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January 11, 2017

Needle Felting with Crunchy Crafters Meetup

Last night, I took a fun class on needle felting in Pasadena through the Crunchy Crafters meetup group.   Ginko, the group's founder, was our instructor.  She put together kits and shared her talent with us, teaching a little penguin buddy that she had designed to be used as a Christmas ornament.  The six women who attended were so diverse and each inspiring with all their talents and interests. 

My little guy clearly channeled Opus as I designed him.  I think it takes practice to become as purposeful and whimsical as Ginko.  Her cute little samples are below.

Ginko also brought another project to show us the simple charm of needle felting.  Her little snowman features a scarf made from a piece of a real scarf or sweater that was being discarded.  Ginko pointed out how easily upcycling can figure into felted projects.

We met at a small cafe in Pasadena where Ginko does a chalk mural on the wall on a regular basis.  She's clearly talented with design.

The directions for our penguins were pictured step-by-step on a postcard, as well as written out in front of us.  Ginko demonstrated how to measure out wool by weight in grams, then took us through the construction at each stage.

We started with plain un-spun wool, and used a special barbed felting needle to bind the fibers together by poking in a straight up-and-down motion at a ninety degree angle.  Deeper plunges with the needle are used to attach, while repeated short jabs shape the material by compacting it together.

The core of the shape can be sped up by making a "form" of natural yarn rolled into a ball or egg.  I then added the black wool over the entire body by first stretching the fibers to form an evenly thin consistency, sort of a sheet.  From this a bit was ripped off at a time, covering small portions of the body at a time until the entire surface was black.

The eyes were the first detail to be added, then the belly.  The beak was formed by folding the wool into a triangle and shaping the beak on the form block separately, then attaching to the body.

At the end of our two hour class, my little guy was short one wing.  I finished him at home and added eyebrows to improve his expression. 

I'm so glad I discovered this meetup! I learned something new, and came away with a tangible item, as well as a new skill, new friends, and something I can teach my 4-H kids in their craft project that they can then enter into the county fair--what more could I ask for?

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