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Tag Archives | wool felt

CHA Summer 2011 | Woolbuddy

A new company that caught our eye at this year’s CHA was Woolbuddy – Handmade Cuties.IMG_0029Woolbuddy features the CUTEST handmade toys, all created from wool felt.  The designs are really cute!IMG_0026
The WoolBuddy collection consists of all kinds of colorful animals, sea creatures, friendly looking monsters.  And sheep.  You can’t be a “Wool” company without sheep, right?IMG_0028
The kits come packaged with everything you need to create your creature (felt, needles and instructions).image
We’re really excited about Woolbuddy, and can’t wait to try it out.  Have you ever needle felted before?  What kind of creature would you like to create?

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Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Arterro Kits (2 of 2)

Reported by Susie Ziegler

My 10-year-old daughter and I were excited to play with craft kits from Arterro. Kits are a great introduction to a new craft without requiring a large investment in materials. She and I have tried a lot of kits in our time and often find that many popular ones for kids are so heavily packaged and prepared it isn’t nearly as fun to make the items as we expect.

What a breath of fresh air to receive Arterro kits! Kits with open ended purpose! We can immerse ourselves in the process with their high quality, sustainable materials. We worked with their new Paint With Wool Portrait Kit:
and the Collage Jewelry Kit:

First we tried needle felting with the Wool Portrait Kit. It contains four, high quality, thick 4-inch wool squares, an array of wool roving in rainbow colors, and three sturdy needle felting needles. Needle felting needles are long and sharp with little barbs to grab wool fibers and lock them together.

The package contains enough instructions and ideas to encourages us to explore the materials and plan our compositions.

Forget planning, Mom. I like this color and I’m getting started!

My daughter used a foam pad as a base that I had around the house. I used a rolled up towel as suggested in our instructions.

“Sweetie, you are using all the color, you have to pull off small pieces of the wool so I can have some.” We agreed that the colors of wool are beautiful. Although there isn’t a large amount of each color, we had plenty for our little wool portraits.

We loved needle felting with these materials. My daughter observed, “This would be fun to do with the Girl Scouts!” We also had an, “Oops! I poked a finger. Ouch!” No harm done, though. She wrapped her finger in a bandage and got right back to work.


It was a dark snowy Saturday, and we were still feeling creative, so we got started on some collage jewelry. This kit contains glaze, a paintbrush, decorative decoupage papers in patterns, tissue paper solids, assorted glass and wooden beads, twine and jewelry findings, and one large wooden bangle.

This time we took a little more time to plan our designs.

At first I didn’t realize the white goo in the pot was a finishing glaze and not the sticky medium. We mixed up a separate little bowl of our own watered down Elmers glue to stick our collage paper to the wood beads.


Again, the papers were beautiful designs and were fun to work with.

Jewelry findings were included in the kit, as were simple instructions to tie the beads to earring wire with the twine.

Pros:

  • Materials are sustainable and natural
  • Appealing collections of creative supplies
  • Fun for all ages, not just kids
  • Enough materials for multiple finished items

Con:

  • We already want to replenish our supplies, especially the thick white wool base material for the needle felting. Arterro only offers craft kits and not extra supplies.

We had a very creative afternoon and my daughter has learned two new crafts she can do herself when she is feeling an urge to make something.

Give these kits a try. We had a great time with them!

GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at Artterro are giving away a kit of the winner’s choice to two of our lucky readers! Answer the following question in the comments section to be entered:

Artterro already has all of these kits to choose from… what ideas do you have for new kits?

Comment by Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 9 pm CST to be entered. One comment per article, please.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Wool and Synthetic Felt

One of my favorite materials to use in hand stitching and crafting is felt. Felt is readily available at craft retailers but there are several types. I went out and purchased a selection to compare for you, crafty readers.

The first and most beloved type is 100% wool. This felt is reported to have an almost mystical perfection but is really expensive and is only available online or at specialty outlets. I’m sorry to say that I did not purchase or test this felt. I can only go by the word on the street that says it is fantastic.

