All posts by Feltloom

The FeltLOOM Owners Conference: A Unique Support Community

Lan Mark Farm, Home of the FeltLOOMThe 4th Annual FeltLOOM Owners Conference will take place Friday, September 12 through Monday, September 15, 2014 at the LanMark Farm and Lodge in Sharpsburg, Kentucky.

This exciting annual event brings a diverse group of FeltLOOM owners from across the country to the birthplace of FeltLOOM, at Lanette Freitag’s and Don Bowles’ LanMark Farm and FeltLOOM headquarters in scenic Sharpsburg, KY. This year, the focus of the Owners Conference will be on the very important topic of Product Development.

FeltLOOM owners include individual fiber artists, small and medium-size fiber mills, fashion and home décor design enterprises, and other creative entrepreneurs and institutions. The Owners Conference is an exceptional opportunity to meet, learn, and share information about the FeltLOOM experience.

Feltloom ConferenceThis year, special attention will be paid to possibilities for product development and marketing. Besides speaker panels and Q&A sessions, all participants will be divided into teams to actually build a new product. The conference and its individual sessions will be attended not only by the FeltLOOM founding and creative team but by artists, designers, and special guests. By popular demand, a pre-conference (Thursday, September 11) and post-conference (Monday-Tuesday, September 15-16) workshops have been scheduled.

The star line-up of speakers and leaders for this 3-day FeltLOOM intensive will include:

Each conference session will be open for discussion, and participants are highly encouraged to come prepared with questions for our panel of experts.

Highlights at the 2014 FeltLOOM Owners Conference will include special morning sessions with fashion designer Jeffrey Monteiro, who has worked as design director at Bill Blass. Jeffrey will share his experience in clothing design and apply his expertise to designing with FeltLOOM. On Friday evening, The Lexington Fashion Collective will collaborate with us on a fashion show of garments from FeltLOOMers. Models will be available to showcase the clothing, and photographers will be on hand to capture great shots. Participants are invited to bring work to display in the show. A style-room setting area will accompany the fashion show, where FeltLOOMers can display home décor designs.

Zabielski1This annual conference is a special opportunity reserved only for FeltLOOM owners. It is just one of the ways that the FeltLOOM community supports its owners and helps them develop business and creative plans with their FeltLOOM. SPACE IS LIMITED, please register early. For further details on costs and to receive a complete copy of the schedule, please contact 855-335-8566 / info@feltloom.com or register directly via our website. Lodging is available in the area. Camping on the LanMark farm is permitted.

Pre-conference workshop: Thursday, September 11, 6:30PM – Learn dyeing techniques with fiber artist Laverne Zabielski ($25 per person) Post-conference workshop: Monday & Tuesday, September 15-16 – Dr. Etoia Rivera-Strohm, Knitwear & Accessories Design Professor at the Columbus College of Art and Design, will teach you to make a mannequin that fits your body as well as draping techniques, using FeltLOOM fabric designed by Lanette Freitag. Participants go home with a mannequin and draped top. ($300.00 per person; includes all supplies and meals).

Are you new to the FeltLOOM? It is the only fabric making machine of its kind, allowing artists, small businesses, professionals, and educators to explore creativity and product development like never before! Learn more.

