By Carroll Lee Stolz

There are so many wonderful aspects of working together as a group. One of the best parts of working together is discovering new and different tools and techniques.

In general I’ve never known a quilter or an artist who doesn’t love to be introduced to something new (or “new” to them) that helps to stretch to new lengths.

In another article, I wrote about our exploration of “water-soluble crayons”. What a wonderful tool !  Our own Dayzee (Cathie Purdy) introduced those to us, and she has once again got us all a-twitter about yet another tool.

Although we have been aware of this certain tool’s existence, and it is certainly not new to the craft world, we PHFA’s are now playing with a machine which is “new to us”.  We suddenly find ourselves immersed for hours in play sessions, experimentation and lots of phone calls and text messages to one another. These machines are known by a couple of different names (I suppose depending on the manufacturer).  In any case, whether it’s called an “embellisher” or a “felting machine”, they are basically all the same.  These machines are all, however, superior to the one-needle hand felting technique that can take much longer to achieve a product while at the same time enflame the arthritis in one’s hand !

Certainly when thinking of “felting”, one automatically shifts to visions of wool.  Although I I admit I went straight to my huge bags of wool remnants purchased in the back room of Pendleton Wool, this machine is NOT just for wool and wool roving.

I knew there was a reason never to throw away even an inch of really great ribbon, thread or yarn. I, for one, have saved all of my 1/8″ or wider slivers of fabric in a box for many years.  All of that beautiful selvage with the beautiful color dots may finally find its worth in some artwork after all.  Oh, and by the way, has anyone discovered the fabulous wool selvage which is also sold in Pendleton’s back room?

The machine is light weight, but does not vibrate off the table. It is not particularly loud. The mechanics seem to be simple and fairly straight-forward, and very much the same from one make to the other.  Prices range from brand to brand, as might be expected.  We like a machine whose needles are individually removable and can be used with one to twelve needles.

Using this little device is relaxing, exciting and addictive. It is one of those things to get our creative juices flowing at a much increased PSI.

We take a retreat each year and spend 3 days and 2 nights just quilting, drawing, visiting and enjoying the company of other women with like minds.  Our next retreat is in Springdale, Utah.  Springdale is located at the mouth of the gorgeous Zions National Park.  This year, you can bet that several of the PHFA’s will be taking their new felting machines and a bag or two full of materials and fibers for some exciting experimentation and FUN !