Another Fun Alpaca Mitten Felting Class

Another class turns out to be good, clean fun!

Alpaca Mitten Felting Class

Chris Vannatta and Jennifer Kamm, mother and daughter, spent the afternoon together at Alpaca Meadows learning how to wet felt alpaca mittens!

Alpaca Mitten Felting Class

They started with a pile of fiber, and in just several hours, each had made a pair of mittens!

Alpaca Mitten Felting Class

In my classes, we make one mitten at a time.  The challenge in doing it this way is making the second mitten look like the first.  Still one mitten at a time seems best when learning; but, it is quite easy to do two mittens at a time.  Here is a tutorial with great pictures that shows how:

Wet Felted Mittens – Two At A Time

Wet Felting Two Mittens At A Time

Some of the felted mittens I’ve made ended up too short, so I hand-stitched on crocheted cuffs.  This gives a snugger cuff that comes down on my arm farther.

Handfelted Alpaca Mittens With Crocheted Cuff

Directions for Crocheting A Cuff are below:

I think I used about a Size G Hook, depends on the yarn you are using.   You can alter the number of  stitches depending on how long of a cuff you want, and adjust the number of rows depending on the width of your mitten across the bottom.

Ch 10.

Note: For rows 1 through 22 in wrist ribbing, sc in back loop only.

Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, ch 1, turn. 9 sc.

Rows 2 – 22: Sc in each sc across, ch 1, turn.

Row 23: Bring row 1 to meet row 22, matching stitches. Sl st row 1 and row 22 together. 11 ridges made.

Cut yarn. Turn cuff inside out (so sl st edge is inside) and turn cuff so the ridges are running vertically, attach yarn with sl st in the side of the 1st sc in row 1.

If you’d rather knit, here are some directions for you:

Knitting a Cuff for Felted Mittens

Felted Alpaca Mittens

Having just two students gave me time to felt a pair of mittens too!

Felted Alpaca Mitten Closeup

Find out more about Wet Felting Alpaca Mittens!

Snowman Felting Class

 Six fun ladies came to have some fun in the Snowman Felting Class on Saturday here at the farm.

Snowman Felting Class

I think they were surprised h0w simple this craft is, most of them having not had any prior experience with needle felting.

Snowman Felting Class

We started with some piles of fiber …

Snowman Felting Class - Materials

used a special felting needle …

Snowman Felting Class

a foam surface to work on …

Snowman Felting Class

and a with just a little imagination …

Snowman Felting Class

everyone had a snowman built by the end of our class!

Snowman Felting Class

And just like snowflakes, each one was uniquely different!

Snowman Felting Class

Gardener's Supply Company

Beads, Bracelets, and Cat Toy Felting Class

The next class here at the farm is Beads, Bracelets, and Cat Toy Felting.

Felted-Alpaca-Bracelets

 This will be a great introduction to wet felting …

Felting-Alpaca-Bracelets

and is as simple as adding hot water, soap, a little elbow grease to your fiber.

Felting Alpaca Beads

  In this case we’ll be using alpaca fiber from The Alpacas here at our farm.

Silver Beauty and Aurora

 We may even use some llama fiber from our own Silver Beauty.

Preparation-for-Felting-Alpaca-Beads

We may do a little needle felting to help shape the beads made from rovings.

Felted-Alpaca-Beads-Bracelet.

There are a few tricks that are helpful to know.

Felting Alpaca Beads

You will be amazed at what you can do!

Felted Alpaca Cat Toys

Here is the info on the class:

In this class you will learn how to transform shapeless alpaca and wool fibers into colorful felted balls
using both needle and wet felting.  Making a felt ball is incredibly easy!  You will also learn to make a variety of felt bracelets, both with the beads you have made, and other styles.  I’ve added Cat Toys to this class due to a special request, and it is the same technique so we’ll make those too! Please bring a towel, and a dispenser filled with liquid Dawn soap.  All other materials will be provided.

Bead Felting Kits and Cat Toy Felting Kits are available if you can’t make it to the class, but still would like to give this a try!  And some good books are below:

Learn To Crochet Class

I am offering a Learn To Crochet Class this Saturday here at the farm.  I’ll be teaching the basic crochet stitches and we’ll actually get started on a scarf using a bulky yarn called Snuggle.  I know practicing and making swatches is important, especially when making something that needs to fit, but I’m one that likes to see results for my efforts so we’re going to jump right in with a project!

Crocheted Red Alpaca Scarf

Using a fairly large hook and bulky yarn, this Fast and Easy Scarf works up quickly and is good practice at the same time.  The pattern calls for chain stitch and double crochet.

