ornaments, softies, and dolls. Whether or not it becomes a piece of art is up to you!
Needle felting can also be used to apply designs in wool fiber, fabric, or yarn to woolen fabrics like sweaters and blankets, or even pieces of felt or pre-felt fabric to create a painting in wool. The same stabbing technique is used but the piece is laid flat on a soft, porous mat at least an inch or two thick, open or closed cell foam, to protect the table below as well as prevent the needle from breaking by hitting a hard surface. Needle felted artworks that are created flat are sometimes then wet-felted or fulled to give a smoother, tighter finish.