Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Podge Says

Podge says, “I’ve never made anything with roving wool. At least not yet.
I really just like to pet it. Have you used it for felting or spinning? Both look fun!”

Podge says roving wool is soft


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Make It! Challenge #6: Jack Russell Clutch

Jack Russell Clutch For Make It! Challenge #6, Ranee Galambos challenged me to make a purse inspired by her favorite pet, a Jack Russell terrier named Nina.

“I loved her energy, devotion, intelligence and her company. She was the most amazing dog I ever owned and always made me laugh at her craziness,” Ranee said.

It was my pleasure to design this clutch inspired by such a wonderful furry friend.

I was excited to start this project because I knew it would be a great opportunity to try my hand at felting. I did some research and asked tons of questions, and now I’m ready to tell you all about this very fun and interesting technique that will make your clutch soft and cuddly as well as beautiful.

First, I stopped by my local yarn shop to hear what the experts had to say. When I went straight to the bright white wool, they stopped me and graciously advised that you shouldn’t use bleached white wool for felting because the bleaching process has damaged the fibers. Also superwash or washable wool will not felt. The higher the wool content, the better felted the final piece will be.

More helpful advice came from Kiki and Steven of Luscious Gracious. I recommend checking out their “Murphy’s Laws of Felting,” which provides pretty much everything you need to know. Most importantly, I learned that in felting, a knitted piece will shrink more in height than it does in width. With this in mind, I made a swatch first and recorded the size before and after washing it three times in a top-loading washing machine set to “Whites.” Would you believe that my swatch shrank 20% horizontally and 45% vertically? It made me really glad that I had taken the time to do this test! Designing the pattern 20% wider and 45% taller was a little tricky and the dog that I knit does look a little wonky, but thankfully the dog I pulled out of the final wash had shrunk to the exact size I had anticipated.

Therefore, the best advice I have for you is to make a swatch and wash it in the same manner that you will use to wash the clutch. Record the setting you use and the number of washes it takes to get the level of felting you desire. Then use that information to guide you at the felting stage, because even if you use the same yarn I have used, you’ll most certainly have a better washing machine than the ancient one I used in the basement of our apartment. Most likely yours will take less than three washes!

Jack Russell Clutch Continue reading


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Make It! Challenge #3: Needle Felted Sloth

felted sloth 042 (800x600)

Thanks go out to Alicia Dollieslager for challenging me to make a needle-felted sloth. I had never needle felted before and that made this challenge even more exciting. I learned that needle felting is pretty fun and simple enough that anyone could do it, but because the needles are very sharp, it might not be suitable for young children. I love how Jane Davis puts it in her book Felting: the Complete Guide. She says, “Unfortunately, when starting out in needle felting it is almost inevitable that you will stab yourself with those sharp needles at least once, so have first aid supplies on hand and keep your tetanus shot up to date.” I guess I should feel pretty lucky that I completed this project unscathed.

The basic idea of felting is that when you move your needle in and out of the wool, barbs on the shaft of the needle grab the fibers and tangle them together to create felt. On the subject of needles, the package I purchased came with four types: a 38-gauge star-point needle for felting large areas, a 36-gauge triangle-point needle for fast felting, a 38-gauge triangle-point needle for attaching one item to another, and a 40-gauge triangle-point needle for detail felting and smoothing the surface. After trying them all out, I ended up using the 38-gauge needles for everything except the details on the face and the surface, for which I used the 40-gauge needle.

A foam pad is used as a work surface, both to protect your fingers and to help form the wool into the shape you desire. I started by poking the wool fairly deep to ensure that the center of the figure was felted. Then I switched to the 40-gauge needle to felt the surface. It’s amazing how quickly the wool begins to take shape and how forgiving this medium is.

Use my instructions to make a felted sloth of your own! Continue reading