Thursday, 6 January 2011

Fibre or fiber, I don't know

However you want to spell it, it comes down to the same thing!!
It's the stuff that you poke with the felting needle, to give the result that you're hoping to acheive.
There's no magic formula,it's just a matter of trying whatever is to hand and see what it looks like, right!!??
It can be as simple as going to your local craft store or the internet, with a wad of money and I'm sure there'll be somebody who will tell you " Oh Yeah!! This is what you need, and some of this and some of that!!" ..........!    I'm not saying that buying all your needs is wrong, as I said early doors, there is no wrong or right way in this craft. But take the advice of an ol' man and don't just throw money away, try a bit of improvisation, see what you have lying around the house, old sweaters that you could pull down and recycle the wool. String and cord(chord) are another source of fibres and before you know where you are , you'll be finding them all over the place!!
 Maybe you know a local farmer who has some sheep wool left over from shearing, try to do some sort of a deal.   Wash it and clean it and dye it yourself and you'll have 2 or 3 kilo's of good useable wool out of it!
There are many plant fibres that you can use but be warned, it can be the devils own job, beating, refining, soaking, boiling, teasing and carding, drying and dying, it may not be worth the while.
There are some very good priced deals for all of your plant fibre needs online, so think carefully before going out to hunt it down in the wild!
The world of animal fibres is a bewildering maze and there are some really exotic ones out there that you'll pay a hefty price tag on. Unless you are doing an order for someone with a special request for some obscure animal fibre, stick to good old fashioned sheep wool.
It comes in many grades but suffice to say, it's very, very fine or it goes all the way up to virtually barbed wire! So a collection of wool, somewhere betwixed the two, works pretty well on most any project.
In the next post I'll talk abit more about fibres and how they act in our line of work, the size and type of felting needles and a few small exercises to give us a feel for the job!!
Happy hunting.

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