This week I spent two days with the Tiree branch of the SWRI (Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes), learning. They were learning how to make felt, and I was learning to teach. I enjoyed it, mostly, and I gather they did too. The most difficult bits were the first few moments when all eyes were on me, waiting… and the frustrating limitations of my felting experience when it came to solving some of the challenges they encountered. I hasten to add that I had explained when they asked me to do this that I’m not very many steps ahead of a total beginner on the felting journey myself, and that I hadn’t run a workshop before, so they knew we were all learning together (and I wasn’t charging them for my mistakes!).


The first day we made flat felt pieces, and felt balls, and the next day they wanted to try 3D felting round a resist – quite a challenge for your second-ever piece of felt, I thought, but they were all up for it, including one brave soul who hadn’t even been there the first day.

My longsuffering husband came along a few times to take photos. (He also heroically cleared our entire laundry backlog while I was out – it’s been excellent drying weather here). In the bustle of clearing up at the end I forgot to take pictures of the 3D pieces, and I also forgot to ask permission to post personal images online, so I will just show you the wonderful variety of felt pieces they made on day one.


We all worked very hard and had a lot of fun. Now we’re planning to have a regular feltmaking get-together on the island, maybe once a month.

feltmaking days

5 thoughts on “feltmaking days

  • April 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

    The felt looks beautiful! I’m sure they had a wonderful two days. I hate that first bit in a lesson, when everyone is waiting expectantly – or in the case of my current class who have now gelled really well, having to interrupt the chat to make them listen to me! The most important thing I always told my daughter when making felt, is to treat it very gently – until it starts to come together, when you can get progressively more violent with it!

  • April 13, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Oh yes, and not too much soap – too much makes the fibres slippery and they don’t mesh; just enough to get everything properly wetted.

  • April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

    It’s a big step isn’t it.. To teach. I recently taught a short mosaic course and had to start the. Course with explaining that it was the first time and it was more like learning together. Glad it went well.another string to your bow!

  • April 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    teaching is such fun when you have a responsive audience!

  • April 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    thanks for all the comments, especially for your tips, Iz. I am glad to say I did mention both those things but I also noticed from watching people that gentle is a relative term! We used olive oil soap and that seemed to work well. Jo I suspect teaching is often most successul when the teacher regards it as learning together! Neki, yes the audience makes it work (or not).

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