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.

JudithShaw3  JudithShawNecklace Vianne


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.

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