Feltloom: Innovation in Needle Felting at the Handweavers Guild Conference

As popularity in felted fabrics, felt fashion and felt home décor soars, the demand grows for tools and equipment that create high-quality felted fabric with ease aIMG_20140717_105435nd efficiency. Founded over 10 years ago, FeltLOOM and its innovative fabric-making machines have been at the vanguard of the field. This year alone, the FeltLOOM crew has traveled throughout the country to meet artists, fiber mill owners, and other creative entrepreneurs in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, in order to answer their questions about the many benefits and opportunities FeltLOOM machines can bring to their businesses.
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In July 2014, FeltLOOM had a very successful presentation at the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. Our booth was abuzz with activity all week long, as we welcomed visitors to our colorful booth, talked about our shared passion for fiber arts and textiles, and introduced them to the creative and business potential of FeltLOOM equipment.
We filled our booth with plentiful samples of jackets, tops, coats, vests, hats, pillows, wraps, and wall hangings – all featuring interesting surface design techniques, and all created with the help of the FeltLOOM. It was a feast for all the senses, as there were brilliant colors to see, luxurious felted fabrics to touch, soft whirring of FeltLOOM machines to hear, and old and new friends who made for great conversations.
From examining the specifics of working with wool and alpaca, combining wool and existing fabric, or embellishments, we had an all-around good time sharing out story and our expertise with visitors to the FeltLOOM booth at this New England event. We enjoyed hearing other people’s stories of a life in fiber arts. Some visitors had not yet heard of FeltLOOM and were stopped in their tracks by the FeltLOOM Lexi Model we had running in the booth throughout the show. Others traveled to Providence with the intention of getting a hands-on FeltLOOM demo.
Our friends from Fiber Art Now magazine stopped by to visit us too. We enjoyed sharing our news with them, such as the upcoming 4th Annual FeltLOOM Owners Conference (September 12-15, 2014 in Sharpsburg, KY). They got to watch a Lexi demo and try on some of the FeltLOOM-made garments we had on display.
HGA Convergence 2014 was a rewarding experience for our whole crew, as we got to hear lots of positive feedback, and meet current and future FeltLOOM owners.
Did you know that FeltLOOM machines are custom-built for each customer depending on their specifications and needs? Our team is standing by to answer your questions and give you all the information you need about owning and thriving with FeltLOOM machines. Call us at (855) 335-8566 or info@feltloom.com any time.

 

New Advancements in Surface Design with the FeltLOOM

What an exhilarating time to be a feltmaker, a felt women’s and men’s fashion designer, and a designer of felt home fashion! In our last post  we covered the exciting trend sweeping the runways worldwide – felt. Today we want to talk about the element that draws many artists and designers to the wondrous world of felt – surface design. 

FeltLOOM, Needle Felting EquipmentFeltmaking is the ultimate textile design playground, affording you free reign to experiment with color and texture, to satisfy your creative goals to your heart’s content. Whether you are interested in developing color stories for your collection of home décor goods, or in exploring the drape of various fibers for your outerwear collection, the FeltLOOM line of needle-felting, fabric-making machines makes your tasks easy, accessible, and enjoyable. FeltLOOM, Fiber Conversion EquipmentWith FeltLOOM, you can easily combine different colors of wool fiber to study how the colors blend together in the finished fabric. You can also dye the fabric created on the FeltLOOM. You can combine a variety of fibers, including wools, alpaca, and silk, and explore the drape and tactility of the finished fabric. Whether your signature style is abstract and minimalist, or realist and colorful, you are able to create felted fabrics with floral, geometric, or free-form designs, using either naturally colored fiber or dyed fiber.

Artist: Sharon Janda

Artist: Sharon Janda

Sharon Janda of Wild Plum Designs creates exquisite felt art-to-wear. Her jackets, scarves, vests, shawls, and other accessories, many of which are created with the FeltLOOM, are vibrant, elegant, and completely original.

At Stramba Farm Alpacas & More natural, undyed colors are used to create sophisticated yet earthy FeltLOOM-felted fabric appropriate for use in clothing or home décor.
Artist: Sharon Janda

Artist: Sharon Janda

At Whispering Spirit Alpacas loosely spun yarn is added to the surface of wool to create subtle and intricate surface design patterns in this handsome vest.

Whispering Spirit

Whispering Spirit

Whether you are developing an entire line of products out of felted fabric, a capsule collection for a fashion show, or just researching and experimenting, our machines offer convenience, flexibility, and save you time.

Stramba Farms Alpacas

Stramba Farms Alpacas

With a FeltLOOM machine at your beck and call, you no longer need to be at the mercy of third-party fabric producers – you can produce fabric samples of various sizes on your own machine. Neither must you rely on the laborious and often inconsistent results produced by the wet felting method. The fabric you create on a FeltLOOM is reliably consistent and produced at a fraction of the time.

FeltLOOM in the MediaWhatever your surface design aspirations are, guided by your imagination and with beautiful fiber at your fingertips, your creative design process will flourish with the help of a FeltLOOM machine in your studio. With four kinds of machines in the series, you choose the size and other parameters that suit your needs best. The main differences among the machines in the series are the size, needle density, and speed. All FeltLOOM machines felt consistently and give high quality results.

