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 5. Alpaca Fiber: End to End
 using felting machine for alpaca-feltLOOM
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bburns

147 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2010 :  10:43:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is related to the post on making fabric and I'm wondering how many have seen what the feltLOOM can produce in a short period of time. I saw it at the Paca to Product forum and was amazed with the professional appearance of the products made in a short period of time. It is a high speed felting machine that comes in single user and industrial user sizes and the felt produced seems very strong. There were many items made using the feltLOOM such as: jackets, vests, hats, placemats, pillows, saddlebags for horses, scarves, etc. I can't remember everything that was made although rugs were also included. Those of use who work with fiber cannot produce anything near that product or it would certainly take us many, many hours to begin to duplicate. A quantam leap for alpaca fiber folks and I wonder if AFCNA has seen the equipment for use with their products? Those of us who work with alpaca fiber need as many ways to get alpaca products out to the mainstream as possible!


Brenda
Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC Our Passion is Alpacas and their Fiber
sugarcreekalps@sbcglobal.net

AlpacaHeights

10 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2010 :  2:27:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Brenda,

I too like the professional quality of the felt loom. I just received my jacket yesterday and for those that would like to see it, I'll have a photo of it up for a few days on my AlpacaNation page.

http://www.alpacanation.com/memberservices/03_view_farm.aspx

Mary Hagen
Alpaca Heights & Jiffy Fiber Tumbler LLC
Ubly, Michigan
www.alpacaheights.com

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bburns

147 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2010 :  6:25:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm anxious to see the jacket that has been made and will look forward to seeing it on your website on alpacanation! The products are so phenomenal that you really need to see them in person to see how professional and well done that are in record time!

Brenda
Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC Our Passion is Alpacas and their Fiber
sugarcreekalps@sbcglobal.net
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samsuri

208 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2010 :  9:23:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit samsuri's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Mary, your jacket looks fantastic! So, the jacket is sewn from the felt, like you would some other fabric? You say it is lined too... I'm very impressed! Makes me want to buy a felt loom!

Cheers
Robyn


Robyn Harrison
Samsuri Alpacas
Coloured Suri Alpacas
Gympie, Queensland, Australia
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nyala

3317 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2010 :  10:53:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit nyala's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi,

I would love a felt loom but the price was a bit much for me, 7k for a smaller one and 15k for a larger.

Ann

D. Andrew Merriwether, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology, Binghamton University
and
Ann and Andy Merriwether
Nyala Farm Alpacas,Vestal, NY
www.alpacanation.com/nyalafarm.asp
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samsuri

208 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  12:02:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit samsuri's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Ann

you should find a couple of other breeders to share it with! You might find that a few in your area are interested but can't come up with that much money. I know I'd be keen, but I'm a bit far away to make use of it (the other side of the world!).

If I can find a couple of other like-minded breeders, I think I'd be getting one between us.

Or maybe put a particular alpaca up for sale specifically to pay for it. That way when he/she sells, the decision on what to use the money for has been made already!

Cheers
Robyn


Robyn Harrison
Samsuri Alpacas
Coloured Suri Alpacas
Gympie, Queensland, Australia
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Paradise

922 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  12:53:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit Paradise's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Does anybody have any experience with the rolling feltmaking machines?

Laura Hillman
Paradise Alpacas
Hempstead, TX
979-826-9559
www.alpacanation.com/paradisealpacasoftx.asp
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pcbeasley

554 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  08:32:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit pcbeasley's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi there,
How can we take a look at the jacket?
Thanks,
Carol
Stone Field Alpacas
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Judith

4010 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  09:52:33 AM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bburns

. . . I wonder if AFCNA has seen the equipment for use with their products? . . .

Brenda
Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC Our Passion is Alpacas and their Fiber
sugarcreekalps@sbcglobal.net


AFCNA doesn't manufacture products, Brenda. We collect fleece from our members, sort and grade it for appropriate useage, locate and contract with vendors who do the actual processing/manufacturing, and then we offer the final products for wholesale/retail. If there were a vendor offering this service, it is certainly a service we would be interested in exploring, however. I will also be interested in learning more about this equipment.