We will also make some of these cute little butterflies using Beginner’s Butterfly pattern by Erin Burger.  This will give us practice at chain stitch, slip stitch, double crochet, treble crochet, and How To Whip Stitch In Crochet.

Crochet (pronounced /kroʊ’ʃeɪ/) is a process of creating fabric from yarn or thread using a crochet hook. The word itself is derived from the Middle French word croc or croche, meaning hook.  Crochet is an extremely versatile and popular technique for making a variety of fashion and home decor accessories. To crochet, you need a hook
and yarn. Depending on the type yarn you use, you can create a variety of different fabrics. By combining crochet stitches and lighter weight or softer yarns, you create a delicate, drapable fabric; a thicker yarn produces a sturdy fabric. Beautiful textured and raised stitches are especially easy to make in crochet. You can also crochet with fine threads to create lacy projects like doilies or even string or cord.

No one would call it the art of crochet if it wasn’t first and foremost a labor of love. It’s an intricate art, it’s love at first sight, and it holds the lover’s attention for hours on end.

While preparing for this class, I found some links I would recommend if you are wanting to learn how to crochet.  Stitches – For Dummies has great pictures of the different stitches and simple, easy to understand directions.  At the Craft Yarn Council there is a Crochet Abbreviations Master List, Crochet Chart Symbols, and help for How to Read a Crochet Pattern.

If pictures and written instructions don’t work for you, the You Tube video below may help.

Are you left-handed?  My mother is.  There are Crochet Lessons for Left-Handers available on the Crochet Guild of America website.

Kids may have fun learning how to Finger Crochet…

If you find you just can’t stop crocheting once you have learned how, you could always Crochet for Charity.  There are many worthwhile causes and people in need that would benefit from the work of your hands.

Some sites I found with FREE patterns are:

Crochet Pattern Central
Lion Brand Free Crochet Patterns
Naturally Caron Free Crochet Patterns
Ravelry
– Just do a search for Free Crochet Patterns.

Of course, there are lots of good books on crocheting too!

Wet Felting Alpaca Mittens

Last Saturday, I taught a Mitten Felting Class here at the farm.  I think everyone was amazed at what they could do with alpaca fiber, hot water, soap, and some elbow grease.

Felted Alpaca Mittens

Felting is a simple technique by which you can make wonderfully warm wool items to wear.  The main advantage that felting has over other textile techniques is producing a finished article in much less time.

Suzanne Higgs

Suzanne Huggs, author of Hooked on Felt and a very talented felter, had shared with me a new technique using a resist rather than a foam form like I’ve previously done.  She even offered to come to Alpaca Meadows and teach a Hat Felting Class so stay posted for that!

Hat by Suzanne Higgs

Leigh Oden, another alpaca breeder, came early so she could card some of her own alpaca fiber for the class.  She used some wonderful soft fiber from one of her males named “Cookie Dough” as well as some alpaca fiber she had dyed at home so that she would have some color to use for the design on her mittens.

Carding Alpaca Fiber

Making mittens custom fit to each of our hands, we used under layment for laminate flooring to cut our patterns from, carefully tracing around our own hand and wrist, keeping the line even and about three-quarters of an inch away from the hand.  This allowed for the shrinkage of alpaca which does not shrink when felted as quickly or as much as wool.

Wet Felting Alpaca Mittens

Next we laid four separate layers of fiber crisscrossing each layer 90 degrees in the opposite direction across the hand and wrist.  We did the same across the thumb being careful to maintain the shape of the thumb as well as add extra fiber where the hand and thumb meet and across the tip of the thumb to allow for wear.  Alpaca is finer than sheeps wool so needs to have more layers laid on the pattern so as not to end up with holes.   If you do get holes while felting, finish the process of wet felting, rinsing, drying, then turn inside out and repair by needle felting layers of the same fiber across the hole.

Wet Felting Alpaca Mittens

I found several great tutorials, complete with photos, on how to wet felt mittens.

Wet Felted Mittens – Full Photo Tutorial

I would add to this that when you are finished with your mittens, rinse them in a vinegar and water solution, to neutralize the soap in the mitten.  Over time if not rinsed completely out, the soap will damage the fiber.  Rinse completely then, with clear water.  Roll mittens in a towel, then step on the rolled towel to squeeze out excess moisture.  Reshape your mittens and lay in a warm spot to dry.

Felted Alpaca Mittens

This tutorial shows how to add a cuff to your mitten.
Wet Felted Mittens – Part 1 of 2
Wet Felted Mittens – Part 2 of 2

Wet Felted Mittens

If your mittens turn out too short, you can knit or crochet a cuff and then hand stitch it to the inside of your mitten.  Use the cuff portion of any mitten pattern that has a ribbed cuff, but only make it about half the width.

