June Toss n Tell by Judith Shaw

Soosie passed on her well researched information on how to felt to a predetermined size.  Many aspects of how the shrink rate is influenced, covered estimates of  minimum and maximum shrinkage rates with good general advice to “make a sample”  using the same materials which will be used in the final piece.  Satisfactory shrink rates for well finished felt range from a minimum of 1.7 to 2+.


Toss ‘N Tell began with colourful collars from Virginia Campbell, Karen Woods and Teresa O’Malley. Inspiration from Karen’s creations came at the recent Retreat weekend.  Swirls of silk flowers merged with wool to magic effect. When Virginia needed help to have her collar lay smoothly, she was glad to have the useful hint of making a tuck in the curved edge.

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Alison Gomes fine layout technique inspired the red scarf from  Fily Geschichten who also showed a  reworked and resized piece in Alpaca. Soosie Jobson showed two of the pieces from her forthcoming book “Structural and Complete 3D” these works involved multiple resists and the use of negative space.  Her workshop is in October.

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Vianne Sleypen produced necklets using wool, silk and cotton, each piece unique.   Marie Marshall also made a collar with silk and wool in blue tones and showed her post-retreat pieces of scarves, red toned, lattice style in purple and blues and a large wrap from a selection of silks and colours. Marie brought along welcome visitors Lynn and Margie. Patricia Kendall showed a two piece machine knit she had created in silver grey with frontispiece and a cardigan covered in matching lace. Always good to see creative artists work. Gudrun made an amazing tunic in warm reds, fine wool embellishments on silk. The layout size required four trestle tables for this one piece garment. When Gudrun told us she was thinking of cutting off the excess fabric at the bottom, the comment was unanimous, leave this perfect piece as it is.

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Alison Gomes showed her amazing long scarf made from many pieces of cut silk, butted together and joined with fine wool. Beautiful colours and effects for special occasion wear.  Both Alison and Mary-Ann Dawson used  time at the Retreat to try the resist technique which creates a geometric design by cutting into the top layer of felt, up to the resist, to expose  part of the contrasting colour in a middle layer. Alison used 12 fine layers of wool. She suggests that the top and bottom layers should be equal in thickness.

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Vera spoke about teaching craft from stories and visits to inspiring  places such as Underwater World produced work based on contributions from 2 to 3 year olds . Children enjoyed the water play and throwing involved. The1 by 2 metre wool and silk based artwork featured  colourful sea life . Potentially, toddlers work can aid creativity of the teachers. It was noted that the final felting had been stopped to retain the full effect of the silk  features and the backing of fine black silk enhanced the effect.  Next work using felt, perhaps masks.  Sue Harrington showed her hand woven/knitted and dyed textile purchases from her recent trip to Peru. Beautiful colours showed how skillful they are at their craft.


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In showing her sari silk collar of red and orange roses, Teresa passed on the advice that this type of work requires slow felting. Jill Jodrill made an elegant backpack in a mix of blues, lined and with leather trim.   Mary–Ann Dawson  produced a range  of works, experimenting with a variety of pieces. Pebbles of rock from the ground outside the Retreat venue were trapped under muslin on white felt. ‘Cracked Earth’ earth was the title for the white over a core of blue/brown, using a resist to achieve the cracked earth effect.  Her ‘circle of rocks’ was cut into to expose the underlining lumps of  coloured felt.

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Toss and Tell February 2015 by Sue Eslick

Sue welcomed everyone to the first Toss and Tell of the year, especially the six new members.

This month’s demonstration was in memory of Judy Calderwood, who sadly passed away in April last year. Judy had previously farmed sheep and was skilled and creative in many crafts, including felting. Judy and some Feltwest friends had put lots of work into preparing a demonstration about the qualities of different types of wool, which Jan kindly presented.

Jan spoke briefly about the history of wool in Australia. Meat sheep were first brought over by the first fleet, wool sheep were brought over later, and most Australian sheep come from Spanish stock.

Jan spoke of the unique properties of wool – it absorbs a lot of moisture and breathes, making it ideal for clothing for outdoor activities, it is warm, fire retardant, it is a renewable resource etc. The properties of wool from different varieties of sheep differ. Merino wool is soft and drapes well making it ideal for clothing. The wool from some other sheep is hard wearing, making it good for carpets, and/or very firm making it good for sculptures.

Under a microscope, scales can be seen on the wool fibre. The fibres become entangled in the felting process, and the scales prevent it from untangling, hence the closer the scales, the easier it is to felt.

Wool can be described by:

Microns – the radius of the fibre. The fines merino can have a micron as low as 11. Whilst coarse wool might have a micron of 28.

