Needles, Wool, Mistakes, Advice and the One Tip - Felt And Dandy

1. What are your favourite needles to use?

My preferred  needles are broad, single needles for sculpting. Typically a 36 gauge triangular. Once I am working on top layers, I favour a  single 40 spiral and multiple  42 spirals for finishing.

2. What is your favourite type of wool to work with?

For general structural work, I like carded, quick felting  structural wools Perendale, Corriedale, Jacob, Bergshaf. I love using coarser wools like Norwegians, Finnish and Texels too. I am not overly fond of finest merinos etc - I just find them too soft and smooth. My other passion - making furry felts in clumps fibre. I particularly enjoy using Alpaca  as well as sheep's - for longer coats etc

3. What is the worst piece of  advice you keep hearing for needle felters?

I think too many felters exaggerate the need for, and the importance of, armatures to the point that beginners are obsessed by putting wire in everything they make! One of the things that I hate most is the feeling of my felting needle hitting wire or even breaking on it! Wire is only useful where support and/ or pose-ability  are required. Obsession with using core wool also means that a lot of felters never really learn to use/blend  underlying colour or use reverse needle techniques.

4. What common mistakes do people make when they start out?

Generally, beginners tend to felt too loosely. This makes felts prone to relax too much or come undone. It also makes it hard to sculpt distinct features and leaves creations at risk of distorting as other processes, such as inserting eyes, are undertaken. Other common mistakes involve the failure to work on anything other than foam or, worse  the tendency to hold  felts in the hands rather than working  on a base.

5. What is the one thing a beginner could learn today that would  make a difference to their work?

Learn to use multiple tools- especially on brush mats. This will open up a whole new world in terms of blending colours and using  facing techniques.

Both Alison and I have recently appeared on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and I pop up on  the Hochanda tv channel too!

Felt and Dandy website

“This was just the best experience ever, I was so privileged to be chosen and still can not believe that I actually won! I've met so many lovely, creative people throughout this experience and can't wait to catch up with them”