Updated: Feb 23, 2022
In the last six months, I have been working to find a fiber art that I can become really proficient in. The problem is, I kept failing. Felting can be done in numerous ways and from my limited understanding before adopting alpaca, alpaca fiber felts really easily. From my personal experience, every animal has different fiber and may require a different method to get a decent material in which easy felting may not always be achieved.
The first method I began with was wet felting. I watched so many different online tutorials before I began. Wet felting is done with soap and water and lots of rubbing. To be honest, it looked so simple. Well, I went to make wool dryer balls and one after one, they would felt but constantly shed. I was using the blanket part of the animal which had the longest fiber. I tried so many different techniques and decided at the end of the day, unless I am mixing the alpaca fiber (or are using particularly dense alpaca fiber) with sheep fiber, I am not going to be able to successfully make wool dryer balls that does not shed on my clothes.
Not having a sustainable access to wool dryer balls was super disappointing. The tutorials made it look so simple. If you unfamiliar with what wool dryer balls are, they are used as a dryer sheet substitute. They last many years and help separate clothes in the dryer for a more efficient dry.
Since my huge disappointment with wet felting, I am convinced that we will one day own a few sheep so I do not have to be limited in what I can do with our fiber. Alpaca fiber is so fine and soft which is wonderful but sometimes this can make it difficult to work with especially as a beginner.
There are so many different methods to achieving felt as previously stated. Felt is such a useful product and can be used for crafts, hats, socks, scarfs and even clothes, blankets and so much more. All of those types of items, however, require a wet felting method. I was hugely disappointed and I stumbled upon a needle felting guide and had a sudden “a-ha!” moment. At last, I might have found a solution.
Over the years, I have visited many alpaca farms. I was so fascinated with the animals and I would purchase these little hand felted items. I just adore little hand felted alpaca. I just always assumed they were way above my level. But desperation struck and I figured, I would give it a try.
I am so thankful I did.
What a rare thing it is to discover a hobby you not only enjoy but are actually good at. I am a hobby collector by nature. I make soaps, lotions, lip glosses, wine, I sew, I bake, I can play three instruments, but I genuinely feel that I am mediocre at most of those things. It’s wonderful to be well rounded but I dabble to find things that I have natural talents in. I feel it’s important for personal growth. So yeah, I started needle felting and it came so naturally and while I am not an expert by any means, my little ornaments look so cute. I am just so proud.
I bought a kit off of Etsy to teach me how to needle felt. I followed the kit’s instructions and then I took those methods and applied them to my own fiber. Since I started, I have made about 10 little ornaments so far.
My plan has always been to sell fiber products, learn to spin etc. With most things, the process has just been a lot slower than I initially planned. By no means did I expect that any felting would be easy. However, as I begin making these alpaca ornaments, my plan is finally in motion and my little alpacas will be available for purchase before the end of the month, if all goes to plan. If you want any updates on when the alpaca will be released, subscribe to our email list! I will announce it there and on our Instagram page.
As I have created my first few ornaments, I documented their progress. I thought sharing their progress would be so fun for anyone who may do their own fiber craft or anyone curious about how they are made.