Staple length – the length of the individual fibre. Merino staple is usually 7-9cm

Crimp – the distance between the ‘waves’ in the fibre. The closer the crimp the finer the wool

Jan brought along lots of examples of different types of wool, and samples of how it felted.

Thank you to Jan for a very interesting presentation, and to Judy, Jill and others who have helped in the preparation.

All members should have received a copy of the latest Retrospective in January. Thank you very much to Antoinette for producing this for us. It is very much appreciated.
Thanks were also given to Soosie Jobson who has done such a great job on the website, and sends out the monthly enews.

Upcoming events:
7th April – slide show with Marjolein Dallinga (to be confirmed)
7th May – nuno workshop with Alison Gomes
18th May – crochet jewelry workshop with Prudence Mapstone.

Fire at Craft House: – Back in November, there was a small fire outside Craft House. Fortunately it was easily extinguished and no harm was done, however, this alerted us to the need to be better informed about the fire drill should the need arise. We will provide further advice on this, but members should note the notice on the kitchen door with the after-hours number for the City of Stirling to call in case of any urgent building issues.

Felt Magazine: The December issue of the Australian Felt Magazine had a one page article about Feltwest, check it out.

2015 Craft and Quilt Fair 20th – 24th May:
Volunteers are needed to coordinate the Feltwest stall at the Craft and Quilt Fair this year. This involves compiling the roster of volunteers, putting together the Feltwest display at the beginning of the fair, and taking it down at the end of the fair. If 2-3 people volunteer to coordinate it, it’s not very time consuming and lots of fun. No experience needed. Volunteers are also needed to staff the stall for half a day and demonstrate how to make felt (volunteers get free entry to the fair). Contact any Committee member if you think you might be interested.

Craft House Open Day Sunday 3rd May
Craft House holds an open day every second year, for the local community and other interested people to check out the different groups and activities that meet here. Thank you to Judith Shaw, Jill Jodrell and MaryAnn Dawson for volunteering to organise the Feltwest stall at this year’s Open Day. Again, they will be seeking volunteers to look after the stall and demonstrate felt making.

Felting Skills
The Feltwest Committee is planning to develop a ‘framework’ to spell out the range of skills required in making felt. This includes the skills required for basic felt making, and how we can build upon those to gain expertise in different aspects of felting – nuno, sculptural felt, jewelry, pictures, rugs etc. This should help us all in seeking to develop our skills further – whether it’s attending a workshop, on-line training, or seeking advice from more experienced felters.

Arty April in Claremont
As part of Arty April, the Town of Claremont is having a Boutique Design Market on 19th April, 11am – 3pm. Look on the Town of Claremont website for more information.

Toss and Tell
Feltwest members brought along some of the lovely work they have been doing over the summer period:

Dawn showed us two beautiful silk scarves she has made from mixing commercially dyed silk with some hand dyed shibori. She finished the edges using the technique shown to us last year by Lyn Blasgund.

Gudren was wearing a white dress that she embellished with red fabric and felt following Heather’s Reuse, remake, refashion workshop. It looked stunning.

Liz Odd brought along two beautiful silk scarves that she has felted for a friend.

Sue Eslick showed the dress and skirt that she has refashioned at Heather’s workshop. Sue also showed two bags which show some of the skills to be leaned at the Feltwest bag making workshop in July.

Chris showed us the beautiful jacket and dress that she is refashioning following Heather’s workshop. Got to get them finished Chris, they look great!

Katrina is running a pendant making workshop in Mundaring on 15th March. She also has some items in the current exhibition on at the Mundaring Arts Centre. See Feltwest website for more information.

Alison brought along a stunning scarf using paj silk circles felted onto a tissue silk background to show what people will be learning at the nuno workshop in May.

Soosie showed us an amazing piece called Betelguese. We’re not sure what it is, but it’s not a cactus! Soosie is writing a new book to demonstrate the skills used in producing Betelguese and her cacti.

Vianne also attended Heather’s reuse, redesign, remake workshop and showed us her skirt with a bold screen printed design.

Judith has been very busy over the summer and brought along a range of new felt, including a cushion cover and felt flowers. Judith also modelled an apron that she has made from remodeling a men’s shirt. It’s a great design Judith, thank you.

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Sarah is an experienced textile artist but new to felting. She has been doing the Fiona Duthie on-line felting course and has made a set of beautifully felted samples showing the use of resists, trapped objects, needle felting, shading wool, craters etc.

Linda showed a beautifully felted sample that she has just made in the beginner’s workshop, showing blending of colours and nuno techniques.

The raffle basket this month was won by Debbie. Raffle baskets are put together by Liz Odd using donated items. Donations are requested for nice pieces of fabric, wool, sewing notions – things that you would like to receive yourself…. Bring them along next month to the Tuesday or Saturday groups.

