Hi everyone. I was thinking of how confusing it was for me when I first started needle felting six years ago. There was roving, tops, carded, locks, merino, etc and I had no idea what any of them were! That meant I ended up learning by my (expensive) mistakes. Sooo I have put together a guide for you lovely lot in the hope that it will help. It is by no means a definitive list, it just deals with the wools I now use and how I use them.
BREEDS OF SHEEP Different breeds of sheep produce different thickness of wool. Merino sheep give fine wool, New Zealand sheep fine-medium, Corriedale Sheep medium, Bergschaf Sheep medium-course, etc. The coarseness of the wool is measured in microns so the higher the micron the courser the wool. So you first decide the breed of sheep wool and then make sure it is in the best form for you (ie usually CARDED for needle felting) Here are some different forms:-
TOPS/ROVING These are generally used for wet felting and spinning. All the fibres have been combed in one direction making it more difficult to needle felt into a 3D shape. If you are making an animal with a shaggy coat this is when you will use tops/roving - as a top coat that can be trimmed.
CARDED This is wool that has been combed and roughed up in all different directions making it much easier to needle felt with! Carded Wool comes in the form of batts and sometimes in the form of slivers.
SLIVERS Slivers are carded wool that has been formed into a long thin tubular piece and comes in a roll. They are particularly good for knotting and then wrapping round the knot to start your core body off. Also because they are long and thin pieces they are good for wrapping around armature wire or pipe cleaners.
BATTS Carded wool exactly the same as slivers but it comes in a thick sheet and you just pull off clumps to felt. To start a core body you can break off strips and roll tightly then needle felt to hold together.
CORE WOOL This is a carded medium-course wool that is an undyed natural colour therefore should be cheaper. Unless I am making something tiny then I will use the cheaper undyed core wool to form my shape then use the more expensive and perhaps finer carded wools to finish. I tend to use undyed natural Corriedale slivers as my core as being able to tie a knot and then wrap round speeds everything up.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BEGINNERS:- Carded Corriedale Slivers from £1 per 50g for undyed natural slivers and £1.50 per 50g for a range of colours it is economical, felts fast and gives good even results. This is a good allrounder.
Double treats this afternoon for the Christmas Robin and Bauble workshop. We had Marzipan Bundt Cake AND this lovely seasonal pavlova - well it is nearly Christmas! Recipe here Thank you to everyone who came cx
Next week's workshops cake will be this yummy Christmassy bundt cake. Its a cross between cake and stollen with marzipan running through the middle with a delicious cream cheese frosting. Get the recipe here
There will also be the old favourites - butter shortcake biscuits. I quite fancy some hazelnut/cocoa meringues which MAY make it to the workshops ;) .....
Gone back to an old favourite this week's cake. Have tried many chocolate cake recipes over the years but ALWAYS return to this one. Get the recipe here or better still order your own Be-Ro recipe book here
One lady for tomorrow's robin workshop is gluten free so I will be making this old favourite. The kitchen smells lovely as I've just boiled the whole oranges and leaving to cool - once the pips are out the whole oranges, skin and all, get whizzed up and go into cake!
CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE
Biscuits and cakes … on today's menu are Almond Shortbread Biscuits and Cherry, Sultana & Almond Cake
(you may have guessed I love almonds!) here are the recipes below.
Almond Shortbread Biscuits (Be-Ro Recipe)
Ingredients 225g plain flour, 75g caster sugar, 150g butter
Method Pre heat oven to 160C.
Rub flour and butter together, stir in sugar. Knead lightly into a ball. Roll into sausage shape and cut into thin slices. Place on baking tray and press an almond into the top of each biscuit. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for approximately 15-20 mins. Cool on tray for five mins then transfer to a cooling tray
BBC Good Food's Cherry & Almond Cake
Click on heading to go to the Good Food recipe. I replaced half the cherries with sultanas