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

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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!

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