November Toss n Tell by Chris Gray

Last TnT for the year….what a great year it has been, with the effort of devoted Committee members and dedicated club members making Feltwest the club that it is….

At this last TnT New and Regular members were busy making new creative pieces, while others wire busy chatting, catching up and helping with the setting up for our Xmas party.

XmasLunch1.4963 VirginiaCampbell.Wrap.5124 Vianne.Hat2.5000 Vianne.Hat1.5002 It was so good to have once again the diverse culinary delights, everyone excelled in the preparation of Savory and Sweet treats, making it a very successful Xmas party.

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We started lunch at 1.00pm; we all enjoyed the sharing of this amazing feast. Being able to catch up again and chat gave a real buzz to the day.


After this lovely lunch, we were all delighted to exchange gifts, which each of us had brought in.

We were so eager to see what surprise was in the beautifully wrapped gifts that we had chosen.


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Show and Tell was next on the agenda, most of us showing the work that they had accomplished with pride, while others talked about the gifts that they had chosen.

May I say there is some amazing talent among us.


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Next we were addressed by Sue, the President, thanking everyone for attending this last meeting and providing the lovely lunch.

Sue also talked about the Subiaco Fair and the upcoming Felting Frenzy being held at the weekend, wishing everyone a good time.

Sue also reminded everyone of the Fremantle Art Centre Bazaar in December, which is always so successful.

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The meeting being held this Saturday 22nd Nov to plan the  workshops for the year ahead and to discuss the events taking place was mentioned and the members were asked if there was any idea they would like to have incorporated in next year’s workshops.


We ended this great day by wishing each other a Safe and Happy Holiday.


Until Next Year….Merry Xmas & Happy New Year

August Toss n Tell by Vicki Hearne

Soosie : showed us a large framed piece of work she created for her friends as a house warming present. It has an Australian Aboriginal theme depicting the Wandjinas people at Chamberlain Gorge. Using wool and the “Nuno” felting technique Soosie has hand dyed and stitched this wall hanging.

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Juliette: created four small felted decorative items using techniques learned at Donna’s tutorial.

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Pat: passed around a finely knitted white blanket she’d made for Goodram’s  grandchild to be, using her knitting machine.


Beth : using India Flint’s method of making a silk and wool fabric, Beth made this multicoloured and embellished skirt.

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Vianne : following Janice Manning’s jacket making class Vianne showed her multicoloured  jacket.

Dawn: attended Janice Manning’s class and made this light coloured jacket.

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Nancy : showed us her scarf of black tissue silk embellished with silk hankies of various colours.

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Jeanette : Nuno silk dress in Fuscia and mottled green. The wool has been used in such a way as to create shape, contour and colour change.

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Photos from the AGM, our wonderful speaker Richard and Trash n Treasure:

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September Toss n Tell by Vicki Hearne

Sue Swain: attended the “Jacket Making” workshop and showed us her three quarter length coat in natural coloured wool. The wool was laid onto cotton muslin in a diagonal fashion.

Lyn: also completed the jacket making course and completed a jacket and a hat too.

Soosie: showed a couple of large 3D felted cacti she created from felt. One was embellished with tiny beads and was “in flower” too! She used a sausage technique to make the stem.
Soosie experimented using shellac on her 3D fish.

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New member Laura: presented her very first felt creation, a purple scarf incorporating swirls of wool.

Judith Shaw:  pointed out her felt covered coat hanger which has multiple features. The “non slip” hanger has plenty of room to pin things to it and has a pouch to hold items.

Judith also had tips on how to use up scraps, and examples of this was a felted spectacle case decorated by freestyle stitching, plus, a tea cosie.

Vianne: explained her love of texture and showed this in her piece of blue crocheted yarn sandwiched between two layers of wool.

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Sue Eslick: following Nancy’s work shop, showed a string of blue felted balls on cord, embellished with red beads. She also made a felted rabbit, baby bottle holder and denim bag.

Kim and Katrina: used the skills they’d learned following Nancy’s workshop and produced strings of woolen beads.
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Jill: after gathering materials from the “trash n treasure” bag Jill created this turquoise bag which is fully lined then embroidered.

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Jeanette: used a cross weaving technique on the yolk of her pastel coloured felted dress. She explained that it gave additional strength to the garment. She experimented with other techniques too in order to prevent the blending of colours and also the joining of her seams.

Vera: needle felted picture.

Nancy: described how her reversible felted jacket is able to be buttoned up using a single set of buttons. She achieved this by attaching the buttons very close to the edge of the garment and passing them through loops on the other side as opposed to button holes.

