Monday, 24 January 2011

Time to Take Time

Well hello again! Thanks for coming back I hear you say.
I really felt it was time to take the time to get back to my blog once again.
I sincerely hope that you are keeping well and are  ready for more about needlefelting.
I have been working on a couple of new pieces which are taking a lot of my time up right now but it may be worth mentioning what I just referred to, a couple of pieces!
I find that it can be very benificial to have more than one project on the go, at any one time. A) it can get pretty intense working away on one piece and although you are doing the self-same thing on any of them, it just comes as a change to use a different colour,say, to have a completely different subject matter, unusual or exotic fibres, whatever, the old saying is very true in this instance, 'a change is as good as a rest'
It's a bit like the text in this blog really, changing the colour, changes the mood of the writing.
But too many changes can be disorienting and confusing, so it's just enough , so's you remember where you were up to but not too much, that your style is noticably different throughout the piece.
In the next few days I want to concentrate on NEEDLING STYLE with you.
Not how you are wearing your hair or the clothes that match the colour of your wool but the way you hold the needle, the way you sit, the position of the hand holding the needle and playing the bass notes with the other hand.!! It's quite difficult at first to use the opposite hand for anything other than  resting on but it is really important that you learn to use both in unison and feel comfortable doing so, not jabbing the needle into the fingertips or up the nailbed, which will definately happen when you first start and will occasionally happen ,even when you are proficient. You learn to have a higher pain threshold, that's all.

Follow The Wool

When you first take a needle in your hand, try to hold it as if you were holding a pen, with the shaft resting on your middle finger and the index finger and thumb providing the grip. Then rest the heel of the hand, the junction of wrist and hand, on the foam or working surface.
I don't want you to worry about any wool at this point, I just want you to get the feel of the felting motion. There are plenty of vids on Youtube to get the general idea but I want you to practice 'bouncing' the hand as if you were resting on a nerve!! This is by far and away, the least debilitating method that I know, some folk create the movement with their shoulder or their elbow, which can over several minutes, never mind hours, give you quite severe pain. Always try to find the most comfortable method possible.
When you have 'trained ' for a while, take a piece of scrap material, some wool, either tops, rovings or even knitting wool and place the fabric on some foam of if you prefer, a felting brush.
Now , we aren't going to felt a picture or anything meaningful at this point, just practice poking the wool into the material, until you feel confident that you're doing it O.K.
The wool should go into the foam just a small degree, around a quarter of an inch is fine, any deeper and you are going to ruin the foam pad before you've had it too long. And in reality, the wool only needs to go just through the material for it to grab hold and get felted with subsequent strokes of the needle.
How are you doing so far?? 
You may find that initially, the results are patchy, that's fine, learning to felt the right amount of wool for the design will come with practice.
For now, that's what I would like you to do, PRACTICE,when you feel ready, try making a meaningful shape, say a leaf or petal, blend a couple of colours together,see what the results are but most of all, ENJOY.
It's a fantastic craft to learn and when you have, with my help, you''ll think of so many different ways you can use it.
Bon Voyage, it should be a pleasant journey.!!:-)

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