Judith Korff
AlpacaNation Forum Co-Moderator
LadySong Farm Bolivian Suri Alpacas
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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bburns

147 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  10:54:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Judith,
That is helpful information and certainly something I did not know in terms of purchasing from vendors. It also helps me understand some of what I don't know about the whole process!! Sounds like if someone had a product that could be reproduced with consistent quality and amount that AFCNA might consider contracting with that vendor. Could the vendor use his or her own fiber without sending it through the process or does the fiber have to be obtained from AFCNA? I wonder how many individuals know about this process and, if they did, if that might encourage entrepreneurial spirit among alpaca breeders? Would that mean that potentially mills could make items such as rugs or yarn and become vendors? That those who could produce items with a feltLOOM might have an opportunity to become vendors?
Apologies if in my ignorance of how the AFCNA operates that I have suggested anything inappropriate in this response. Might this open up opportunities for those who work with alpaca fiber?

Thanks!

Brenda
Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC Our Passion is Alpacas and their Fiber
sugarcreekalps@sbcglobal.net
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Judith

4010 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  11:12:45 AM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Basically, Brenda, AFCNA's job is to take its members' fiber and have product made to whatever extent is most economically profitable (at this point, our best seller is socks). We are not intrinsically a retailer/wholesaler of product except insofar as we provide an outlet for end products made from our members' fiber and, until we have sufficient member fiber to meet demand, some outside finished product. There are a number of products we COULD develop, of course, but it makes little sense to invest in a product line that would not provide an equal or better ROI than our socks. If this alpaca-feltLOOM project were able to provide an equally marketable product for a comparable return, it would certainly be worth checking into.

You might want to check the new, redesigned and user friendly AFCNA website for a full description of the benefits of membership and the goals and structure of the organization. I will also note for those members who have not yet visited the website that we now have a forum especially for AFCNA members to discuss the fiber industry and AFCNA's place in it. I would encourage AFCNA members to check it out and give us your input.

Judith Korff
AlpacaNation Forum Co-Moderator
LadySong Farm Bolivian Suri Alpacas
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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bburns

147 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  6:47:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Judith,
Thanks for the thoughtful comments and input! I agree that the Extreme Socks the most important item and the one folks should have first for cold weather. More marketing needs to be done and perhaps we farms need to do more to promote the socks although I try to do my share. Wish there were Extreme socks for children and that they were promoted for the elderly or anyone who struggles with staying warm. I've made slipper socks out of them by sewing them to felt slippers but it is so time consuming by hand that I have not produced them for others but certainly could be a good product if someone could manufacture them. Also question whether the same warmth we feel from the Extreme socks could be used in gloves (as it is difficult to find really warm gloves), scarves, and hats.
Will double check the website which I have not done since the new sign in system but will follow up!

Brenda
Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC Our Passion is Alpacas and their Fiber
sugarcreekalps@sbcglobal.net
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ard

1808 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  7:29:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Juidith,
As I have said before, I could sell a lot more extreme socks if, in addition to our current product, the coop made an extreme sock with loose top fit. Sort of like the first extreme socks only without the elastic band at the top. People whose ankles swell cannot wear the current extreme sock and they are some of the people who need them most. We live where the population is older and I sell a lot of the creekwater loose top socks and tell people to cut off the elastic top after washing. With an aging population, diabetes and heart disease, there are a lot of us around that can't wear a tight fitting sock.

Robin Alpert
Alpacas 'R Diamonds
15163 W 323rd
Paola, KS 66071
913-849-3738
www.alpacanation.com/alpacasrdiamonds.asp
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samsuri

208 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  7:40:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit samsuri's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Laura

I also looked at the felt rolling machines. They are basically a method to remove the manual labor from the wet felting process. So they save time and save your arm muscles, but you'd have to do a lot of felting to justify those machines too!

Can anybody answer whether the needle felting (as per the felt loom) still requires fulling? And if so, how does it affect the look of the finished product? The product that comes off the loom looks so neat, but if it has to be fulled then I suspect it will shrink and possible get mis-shapen. Any advice from you serious crafts people would be appreciated.

