Two Book Reviews (on Felting) and a Giveaway

Winners of the Felting books: Congratulations to Traci Johnson and LaTrecia Rafferty, the winners of the two felting books mentioned in this article!

Winners of the 3 journals:  The winners for the traveling journals have been drawn– Congratulations to Lisa “Salt and Light” Brown, Stephanie Hansen and Wendy from Late Start Studio!  Now, on to the next giveaway!

This week, I’m celebrating my 1,500th blog post with a series of giveaways. Today, it’s two fresh-off-the-press books on felting. Leave a comment letting me know you want one of the books. If you have a preference for the bird book or the complete photo guide  book, mention it in the comments. I’ll draw the winner on Thursday evening, 5 p.m. Phoenix time.      The books:

  • The Complete Photo Guide to Felting by Ruth Lane
  • Felted Feathered Friends by Laurie Sharp

The reviews:

Title:  The Complete Photo Guide to Felting

Author: Ruth Lane

Details: Creative Publishing International, soft cover, 240 pages, 800 photos, $24.99

Content: Introduction, five instructional chapters, a gallery of photos, and five sections of acknowledgements, resources, glossary, etc.

  • All about wool and other fibers
  • Preparing to Felt
  • Traditional wet felting
  • Nuno or Laminate Felting
  • Needle Felting

What I like about the book: The scope of the book will satisfy both beginning and advanced felters.

The book begins with an exploration of what fibers are suitable for felting and which won’t work. It describes how to choose fibers and how to clean then, a chart of needle sizes and what each needle is best suited for.

There is a step-by-step, photograph-rich instruction to each of the different kinds of felting: wet, laminate (nuno) and needle felting.

There are technique tips on almost every page. Both positive and negative (You know it’s not working when. . .)

A two-page, step-by-step section on how to figure shrinkage in both size and percentage. Since felting is based on shrinking fiber, this is very useful.

There are both projects and techniques in the book, from wall hangings to dolls (including how to do faces and hands).

Color-coded bands at the top of the page help you find sections easily.

What I don’t like about the book: The project headings are just a point size or two larger than the body text and in a lighter color, making it hard to find the beginning of a project. If it hadn’t been for the picture of the giraffe and one of a doll, I would have thought they were the same project.

* * *

Title:  Felted Feathered Friends: Techniques and Projects for Needle-Felted Birds.

Author: Laurie Sharp, with photos by Kevin Sharp.

Details: Creative Publishing International, hardbound, 128 pages, $19.99

Content: Introduction, materials and tools, basic technique, 20 bird projects, gallery, resources.

What I like about the book: It is simple and direct: 20 projects on how to make needle felted birds, using one kind of barbed needle and wool roving. Birds include a variety from bluebird, swan, owl, peacock, flamingo, and pelican. There is also a mobile and an ornament.

The photographs are all taken on a warm-colored background, creating unity throughout the book.

There are step-by-step photographs to show different stages of the project.

Each project starts with a large photo of the finished project along with suggestions of how to individualize your project and a list of materials, including how much wool you will need.

If you love the idea of making whimsical figures of birds, this is your book. It’s got a tight focus and a big range.

What I don’t like about the book: The sans-serif type is too light weight to make for easy instruction reading if you are working on a project and checking instructions.

The background of the photographs should have been varied for better contrast. A yellow bird on a warm tan background is not appealing.

You know how large the finished project is only by seeing it in context with hands. Measurements would have been welcome.

There needs to be more “how” in the how-to. I will admit this is a particular complaint of mine in how-to books. Telling me to “shape a crescent” or “pull some wool loose from one end” to make the tail requires me to see that the crescent changes shape and to guess how to make that happen as well.

The instructions for shaping legs and feet need one more step to make them three dimensional. It’s easy to get lost when the entire bird-foot shaping instruction is, “use pliers to make five bends in the stem. Pinch the bends to make three claws.” Even looking at the photos, I can’t figure out how to get from 5-bend stage to claw stage.

For the pelican, the big pre-instruction photo shows a blue “fish” in the birds mouth. The caption says, “If your pelican is hungry, needle felt a tiny fish to put in his mouth.” The step-by-step bird is shown with fish in mouth, but there are no instructions how to make the fish or how to get it into the beak, which seems to be solid, and closed

The beak instructions say, “Roll a wisp of orange wool into a cone shape,” without telling you how much a wisp is or how long the cone should be. There are photos, and I’m willing to admit I may need more instructions than others.

