Hello and welcome to the final post in this blog series! Now, this is not to say that I will be leaving the blog completely; however, I won't be posting quite as frequently anymore as for me, exam season is coming, so I'll be starting to revise for mock exams very soon.
Before then though, I wanted to look at one final craft, although it perhaps does not fit into the category of "less well-known." In fact, I would argue that sewing is one of the most popular crafts, but I wanted to look into it anyway as I (along with many others) got particularly into it last year by making face masks. Today, I'll be reviewing both hand and machine sewing.
What do you need?
With hand sewing, all you need are a needle, thread, pins, fabric scissors and your material, all of which we stock. With machine sewing, you also need your sewing machine (you can find many good sewing machines online or in sewing shops) along with the appropriate equipment for each part (e.g. bobbin, thread and sewing machine needle). Usually, a sewing machine will come with all the parts, instructions, and some threads, but it's likely that you will have to re-order some parts separately later if they break or run out.
Is it difficult?
Hand sewing is often taught in primary schools because it is quite an easy and repetitive craft. However, you are only taught a couple different types of stitch at first, so you can learn more stitches and make it more advanced as you go along. Also, whilst it is easy to learn the basics of hand sewing, it can be hard to master it and make you stitches even. However, many people like this as it means they have to focus on it, which can be very relaxing.
On the other hand, I didn't learn machine sewing until I started secondary school (though it was offered as an optional club for older students at my primary school) as it is a little harder and faster. Threading the machine up can also be difficult, though this depends on both the machine you have and the clarity of your instructions. Similarly to hand sewing, machine sewing is very versatile in the way that it can be used to make a variety of different things and can vary in difficulty depending on what you are trying to do.
Is it expensive?
Hand sewing is probably one of the cheapest crafts, as you can buy material relatively cheaply (or even upcycle clothes) and not a lot of extra equipment is needed. With machine sewing, buying the machine can be expensive but many people have sewing machines at home that have been passed down through the generations, so if you are one of those people, learning to sew on that would not be much more expensive than sewing by hand.
How did you learn?
So, as I mentioned earlier, I learnt the basics of both hand and machine sewing at school and also at home. However, recently, I learnt how to machine sew through online guides. When it comes to making the masks, the website I used was The Big Community Sew. I loved that this site had a range of both written instructions and video tutorials.
As for hand sewing, I recommend getting kits to learn how to make things such as small toys, as these often use clear, visual instructions and are quick and easy to make. We stock a range of small sewing kits here. Also, whilst we don't currently offer sewing lessons, there may be more classes available when lockdown restrictions end, so it may be a good idea to try one of those too.
Which is better, hand or machine sewing?
For me, this question is really hard to answer as it's down to personal preference; however, I think that I would have to say that my favourite is hand sewing. I like the fact that it's relatively slow and simple and I can pick a project up easily with little setup. It's nowhere near as loud as machine sewing either, which is a bonus!
However, I do love sewing with a machine as it's a lot more versatile and useful. With a sewing machine, you can make something very quickly too. So, if you prioritise speed and versatility, sewing by machine is probably better for you.
If you're not so sure which category you fall into, why not give both a try and see which you prefer?
Would I recommend sewing?
Without a shadow of a doubt, I would recommend sewing, as sewing is so versatile and varied that there is something for everyone, whether you are someone who wants a quick hobby or something slow and relaxing to wind down to. It's also such a useful skill - I'm sure we've all had buttons fall off our clothes and stitches coming loose before, so knowing how to sew can be very handy in those moments.
That's all from me for a little while, though I'll still be updating you all with current projects and what's going on at Avicraft Wool. If you want more updates from Sharon too, why not follow @avicraftwool on Instagram or Facebook?
Until next time, happy crafting!
Hello and welcome back to the blog! In our last post, we looked at macramé, going through some frequently asked questions about it and some of the things that macramé can be used to make. Today, we are going to do something similar to explore needle felting. I haven't done needle felting in a little while but I really love it and want to go back to it soon, so I thought that it would be a good craft to look at.
What is it?
Needle felting is a craft technique where you use a barbed needle to thicken wool roving into a stiff felt texture. In the process, you can shape it to form different ornaments and decorations in cute shapes such in the shapes of animals and people. Here is a photo of a needle felted rabbit.
What do you need?
All you need is a barbed felting needle, wool roving (light, unspun wool) and a felting mat or piece of foam to place your work on. However, you may also want to use other materials such as stencils depending on what the pattern/instructions say you need. We stock all of these apart from pieces of foam, which you can buy at Avicraft model shop next door to us. Here is a photo of some of the materials that we stock.
Is it difficult?
Personally, I don't think needle felting is too difficult as it's a repetitive action - I first learnt when I was about 10 years old. However, like with macramé, it requires a lot of patience. Also, it's important to pay close attention to ensure that you are not felting it too much or too little and making it uneven. This part can be particularly tricky!
Is it expensive?
Overall, it's very cheap in comparison to other crafts. What's more, you don't need a lot of space to do it either, so there's no need to buy an extra large table and do a major clear out before you start. However, the needles can break very easily, particularly when you are new to the craft, so it can be a little expensive at first.
Is it dangerous?
Another thing to note about needle felting is the fact the the needles have to be barbed, meaning that it is pretty sharp and painful if you accidently scratch or stab your fingers with it. Therefore, it really is important to work slowly, particularly when you first learn. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend needle felting to young children. However, you can buy leather thimbles, which you put on your thumb and index finder to protect them.
How did you learn?
I learnt how to needle felt quite a while ago through face-to-face classes. I would recommend going to a group class when the lockdown ends if you can as this is a great way to learn tricks of the trade and make like-minded friends. Alternatively, there are many kits available and video tutorials online to help you if you want to learn at home. One YouTube channel that I would recommend is Felts by Philippa. Many people, myself included, love the way she talks through instructions and enjoy the variety of videos available on her channel, including how-tos, reviews and time lapses (sped-up videos of a project being made).
Would I recommend needle felting?
I absolutely would recommend needle felting to anyone with spare time and patience as it is a very affordable craft and is simple and soothing to do. Next time, I'll be exploring sewing, both by hand and machine. But, until then, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..