Cheers
Robyn


Robyn Harrison
Samsuri Alpacas
Coloured Suri Alpacas
Gympie, Queensland, Australia
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danimac

936 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  8:35:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Can anyone point me to links for the various felting machines that are out there? I don't seem to find much by doing a search.

thanks!
Dani

Dani McKenzie
Longbottom Meadows
Roy, WA
360-400-0348
http://www.longbottommeadows.com
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samsuri

208 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  9:59:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit samsuri's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Dani

yes, it's a challenge finding useful info. The feltloom has a website: www.feltloom.com

for rolling machines, here are a few:
www.feltcrafts.com/wet-felt-machine.htm
www.woolery.com/Pages/felting.html#feltmaking
An Aussie felt rolling machine: www.snowycreek.com.au/fm001.htm

private sale of a "flat bed" wet felting machine:
http://akroncanton.craigslist.org/art/1537372183.html

Here's a you-tube clip for a felting machine called Groovi:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U8v5a_yE8g" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U8v5a_yE8g

Or a machine that you can go and use if you live close enough:
http://fibermill.yurtboutique.com/ultimaterfelting.htm

A large Chinese manufacturer:
www.alibaba.com/product-gs/217564150/Felt_rolling_machine_.html" target="_blank">http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/217564150/Felt_rolling_machine_.html

I have no vested interest in any of these companies, and all can be found by doing a google search for "felt roller machine" or "felting machine" etc.

I hope this helps.

Cheers
Robyn


Robyn Harrison
Samsuri Alpacas
Coloured Suri Alpacas
Gympie, Queensland, Australia
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samsuri

208 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  10:03:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit samsuri's Homepage  Reply with Quote
One other tool that isn't a machine:

http://www.rod.4felts.com/tools.htm

interesting looking rollers!!

Cheers
Robyn


Robyn Harrison
Samsuri Alpacas
Coloured Suri Alpacas
Gympie, Queensland, Australia
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bburns

147 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2010 :  09:42:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Robyn,
Great references that I will need to check! Has anyone heard of or used the portable Ryobi sander for welt felting? Mada Vemi teaches people to wet felt using the Ryobi and I'm looking forward to learning more at a class at Magical Farms in April! A time saver for much lower price of approximately $100 for the set up.


Brenda
Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC Our Passion is Alpacas and their Fiber
sugarcreekalps@sbcglobal.net
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samsuri

208 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2010 :  6:43:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit samsuri's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Brenda

I read about using a sander on a felting forum...obviously a vibrating sander not a belt sander!

It does the agitation for you and reduces the time taken to felt, but it is still up to you to keep the fibre wet and ensure you cover it all evenly with the sander. I haven't tried it yet, but I have a small sander that would probably do the job... So will probably have a go next time I setup to felt.

But it sounds like it beats the amount of muscle required for normal felting!!

Cheers
Robyn


Robyn Harrison
Samsuri Alpacas
Coloured Suri Alpacas
Gympie, Queensland, Australia
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Ice Pond Farm

254 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2010 :  7:52:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ice Pond Farm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have used a Ryobi for welt felting. (It is a battery powered model - not the kind you plug into the wall.) In my self-taught experience, it saves some time initially. But it is difficult to get a uniform action, and if used too long tends to spread the felt rather than shrink it. It does come in handy at the end during final shaping and smoothing, and is also good at removing wrinkles. It would be nice to take one of the classes that uses this method.

I have also "pretreated" layers of batts with a multi-needle hand tool prior to wet felting with good results. It would be interesting to continue the wet felting process on material that has been more heavily needle felted. In addition, I tried to lay out a more random orientation of fibers in the bats. It makes a more uniform product, but takes a long time.

An example is shown at:

http://www.alpacanation.com/alpaca-products/03_viewproduct_store.asp?name=111676

I have been looking for information on how the industrial crushable felts are made. The results are pretty impressive, but there does not seem to be much public information about the process.

Jeff
Ice Pond Farm
Fiskeville, RI
www.icepondfarm.com
icepondfarm@cox.net

Edited by - Ice Pond Farm on 02/02/2010 7:54:40 PM
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bburns

147 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2010 :  9:20:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jeff,
You are right about some of the challenges with the Ryobi although there is much that I need to learn in terms of technique and it certainly saves time as I spend hours needlefelting hats. I've seen many other products made with the Ryobi so I want to give it a good try after the class.
Your hat is beautiful and the additional touches are great with the sweatband and the satin lining! How many hours does it take you to make the hat?

Thanks!

Brenda
Alpacas of Sugar Creek, LLC Our Passion is Alpacas and their Fiber
sugarcreekalps@sbcglobal.net
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