Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Cuppa & Cake with Amy (Needle & Felt)

Cuppa & Cake with needleandfelt

Amy (from Needle and Felt) is a mother of one currently living in Minnesota.  Though originally from California, she moved for love and the rest is History.  She is a self-taught crafter who has always had a creative streak, though has only recently embarked on her amazing needle felting adventure which has resulted in her gorgeous etsy shop.

1. Hello! First of all, I must ask: What came first, the sheep or the needle felting? 

I would say the needle felting came first and three months later Lily, Maggie and Ruthie came to live on the farm. 

2. When did you first start felting, and what inspired you to do so?

I discovered this mysterious craft called 'needle felting' browsing Etsy in 2009, and Was so intrigued that sculptures could be made out of wool - my favourite textile. It took me until 2010, a year later to actually start felting. I was apprehensive because I knew it required repetition and I was a little worried that I might not have the patience. I searched video tutorials online to help me to understand how to hold the needle, etc. and then just started experimenting!

3. Where do you source your supplies?  

I found all my supplies on Etsy. I didn't start with a kit, I chose to learn how to dye white wool different colors.  This seemed cost effective if I decided to sell on Etsy and I figured I might as well learn it all at once. It didn't take long to run through that batch that I decided I needed to learn how to process raw wool - straight off the sheep (again video tutorials on Youtube were very helpful). The next step was talking my husband into acquiring sheep!

Note: Amy sells her supplies here on etsy if you'd like to grab some for yourself!   She prepares the wool at home from her very pretty workshop!

Cuppa & Cake with needleandfelt

4. Oh dear, I almost forgot! What's your favourite cuppa, and cake?

I often have green tea and dark chocolate sitting on my desk as I needle felt. If I am busy with orders and my husband knows he might not see me for a week ;), he will buy me a supply of gourmet dark chocolate to help me through. Bonus points for him!

5. How do you care for all your animals? How many do you have now, and do you get a helping hand?

My husband and son help me with chores and feeding. In the summer the flock is on pasture - last year they were a smaller amount of pasture and we had to make sure they    had water several times a day, but this spring they will be able to drink from the stream and that will save us some extra time!  In the winter they are fed hay and stay close to the shelter.  My husband and I sheer the sheep in the spring and he and my father-in-law does hoof trimming and shots (he is a large animal vet and if there are health issues that arise, he is extremely helpful ;).

I have 9 sheep and by spring we should expect 4-9 lambs. I did have 15, but I had to sell them because my new ram is too large for breeding. Thankfully, I found very nice homes for them. One family agreed that my husband and I can shear them in spring - It's so nice to know I can visit them and continue to use their wool! My future goal is to have 30 sheep grazing our pastures.

I also have 8 naughty goats, 3 llamas, 10 chickens, 2 dogs, and two cats!

6. The fox is my absolute favourite, as you probably guessed from my own etsy store. What was your first creation?

Why thank you, he actually was my first creation!

7. What are you up to when you're not rearing your own animals, cleaning & hand-dying their wool and turning it into tiny cute creations (as if that's not enough to be getting by with...)?

That almost sums up my life! My husband and I go to my son's hockey games, which many are out of town. I never thought I would be a hockey mom, but I love it. In season, I garden or landscape when I can, fix up our old farmhouse, make things, take pictures, thrift-shop, listen music, visit Pinterest, do online research for my future goals, avidly watch Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix.

For the new year, I plan to launch a kickstarter project in hopes to save our 90 year old barn. It was built by my husband's great grandfather. This will be a huge task and will require a lot of my time. I'm taking it slow and trying to prepare in advanced as much as I can. Also, I am hoping to be a vendor at a wool festival this spring - I should know in January. This will require a large amount of inventory and I will be felting like crazy in between shop orders. 

All the hard work and sacrifice is worth it to me; I love my sheep and what I do. My hopes and dreams are that someday Needle & Felt will help sustain our 4th generation farm.

After all this inspiration, I'm using my new year holiday (yey for holidays) learning to needle felt, so check back soon for a little tutorial video! 

Are you learning any new skills this year?  Any new knit stiches learned?

Good evening Lovelies!

Amanda x

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