* * * Full disclosure statement: A publicist for both books asked if I’d like a review copy; I did not pay for the books.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach and writer who designs and makes art journals she uses.

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30 thoughts on “Two Book Reviews (on Felting) and a Giveaway

  1. I would love to win either of the books! I have done a very small bit of felting and feel I need some more instruction, so I hope I win!

  2. Just taking a quick break in several busy weeks….

    First, congrats on your 1,500+ blog posts, Quinn. What a huge accomplishment! I just did a little math. If I recall correctly, you once mentioned that you spend about 3 hours on each post. So that comes to 4,500 hours, or 187.5 days, or 6.25 thirty-day months. The mind bloggles.

    I’d be interested in the Complete Photo Guide to Felting, but mainly for the nuno techniques. Since I have found a lovely lady locally who makes beautiful nuno pieces and might be persuaded to teach a class, I’ll cede my lottery number to someone who might want/need it more.

  3. Just read your review of the two felting books. I recently got back into felting, only this time I decided to try needle felting instead of wet felting. I would enjoy the Felted Feathered Friends, mainly because I’m learning to felt some fun little creatures, and this book would be inspiring. I don’t worry too much about the finer details. I’m much more of a “look at a picture, read a little bit about the project, and jump in” person.
    Of course, I could always benefit greatly from the other felting book as well, so if I’m chosen, I’m a happy camper with either one!
    BTW, loved the Raw Art Journaling workshop online!

  4. Hi Quinn, I would really love The Complete Guide To Felting. It sounds like it includes a wealth of information. I have tried needle felting on various fabrics with mixed success and failure. i definitely need to study the part about what fabrics work and which ones won’t. Thank you.

  5. I hate to mess up the random number picker, but I just wanted to congratulate the three journal winners. I’m sure you’ll all enjoy them! 🙂

  6. Both of these books look like such fun! I would love the “Felted Feathered Friends” book, because of my love for birds. We had a mourning dove nest in our grape trellis this year, and two eggs hatched, and also this year we had a killdeer couple with two tiny babies living in our front yard. The killdeer babies were like watercolored cotton balls on little stilt legs! Some of the cutest baby birds I’ve ever seen!! And a couple of years ago we had a robin nest in our tomatoes (she had one baby). It’s so fun to watch them go from eggs to being able to fly! I love it. I am a huge fan of Raw Art Journaling as well. Although I’ve read several books on art journaling, your book was the one that really actually inspired me to DO art journaling, rather than just thinking about it! 🙂

  7. I would love to have the book, The Complete Photo Guide to Felting. I’ve been doing a bit of needle felting, a little curly wooly ewe and a wool bowl. And wet felted my dog’s fur into beautiful beads. The wool is available from a neighbor in 7 colors. This book could open some new doors with ideas I could develope and share with my studio students.

  8. I would love to win “The Complete Photo Guide to Felting” because I have been interested in adding felting to my mixed media work but am clueless as how to start. Thanks for this opportunity Quinn and thanks for all the inspiration and information you share!

  9. Excellent book choices! These would be a new road to travel as I have not done much with felt. I would love to own: The Complete Photo Guide to Felting by Ruth Lane.

  10. I’m holding out for your five-thousandth post; there’s a long*-established tradition of giving away a turkey! Legend has it the tradition arose because of the well-known call of the wild turkey: “blogglebloggleblogglebloggle…”

    (*”long” in the subatomic, not geologic sense)

    • And all this time, I thought when you hit 5,000 posts, you bought a bottle of brown liquor and drank toasts with all the readers. Or for all the readers, I forget. That noise was the pouring of the Wild Turkey over ice. Thanks for explaining what it really was. Only 3,500 posts to go!

  11. i’d love a copy of the photo guide to felting, quinn! the “exploration of what fibers are suitable for felting and which won’t work” is something i’d like to know more about. i’m curious about the choice of fibers because i’m working in mixed media now and don’t know how to incorporate felting into it. and finally, i didn’t know that there was a choice of needle sizes so that “and what each needle is best suited for” has sparked my interest! thanks, vicki 🙂

  12. Both of these books look wonderful, however the photo guide to felting speaks to me the most. I would also like to add that your book Raw Art Journalling that I purchase recently is opening many doors on this new adventure I am on. Thank you 🙂

    • You are in the mix. Thank you so much for purchasing Raw Art Journaling! It makes me smile every time someone tells me. I will be happy to sign a permission slip (I made them as bookmarks) for you, if you’d like. Just send me your mailing address. (Use the email under “Contact” at the top of the page).

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