I started felting in September 2014, so I can now officially say that I’ve been doing it for over a year. I always thought that this wasn’t a craft for the likes of me. It’s the sort of thing that you see at craft fairs and think ‘hmm, yeah, no – looks a bit complicated. Looks a bit professional. Someone like me could never do it.’
If you’ve ever had that thought let me stop you right there – someone like you CAN do it. I’m someone like you – a normal (shut up mum), well adjusted (I said shut up mum!), young (mum, why do you keep laughing?!) woman with a husband and a sprog and a small flat with limited space and an office job and absolutely no knitted lentils to be seen. I watch Game of Thrones, have far too many photos of my child on my phone and periodically think to myself ‘I must do something about my hair’ before doing absolutely nothing with it at all. I didn’t go to art school – my only resource and good fortune was having a mum who instilled in me a passion for craft and creativity and a supportive husband who is really easy to distract when I’m trying to sneak a wool delivery into the flat. If I can do it (and believe me, my first attempts are not displayed on this site for a reason) then you can do it!
That said, there are certain pieces of advice – warnings, if you will – that I never had when I first started felting. Here’s what they don’t tell you when you’re just starting out:
- Take a piece of paper and use it to calculate exactly how much space you can afford to devote to storing fibre. Jot down the final figure. Now take that piece of paper… and throw it in the bin. You have just epically underestimated how much fibre you will buy in the next year. Instead decide which family member/ flatmate/ pet you like the least and inform them that they will be moving out. Their bedroom is now your fibre storage area.
- No matter how many precautions you take, you will stab yourself on an embarrassingly regular basis. Reconcile yourself with this fact.
- Have some professional photos taken of yourself and give them to your significant other/ family members. That way they will recognise you when you periodically appear in the kitchen.
- You will become fairly knowledgeable about at least one breed of sheep.
- Congratulations – your life has now become one great struggle to source affordable glass eyes.
- At some point you will find yourself making a pumpkin and/ or a hare (or a hare dressed as a pumpkin).
- Sarafina from Sarafina Fibre Arts will become royalty to you.
- The first time you see your work crop up on Pinterest and it’s NOT because someone has repinned it from your own pin – well, now it goes ‘birth of my son, day someone independently pinned Hesserly the Hedgehog, wedding day.’
- Finding someone has copied your original design and is showing it off will send you on a rampage – seriously, not cool.
- When you take a good look at a real sheep you start hoping that your fibres were really, really well cleaned before they were sent to you.
- You have a favourite fibre and can talk passionately for ages about why it’s superior to anything else. Before, you didn’t even realise there were different fibres.
- You will still get confused at times on the difference between ‘tops’ and ‘roving’.
- You will genuinely enjoy looking at other people’s creations and, no matter how good you are yourself, you will have your mind blown by someone else’s work almost every day.
- You will develop a ‘kill on sight’ policy regarding moths, to the extent that you make George R R Martin look like Enid Blyton.
- You’ll need to invest in a very good lint roller as walking around with the seat of your trousers covered in short, curly white hairs is how rumours get started.
- There is no feeling of panic greater than the moment the end of your needle snaps off and you don’t know where it went.