Another type of felt that you can actually find at stores is also commonly called “wool felt” but is really a wool/rayon blend. American fabric retailer JoAnns has a selection of this felt manufactured by National Nonwovens at about $10/square yard. I’ll disclose right away that this is my favorite felt and I have a good sized stash of it in every color. JoAnns only carries a small selection, unfortunately, so I usually need to go online to get certain colorways.


Most commonly available in craft stores is synthetic felt made from acrylic or polyester. JoAnns and WalMart both carry a nice synthetic by Kunin Group made from 100% recycled bottles. Priced at under $4/yard for a large 72-inch width, this felt is an excellent value. Squares of this Ecospun polyester felt are stacked in the craft area and are about 20 or 25 cents each.
Finally, at Michaels and Hobby Lobby, I found 20 to 25 cent acrylic felt squares of unknown manufacturer. Hobby Lobby’s acrylic felt was the softest and fuzziest. Michaels’ was also soft, but thinner and more dense.
Wool/Rayon felt has the most “natural” feel for obvious reasons. Acrylic is slightly scratchy. Actually all felt is slightly scratchy and if you are allergic to wool, I suppose you would be scratchiest of all using felt of that fiber. I noticed that the acrylic felt has a slightly glossy sheen to it. Many people prefer it for this very reason. In this photo, my wool felt is the darker dull cut leaf on the far left.

Sometimes I use hole punches on felt to get uniform pieces more quickly. Whenever I’ve tried hole punching acrylic felt, the results are disastrous. Wool felt punches easily, although there are usually a few fuzzies to trim off with scissors. You can die cut all types of felt with heavy duty die cutting machines like a Sizzix. Thin dies designed for paper like the Cuttlebug will not work at all. Don’t even try it. Just trust me…


One of my biggest problems with synthetic felt is that it is too translucent. I want my applique projects to stay true to their color and not have the backs of my threads and patterned fabrics showing through. Look how easy it is to see the paper behind this felt square from Hobby Lobby.

I was surprised to find that the synthetic felt squares I saw at Michaels were reassuringly opaque just like my wool/rayon blended felt. Different colors of synthetic felt will have varying levels of translucency.

I washed small felt squares and the felt all held up well in my regular laundry wash and dry cycles. Only the wool felt shrunk considerably and had marked change in its texture. The synthetic felts all came through the wash virtually the same as they went in although just a little bit fuzzier.

All felt will pill and fuzz over time depending on how you use it. Note on this purse applique that the blue synthetic felt has pilled the most. The other colors are natural fibers.

Felt Applique after

I use felt in little handstitched appliques and small felt mascot projects. Ease of cutting and stitching are important to me. I find that synthetic felt drags against my needle when I am stitching and resists my scissors when I cut. Friends of mine who hand stitch felt find that this does not bother them and they like the synthetic felt because of it’s availability.

Wool Blend Felt
Pros:

  • Cuts well
  • Opaque and dense
  • Natural feel
  • Does not pill as much over time
  • Considered “premium”

Cons:

  • Shrinks when laundered
  • Expensive
  • Hard to find

Synthetic Felt
Pros:

  • Ecospun is eco-friendly because it is made from 100% post consumer plastic
  • Soft and fuzzy (this may be a disadvantage depending on your personal preference)
  • Holds shape in laundry
  • Widely available and inexpensive

Cons:

  • Resists cutting and hole punching
  • Translucent
  • Pills and fuzzes over time

Synthetic felt is available all over the place. They might even have a stack of it at your local drug store. You can find 100% wool felt and wool/rayon blend felt online at A Child’s Dream Come True, Prairie Joint Junction, and Erica’s, as well as many other sources.

After doing these tests, I still prefer stitching with my wool blend felt. I’ll save the synthetic for Brownie troop projects and things I expect to launder. Of course I love anything of any type of fiber that my crafty friends have made for me!

What about you other users of felt? Are you lovers of synthetic or do you prefer natural wool?