Felt Hits the Runway in 2014

lex2As major international Fall/Winter 2014 fashion weeks wrapped up their runway shows in recent days, and as fashion houses began to fill orders for the world’s department stores, boutiques, and online fashion shopping portals, we are doing our own bit of trend-spotting and trend-forecasting. Guess what trend has emerged in haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion in recent seasons? Loud and clear, front and center, the trend we have spotted on many runways is FELT!

lex1The world’s top designers, from Balenciaga to Chloe, Marni to Christophe Lemaire, and beyond, a number of the most talented and innovative designers have embraced felted wool as a fabric essential to their collections. Fashioned into oversized coats and capes, crop tops, trousers, full skirts, and fanciful jackets, felted wool fabric is paired with other luxurious materials long at home on the world’s top runways — suede, silk, leather, chiffon.

Felted wool affords today’s emerging fashion designers and established couturiers infinite possibilities for sculpting interesting forms, shapes, and lines in their garments. Felt’s unique texture and sumptuous tactile feel exude warmth and luxuriousness. Felted fabric lends itself beautifully to being lavishly embellished and richly embroidered, serving as the perfect canvas for major established fashion designers, as well as for independent surface designers and wearable fiber artists. Felted wool need not be relegated to niche markets that fly below the radar of the international fashion community. Instead, felted wool fabric’s rightful place is among today’s highest prized materials, as it inspires esteemed designers and the fashion world’s next generation of talent.

Zabielski2Designing and producing large garments and especially entire collections that feature felt prominently, however, presents a challenge. Industrial felt production isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t afford sufficient customization and flexibility. Hand-felting (or wet-felting) is extremely labor-intensive and can produce inconsistent results. It is best reserved for one-of-a-kind or extremely limited production runs. FeltLOOM delivers an ideal solution to the challenges of producing beautiful, stable, and strong felted fabric, and doing so quickly, and on a large scale, if necessary. The FeltLOOM original fabric-making equipment was developed and perfected thanks to our company’s founders’ years of experience in engineering and working with fiber. The FeltLOOM family of needle-felting fabric producing machines includes several models, each specifically designed for the end-user, be it a fashion or interior designer, individual fiber artist, fiber mill, or textile & fashion design educational institution.

Zabielski1We invite you to explore each model’s features — Artist Series, Pro-Series, Lab-Series, Light Industrial Series. Then simply contact us (855 335 8566 or info@feltloom.com) anytime for an in-depth consultation on your specific needs and requirements. Like the fashion world’s most valued and sought after garments, each FeltLOOM is bespoke — custom-built to your specifications to enable you to produce the perfect felted wool fabric to incorporate into your next fashion collection.

Designers of regional and national stature already have championed the possibilities of creating stunning felted fabric on the FeltLOOM. Prominent textile artist and designer Laverne Zabielski, whose work was recently the subject of a feature in Fiber Art Now, international contemporary textiles & fiber arts magazine, has used FeltLOOM-made hand-dyed fabric widely for her line of magnificent coats and jackets.

PetrovichJudy Petrovich, an early FeltLOOM adopter, has fashioned richly textured women’s and men’s clothing and accessories out of naturally hued felted wool fabric created on the FeltLOOM. All FeltLOOM models are perfectly suited to handle a variety of fibers, including wools, alpaca, and almost any other fibers. If it has a barb, the FeltLOOM can felt it.
lex3Artwear made from fabric created on the FeltLOOM was highlighted at the Lexington Fashion Collaborative, Future of Fashion V Show in fall 2013.
These impressive and incredibly diverse examples represent only a small sample of the possibilities of using FeltLOOM-made fabric for garment and accessory design. With interest in felted wool rapidly growing, the demand for our unique FeltLOOM machine is also booming. We undoubtedly will see many new exciting fashion collections made possible by the FeltLOOM in 2014. We are immensely excited to work with the global fashion industry. If you are an emerging designer or a fashion world all-star interested in utilizing luxurious felted fabric in your next capsule or full-season collection, don’t delay contacting us for a FeltLOOM consultation.

