Challenge Day 13
Haha, ironic that it’s the 13th day of the challenge that I break my first needle😀
I wasn’t too worried, apparently it happens a lot and it was almost odd that I hadn’t managed it yet. That’s why I chose a machine that has a unit where you can replace individual needles. This head had five and they are all fixed in place, so I now have a four needle unit. You can keep using them with fewer and fewer needles, it’s not a problem, but obviously it felts faster with all five. It came with a spare five needle head and a single with some spares; also the offer included the adjustable head where you can put 1-5 needles as you choose and replace the breakages. But for now I shall just keep going on four.
It was quite interesting how it happened. I was using calico folded double, you’ll see why later, and I was not controlling the fabric well. I think it rucked and got an extra fold, which was too much for the needle to go through. I had tried cautiously a double fold just prior and the motor whined and the needles didn’t go in, so four layers of calico is too much for it, so it’s no wonder that it broke when it was faced with that at higher speed.
I was thinking about why I am still finding it hard with the hand and foot co-ordination and I reckon it is because on a sewing machine if you press harder with the foot to make it sew faster, it feeds faster through the needle so your hands and foot are directly linked. Heavy foot means faster moving hands. But the felting machine is not like that. So I think I have been pressing harder when what I mean is move the fabric more, not felt more enthusiastically on the spot! In fact it’s almost exactly the reverse of sewing put that way. I should probably do more simple basic practice, like drawing circles and straight lines when learning to write…
As it is, I was still thinking about bowls. I had an old sock with a hole in (clean!) so I cut the toe off and tried felting that into a bowl. I am not impressed with the result and it was really not easy.
Oddly I have to say I think that pic looks better than yesterday’s bowl, which I like better.
Then I remembered some thought I had about fabric boxes, so I tried that with a square of calico folded. Of course it was during this that the needle broke so I stopped.
I still like the idea of fabric boxes and felted bowls, but I prefer the felted bowls made by crochet and the washing machine touched up by hand needle felting and fabric boxes sewn on a sewing machine! But as I said before, an important part of experimentation is to find what does not work as well as what does😀
Don’t worry about the broken off bit of needle – I have a plan for that! I hate throwing anything away (one of the attractions of the felting machine is that it is a great way to use up scraps) especially something sharp and potentially dangerous to bin men as a broken needle with spiky bits on. I have some really useful stuff called jumping clay (no idea why) which is a colourful air dried modelling medium that is totally perfect for making handles for things. I used it to make an ergonomic handle for the hand felting needle I use most already – it’s the purple blob.
The pink tool is like a pen with three needles in, the metal bits to the top left are what felting needles look like without a big purple blob stuck on🙂 and the foam they are stuck in is a hard wearing kind or it would not last. Mine is already getting a bit tired looking and it has not been over used.
So I shall just use some jumping clay to put a handle on the broken bit and I will have a mini tiny little felting needle🙂 which might be a bit too small to be any use but I can try!
I just Googled jumping clay to add the link. It looks like it’s aimed at kids, but I have to say that if you are looking for a way to make your handles more ergonomic, pens, crochet hooks, cutlery or whatever you could do a lot worse than this stuff. Unlike polymer clay it does not have to be fired in the oven, so whatever the handle is for will not melt! Also it does not seem to shrink as it dries, though I haven’t actually tested it on anything larger than a felting needle, I ought to try it really before I recommend that… But it was really easy to make a handle to the exact shape of my hand. And it is almost weightless. It is not sticky or messy and is very easy to use, though it tends to show the wrinkles, I didn’t get my handle perfectly smooth, but there might be a trick to that. Maybe I’ll do a post on it some time after April🙂
Well, that’s a longer post than I’ve done for a while so I’d better stop there.
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