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March 2014 TnT by Sue Harrington

President Virginia welcomed a small group this month of only 20 members. Our recent submission of an article to Felt magazine required us to provide high quality photographs so those showing work at TnT were asked to take their pieces outside to Alison for photographing after TnT.

Nancy Ballesteros has agreed to be our Billboard Manager and Virginia thanked her for her contributions to the latest eNews. Members were asked to forward information of interest to Nancy. Members also commented on Feltwest’s excellent Facebook page and complemented Lindy on her work.

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The next TnT on 19 April has been cancelled, as it is Easter Saturday and members present today did not indicate that they would attend. The following TnT, on 17 May, will feature guest speaker Trudi Pollard talking about Cambodian silk weavers. She will also have silks for sale as a fundraiser for the project.

The Craft and Quilt Fair will be held at the Perth Convention Centre from 21 to 25 May. There will be a Feltwest stall and members were asked to volunteer to be on the stall for a morning or afternoon. Volunteering entitles you to free entry to the Perth Craft and Quilts Fair for that day. There will be demonstrations of felting techniques and examples of members’ work on display. We hope to attract new members.

Feltwest’s annual Retreat is being held from 29 May to 1 June at Muresk. Judi Barkla has kindly agreed to organise it again this year. The cost will be similar to last year, with the price and details to be finalised and advertised soon. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to register online and pay by PayPal or bank transfer. Those wanting to pay by cheque will need to deposit the cheque at the bank themselves, as Treasurer Donna will be away. Occasionally members want to pay in several instalments and this can be arranged by contacting Soosie Jobson.

The Craft House AGM is at 8pm on Tuesday 18 May, with guest speaker Kerri Argent at 7pm. See the February TnT report for further details.

Also of interest, the Common Threads, Wearable Art Showcase will be parading a selection of garments and body art at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on 4 May.

Proceeding to the TnT, Sue Eslick had made an attractive fitted red belt with a felt toggle and loop. She had used the yolk of a skirt pattern for the design and had determined the shrinkage rate from a sample, weighed the wool and the final piece was precisely her intended dimensions. She also showed an ochre and blue belt in progress, a stunning hat and a scarf using silk hankies – all very colourful and beautifully made.


Sue Harrington brought along a piece of ‘nature’s felt’ – matted fibre from seagrass picked up on a beach near Esperance.

Alison Gomes showed a pretty pink and mustard scarf of silk chiffon with a swirled design of pencil rovings at both ends and finely laid tops over the body of the scarf.

Lyn Blasgund charmed us with two pairs of petite booties made for her niece’s new baby. Tiny and perfect booties for tiny and perfect feet!

Nancy Ballesteros had just returned from the Grampians Texture Workshop. She had attended Catherine O’Leary’s workshop where they printed on to silk using stencils and other methods. They then felted the fabric onto felbi batts and used the results to create complex imagery. She also attended a workshop with Jean Gauger where she made a beautiful, light and fully reversible jacket with 175g wool and two layers of paj silk. Additionally, she showed a range of light and colourful scarves made with silk hankies sandwiched with wool.

Nancy mentioned another textile retreat with several felting tutors that may interest members. This is being held at Busselton in May 2014 and details can be found at www.westarttext.com.au

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Beth Klokeid had done Soosie Jobson’s Studio Detritus workshop and showed her creative necklace that resembles the face of a doll. She also shared her interesting fridge magnets, incorporating plastic pieces melted in the oven, and some printed buttons.

Pat Kendall passed around an exquisite beaded purple flower. She also showed a smart red scarf with a striking angular silk decoration.

Judi Barkla had made a wrist wrap in tones of pink and maroon, embellished with layering of textiles and tonal embroidery.

A delighted Mary Ann Dawson was the lucky winner of this month’s raffle.

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After TnT Nancy took members through the process of producing quality felt. This demonstration has been reported on before (see Newsletter Volume 1 2013). However, some particular points of interest from today were:

  • The less wool you use, the more the shrinkage. Examples were shown that use as little as 2.5g of wool tops laid out over a 25cm x 25cm square. The fully felted result was fine and soft. Make a sample and use this as your shrinkage rate for larger items.
  • Felt that seems firm on completion will loosen up over time and may pill. Let your piece dry and rest for at least a day and re-felt for a stronger, firmer result.
  • Olive oil soap works well, but you may also like to try Earth Choice dishwashing liquid. It makes the felt slippery so it glides well over a washboard. Some dish liquids have a pH that is too high and can harden the felt. Never use laundry detergents or wool wash soap – some contain anti-felting ingredients!
  • Tossing or fulling should be done when the felt piece is wet and weighty. Keep the felt quite soapy, but too much soap can result in the wool fibres swimming apart. Tricky!
  • Rolling the felt on itself can achieve very fast shrinkage if this is what you are after.

Thank you Nancy!