Crocheted Cuff on Felted Alpaca Mittens

When mittens are dry, you can needle felt a design onto the mitten, embroider an edge or design, add buttons whatever you like.  Cecilia cut out the letter “L” for her school, out of a flat piece of felt and felted it on during the wet felting process.  Possibilities are endless!

`<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1596680318/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&tag=alpamead-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1596680318"><img border="0" src="http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL160_&ASIN=1596680318&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=alpamead-20&ServiceVersion=20070822" ></a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=alpamead-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1596680318" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

I found these Needle Felted Butterfly Mittens on Ravelry.  The design has been felted on knitted mittens but this could be done on felted mittens just as easily.

Felted Butterfly Mittens

Felting by Hand
is a very informative little book, with lots of helpful tips on wet felting.  The author has researched the felting qualities of sheep breeds available in the United States and explains how to choose what fiber for specific felting projects.  There is also a chapter devoted to felt projects for children.

Some other felting books full of great ideas are below:

 

This Mitten Felting Kit is offered for sale in The Farm Store.

Alpaca Mitten Felting Kit

Needle Felting in Christmas Cookie Cutters

Nervous as I might have been about whether I am teacher material or not, the first of our Fiber Art Classes here at our NEW farm and fiber studio, was a fun one!

Christmas Needle Felting

Everyone seemed to have a good time …

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Mittens

… learned something new …

Christmas Needle Felting Class

… and went away with some completed, needle felted Christmas items!

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Ornament

Needle felting with a cookie cutter is a fun, and easy way to create flat shapes that can then be used for embellishments on other felted projects such as a journal cover or purse, or sewing projects, or onto a sweater, T-shirt or a jean jacket.

Christmas Needle Felting Class

They could be used to make a necklace, a pair of earrings, or a key chain.  Attach a ribbon or embroidery floss and hang them on your Christmas tree, or give as a gift, or use as a decoration on packages.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Gingerbread Boys

Using a cookie cutter saves you from having to create a template for your shapes. It is an easy way to guide your needle while you felt.  There are felting molds on the market created specifically for needle felting, but if you have a variety of cookie cutters stored away you might as well try your hand at cookie cutter felting. The molds that you purchase are made of plastic, so if you have plastic cookie cutters try those first, if your cookie cutters are metal, take care near the edges so as not to break your felting needle.

Christmas Needle Felting

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Place the cookie cutter on the foam work surface.
  2. Lay roving inside the cutter so it fills the total shape. You can make a thicker shape by utilizing more roving, or a thinner shape by utilizing less roving.  Be sure you don’t have empty spots.
  3. With the cookie cutter in place, use the felting needle and begin jabbing the fiber, paying particular focus to edges and points. Be sure to hold the needle straight up and down, or it may break, and keep your fingers out of the way.  These needles are extremely sharp!   Felting sticks, or chopsticks from your favorite Japanese restaurant, are very helpful to hold the fiber down while you poke.  You will poke your fingers less by getting used to using these.
  4. Turn the felt over occasionally so it does not stick to the foam.
  5. You will see the fibers gradually compressing into felt.
  6. If any areas are too thin, add more roving and continue felting that region with the needle until the new roving is blended in.
  7. Continue felting with the needle until it holds together and becomes firm.  The degree of firmness is determined by how long you felt the piece.  The more you felt, the firmer it will be.
  8. Remove the cookie cutter and gently detach the felted shape from the foam.
  9. If the edges look ragged, felt around the edges until the shape looks smooth and finished.
  10. Your shape is now ready to attach to any project. You can also add embellishments, or embroider your shape with embroidery floss, beads, sequins, or charms.

Below were the books I had in class that had lots of great ideas in them.

 

We also covered how to felt a ball, and make it into a flower.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Flowers

For larger balls, stuff a panty hose with loose fiber or batting, tie it at the top and cut off the excess hose.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Felted Balls

Wrap the ball with rovings, overlapping, and wrapping different directions making sure to cover all bare spots and tacking in place with your felting needle as you go.  Decorate with colored rovings, and other bits of fiber or yarn.  Begin the felting process as described above.

Felted Alpaca Ball OrnamentI

Be sure to see our Alpaca Wool Roving Sampler in Christmas colors!

Felted ALPACA Bunnies

Click here to view these pictures larger

Did you know that a group of rabbits, like alpacas, is called a “herd”?  And a herd of rabbits lives in a “warren”.  I didn’t.
Here’s my herd of Needle Felted ALPACA Bunnies.  Meet Bernard, Charlotte, Peter, Beatrice, Debbie, and Liz.
I attempted some French Knots on the faces of my bunnies, without much luck.  They seem to just disappear.  I ended up felting little wisps of fiber instead.

 



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