Tag Archives: Fiber Art

Opening Up Possibilities with the FeltLOOM

We recently ran across this post by Jennifer at All Sorts Acre, and thought it was the perfect way to show how one FeltLOOMer works with her FeltLOOM. She has a Lexi, our tabletop model (below).

This week I thought I would try something different. I have a Lexi FeltLOOM needle felting machine. It is a great little machine that really opens up felting possibilities exponentially.

The Lexi FeltLOOM needle felting machine.

The Lexi FeltLOOM needle felting machine.

The Lexi means that I can make my own fabric. It makes the felting process faster, more versatile, and in some ways easier. Using it still has a learning curve, because, like felting, each type of fibre behaves very differently on it. Combine that with using a base fabric, and the possibilities are endless.

I don’t often use a base fabric in my felt projects, I usually just use wool, but having a woven fabric in between the front and back layer can give an incredible stability to the felt that can be time consuming to achieve when just using wool. Having the woven fabric in the centre also means that when sewing pieces together, no fabric stabilizer is needed. I have found that some types of wool are better for sewing into directly than others, but that is for another blog post.

Needle felted table runner.

Needle felted table runner.

Anyway, I had some loose cotton weave fabric lying around. I don’t remember too much about it, except that I wanted to experiment with it. So I did. Using some of my ready-to-use wool stash (all local and many different types) I got several balls of wool ready and layer it out onto the fabric.

I then put it through the FeltLOOM. To begin with I had fabric on one side only. I was not happy with this result as the woven fibres pulled and didn’t look lice on the back. So I ended up adding a layer to the back of the fabric as feel. this helped immensely. Not only did it hide the pulled threads, but it also gave the wool fibres on the front of the piece something to lock into on the back.

The front and back of the table runner.

The front and back of the table runner.

You can see threads from the cotton fabric at the edge of the piece. This is due to my rushing. Normally I would have had the fabric smaller than the piece O wanted to work on so when I trimmed it there would be a nice thread-free finished edge.
But this was an experiment so I just wanted to see what would happen.

I may put some edging on it, or further develop this into a purse or bag, I haven’t decided. yet. Regardless, I am gonigg to give it a quick wet felting to make sure all the fibres are truly locked together.  orFor now it makes a great table runner.

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FeltLOOM: A Family of “Fiber” Entrepreneurs

FL_LanmarkFarmFeltLOOM founders, Lanette Frietag and Don Bowles, have been operating a working farm since 1984 and started a wool mill to make their farm sustainable. They saw a need for a large-scale felting machine and there weren’t any available, so they set out to develop their own. In the words of Lanette, “We started our mill in 2003 and took 5 years to have a working prototype that we thought was a good unit for a fiber artist. We received a rural development grant from Kentucky Science and Technology to help us through the process of product development with the requirements we had. There were many tweaks to make it an outstanding unit. The farm was the beginning of the FeltLOOM. The US utility patent was allowed in 2008.”

Lexi n rampFeltLOOM, like most family businesses, has a small, dedicated group of people who do all the work. We wear many hats to do the different tasks that need to be done. For example, marketing the FeltLOOM is a challenge because there is a great deal of education that goes with it. This is new thought in a way to make products and it needs to be shown. Goal setting is very important to our focus. It keeps us on tack for growth. However, we try to have Sundays as a day away from typical business activities to refresh our minds.

Don and Lanette have a team of FeltLOOMers behind them, working directly on the business and contributing to the FeltLOOM community through their discoveries and learning of how to expand the possibilities with the FeltLOOM.

FL_SampleYellowRedDon manages the production, new product development, engineering, and warranty piece and assist with sales.
Lanette manages overall operation, website, customer correspondence, fiber art research, marketing and financial planning. We have help to build the units and run the mill.  FeltLOOM has grown consistently since it was first developed, and now they offer various models, depending on the customer needs. For example, an artist may choose a model from the Artist Series and a fiber mill might choose another, larger FeltLOOM model, such as the Pro Series or the Lab Series.

The FeltLOOM Owner’s Event is a major annual event and has become a tradition. In the words of Lanette, “We invite the FeltLOOM Owners to come the farm and have a sharing, learning experience that last for three days. We have special activities the encourage growth in fiber art with the FeltLOOM. It is a fun time and we look forward to it. Many owners have come every year, and don’t want to miss it.”

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FeltLOOM continues to grow and expand into new areas. It is an innovative tool that serves fiber artists, educators, fiber mills, and light industry.

Learn more by watching the FeltLOOM team live on a recent Fiber Art Now FAN Fare program.

 

 

 

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!