Spreading the Word about FeltLOOM

FeltLOOM by Laverne ZabielskiArt is a powerful medium. It has always been a vehicle for spreading ideas, for opening minds, and expanding cultures. It’s interesting and sometimes surprising to see what tools and materials artists discover and put to use.

We aren’t surprised, of course, that artists are using the FeltLOOM in their work. It’s ability to produce quality, colorful fabric makes it an obvious tool for creating wearable art. We have, though, been surprised by the variations of blends created by FeltLOOM users and most particularly by the artists who have discovered it. We’ve watched with fascination as Laverne Zabielski has experimented with the LOOM, coaxing out light, colorful fabrics that she has fashioned into beautiful and flowing garments.

FeltLOOM by Laverne ZabielskiLaverne has been very generous in sharing her discoveries with all of us and we’re delighted to see her and her work getting attention in the art world. Laverne is featured in the Winter Issue of Fiber Art Now. The FeltLOOM is also mentioned in the article. Readers  can see the full article here, subscribe online, or pick up a copy at Barnes and Noble.

Congratulations, Laverne!

FeltLOOM Events

We regularly travel to fiber arts events and conferences.

Check back often to see where we’ll turn up next!

Saturday, November 23, 2013FL_KentuckyArtisanCenter
10:00-3:00
Lexi Model FeltLOOM Demonstrations
975 Walnut Meadow Road
Berea, Kentucky 40403
Join us for a FeltLOOM  Lexi demo.  We’ll cover scarf making, taught by Lanette Freitag. Come see the FeltLOOM in action!

 

December 6, 2013FL_GatewayRegionalArts
Gallery Opening 
Featuring work made by Lanette Freitag on the FeltLOOM
101 East Main Street
Mt. Sterlling, Kentucky 40353

 

Friday & Saturday, December 6 & 7, 2013LanMarkFarmSign
10:00-5:00
LanMark Farm Open House
Call 855-335-8566 for more details.
Visit the LanMark farm to tour the new mill boutique, see the animals, try out scarf making on the FeltLOOM, and spend the day on the scenic LanMark Farm. See you there!
LanMark Farm
121 Sharpsburg Road
Sharpsburg, Kentucky 40374

The Felting Changes

Fibers and felt for alpaca breeders are a perfect fit.

I was the first alpaca breeder in Kentucky beginning in the early 90s. This seemed like a natural addition to the llamas from 1987.

I wanted to know what to do with the fibers from these animals. I tried to figure it out by doing many different spinning and knitting projects. I also found out that I wanted to learn more about other fibers, leading me to other fiber animals. Then we added angora rabbits and various sheep. From here I learned about the different qualities of fiber from the many fleeces raised on our farm.

I learned to spin and knit. I made yarn and knitted some sweaters from my alpaca and sheep fibers. I loved my sweaters and still have them more than twenty years later. I look back on my work and see that it was just the beginning stages of my long fiber journey.

We had many animals that were giving us many fleeces. I could not possibly use all the wool that they produced. The barn was pilling up with fleeces. Learning to spin and knit was not using my wool at near the speed that it was growing on the animals. I had to find a faster way to make things, or my wool would not provide the value that I thought it deserved.

Felting was brought to my attention. Felting happens naturally on some animals and was an ancient fabric. So I continued on my journey.

My first felt was made using soap and water and lots of hand circling motions to make the fibers stick together. Hat making became a focus. I made and taught many people to make wet felted hats from all the different breeds I had. We enjoyed the felting, but I also still was not using the fibers as fast as I was growing them.

One day my husband came home with a felting needle. I used it immediately to fix a few holes in one of my hats that had not come out right. I then tried just felting a ball of wool. It worked fast and great! I turned to my husband and said, this is going to change our lives.

Industry has been doing needle felting since 1890. It uses it make products that are in our everyday lives. It makes polar fleece, rugs, felted fabric, etc. It was used by industry, so I decided that I needed a small needle felting loom for our farm. I could not find one to buy anywhere. So my husband and I looked for someone to build us one for our applications. We did this and have since worked for six years to develop a needle loom that would fit into our operation. We received a patent on a needle felting machine for fibers artist in 2008.

