First workshop in the new studio.

After removing the divider wall I had put in previously, and rearranging my supplies, I was ready for the first felting workshop in my new studio. With a heater, electricity, hot and cold running water and a microwave, we had all the conveniences of being in the house.

It was a pleasure meeting Diane and she worked on a beautiful merino wool and silk scarf using the soft felting technique. The little locks of wool she added along the edges were from a different type of sheep I dyed last season..

Hosted a Felting Workshop Today!

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I hosted a one on one workshop with a great artistic lady named Elly from Corvallis.  She made one very fluffy colorful scarf plus a smaller neck warmer scarf.  Here are photos of the large scarf as it is drying on the rack.  I taught Elly my method of felting which is much faster than the rolling on the noodle method.  MUCH faster!

We had fun and she says she will probably come to another workshop and make more felted items.

If my readers are interested in learning to felt, or just want a place to felt where there is instruction and lots of supplies (merino wool in all colors, silk fiber, wool locks, and more) for your project, please call me at 407-766-2588 or email me at micheleballantynedesigns@gmail.com and we will schedule a workshop for you.  I can have up to four participants at my workshops.  Workshops are 6 hours for $100, or 3 hours for $50.  In a 6 hour workshop a more complicated item can be made, like the scarf in the photo Elly made using locks of wool as a fringe and decoration, and possibly a second simpler item like a smaller neck warmer scarf.  In a 3 hour workshop a less complicated scarf or other item can be made.  You may notice that each side of the larger scarf Elly made is different.  The scarves you make at my workshops can be made to be reversible.

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The flip side of the scarf.
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After the wet felting, Elly applies a little needle felting on some stubborn fibers!

Nuno felting is kinda awesome.

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I have been swimming in ideas for felting for the past few months but have been soooo busy working on my barn that I have not allowed myself time away from that project to make fiber art.  Consequently, when I have rainy days I go a bit crazy having fun with making beautiful textile things.

I warmed up my skills on Wednesday with a couple simple scarves.  One a neutral blend of creamy whites and earth tones, fancied up just a touch with a short fringe of natural wool locks.  The other a bold combination of bright red, grey, and black, with a touch of white tencil running through the grey.  I made the fringe uneven for a more interesting effect.

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On Thursday I wanted to try making a larger piece, a shawl, and incorporating some elements other than wool and silk fibers.  I used a vintage piece of lace table cloth that was not usable as it was with a stain and a hole, and I also found some silk material in my stash of silks that has a crinkle cloth texture to it which turned out very well and felted easily to the wool.

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Lastly, I finally dug out some of the sari’s I bought last year when I went on a sari buying spree for nuno felting, then got too busy to do anything with.  I have learned that not all sari’s are going to be good for felting because many are made of stiffer silk fabric, and have less texture for the tiny wool barbs to hook onto.  I did have several sari’s that would be good for felting, however, and I looked at the possibilities.  I chose a sari that was soft and lightweight and had a texture I thought would work, and had beautiful colors.  I felt like I was in total experiment mode, but I love the results.  Sometimes I don’t think it’s possible to ruin felting, though I can’t really say that, I’ve done it before!!

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One big mistake I made was microwaving the sari as I was in the process of felting it with the wool.  There is gold thread in the weave that was fine when it was very wet, but once the felting piece started to dry out, it burned a few little holes in the material, which I had to felt over to cover and hold together.

John showed up last night, a day early (he likes to surprise us) and we have been working on the barn all day today.  I was burned out on felting after two straight days of it anyway, so working outside in the fresh air is a good shift of energy.

Another wonderful workshop!

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Laura (left) holding the scarf she made at our felting workshop; and Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch owner, Jennifer, in matching colors (there are no coincidences).  In the background are the wall of alpaca socks and a scarf I made of merino and alpaca locks.

Yesterday we had our workshop at Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch store and it was SOOOO fun!!!

Laura and Jennifer both made felting projects and we had a ladies day of visiting and creating and eating yummy snacks, including some amazing gluten free, dairy free, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies Jennifer made!

Laura chose plum and bitter chocolate colors as the background for her scarf and added lovely dyed fibers from her own Suri alpaca and from some Wensleydale fleece locks she had.  The reverse side had a combination of brown tones with white silk fiber running through, over a deep plum background.  Gorgeous combination!

Jennifer created a wall hanging of nutmeg and browns, lichen greens, rust, and whites; then on the other half of her project, she used the same colors to create felted fabric to top some throw pillows for her home.

Everyone expressed how much fun they had and I was delighted to share something I enjoy so much!

If you are interested in attending a workshop either at the ranch store or in my home, you can email me at micheleballantynedesigns@gmail.com — or call me at 407-766-2588, and we will set up a workshop.

 

New Scarf: Valentines Confection Finished!

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Here is the finished scarf I laid out at Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch the Saturday before Valentine’s Day.  I love how it turned out!  The baby soft alpaca embellishing the soft merino wool creates a kitten soft feel to the skin!

This scarf is different on each side, as seen below, which makes it reversible.

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Super fun to make!  The white alpaca softens the bright colors.  Works with many different brooches.

 

New flyer for the workshop at the ranch

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Jennifer, the owner of the Alpaca Ranch, suggested a flyer with more color; and my daughter Melanie suggested more photos of workshops on the flyer, so I came up with this.  I like this flyer better with the white background because the lettering is easier to read.  The flyer may not be as “pretty”, but it works.

Jennifer suggested I work on felting a scarf on Feb. 11th, while I am at her store at the ranch during her pre Valentines sale.  She had already invited me to sell my scarves there on that day.  She thought I might like to use my time to make a scarf while also demonstrating to customers what we will be doing at the workshop.  I love the idea!  If anyone wants to stop by to see the store and get in on some Valentine sales, and see my felting process at the same time, come on over to the ranch!

Working with alpaca fleece and I love the results! Workshop coming, see below . . .

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Creamy white merino and alpaca.
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With touches of alpaca along the edges and in the center of this creamy white scarf, a look of heavenly clouds is created.  The shiny white wavy lines are created with pure silk fibers.
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Here I added bits of fleece all over the underlying merino design.  The alpaca felts best when paired with a very feltable fiber like merino.
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This scarf is reversable; one side (above) having charcoal, cafe o’ lait, camel, and white underlying the white alpaca fleece.  The other side (below) has a cafe o’ lait, camel and white underlying design with white alpaca on top.

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The brooches I sell to go with the scarves.  Sometimes people buy a brooch first then design a scarf to go with the brooch they choose.

I stopped by Alpacas At Marquam Hill Ranch and met the owner, Jennifer.  I visited with her about alpacas and whether their fleeces felt or not.  She let me know that they do felt, but they felt better when mixed with an easy felting fiber such as merino wool.  We chatted and got to know each other and decided we would collaborate on a workshop!

I bought a couple small bags of fleece and she gave me another, and I went to work.  I love the results!  Now we have a workshop planned at her ranch.

Here is the flyer for our workshop together (perhaps some of you can make it):

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