Today, we are selling these loom to breeders and fiber artists. You can make your own fabric without yarn. In one day from batting, I made twenty five scarves that were embellished with my finishing touches. This was a break through for making product and getting from fibers to fabric.

Now, we are just touching the surface of our true creativity with the fibers. We lay the fibers on the table and add our special colors or textures that give a one of kind product. People have purchased the FeltLOOM and are enjoying their own work. The seamstresses can make their own fabric rather than buy it from a bolt. We are on a journey to redefine fiber art.

Blog posted from Kentucky, USAView larger map

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Needle Felting Small Scale

Needle felting has been in industry since 1890. We felt that it needed to be put in the hands of people so they could make fiber art in a more timely manner.

Today we have that. A FeltLOOM that allows us to make professionals products. We use the same needles that are in the industrial units. If you follow what they do, we can do the same thing, just that we do it manually. We can needle in an up and down direction by turning the piece over and running in on the other side. We can add heat by using a pressing cloth and a steam iron.

Putting the FeltLOOM in the hands of people is going to unleash a new round of fiber usage because we do not need yarn to make our products. We have just started on this new creative journey. It will bring about many new surface designs and textures that area ll one of a kind.

FeltLOOM

FeltLOOM® User Group met for the first time at the end of August in 2011.
The event was filled with warm sharing from the user. We had honest open
sharing of ideas that will drive new creative products.

Arturo Sandoval, Professor of Fiber Art at the University of Kentucky,
presented the work from students working with the FeltLOOM®.
It was exciting to see their projects. We look forward to seeing more of their work.

It was a great pleasure to be a part of this.
The FeltLOOM® users are growing in numbers in the US and other countries.
They are now in five countries.

Blog posted from Kentucky, USA View larger map

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From Seamstress to Artist and Businesswoman

judy1

When I started out with a FeltLOOM, my intention was simply to sew alpaca clothing for breeders. I wanted to make clothing for them that they could show others, as a way to talk about their products and showcase what can be created with alpaca and other fibers.

I have been a seamstress for many years, but at that point, I was not a felt maker at all. I started researching wet felting methods, because that was all that seemed to be available. Of course, even the best quality wet felting methods would still result in squares versus yardage. In the course of my search, one of the mills told me about someone in Kentucky who had just developed a new loom, and it sounded like it might work for me, because it could produce felted yardage.

I got in contact with Don and Lanette at FeltLOOM, and immediately I could sense their sincere investment in the FeltLOOM community. They were so welcoming that they invited me to come out to their farm and try it out. To make a long story short, I traveled from Michigan to Kentucky so I could try it myself. Just two hours after I arrived at the farm in Sharpsburg, Kentucky, I had already processed 20 pounds of fiber! Imagine how that one day changed this seamstress’s life.

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Originally, I just wanted to sew, and making fabric was simply a vehicle for creating clothing. I never intended for it to take me on the path that it has. Now my business is so much more than what I thought it ever could be! These days, I literally paint with fiber. It’s remarkable. This is a world that I couldn’t have imagined.

Because of all that I’ve learned and can do now, my business isn’t limited to sewing clothing for breeders. For example, I speak to groups about felting, I run seminars for people to design their own fabric, helping them explore their own creativity, and then I make it into felt for them. I also work with the equine industry to create horse-themed apparel and Western wear. This includes horse blankets, show garments, and many more products. These are just some of the new ventures that the FeltLOOM has helped me develop.

This is all so new and there are many more things that can be done with the FeltLOOM. The people who are using FeltLOOMs are modern pioneers. When people see something I’ve made on the FeltLOOM, at first they don’t realize that not only did I make the jacket (or blanket or other product), but I also designed and created the fabric itself! Their reactions are priceless. In a world of paper shuffling, many of us have forgotten what it feels like to really create something with our own hands. No matter how I use the FeltLOOM, it takes me back to that feeling of creating with my own hands. Even more, I make useful, creative, original products that people love.

Judy Petrovich

Fabulous Fibers Alpaca Farm

Holly, Michigan