Posted by: bschutzgruber | June 28, 2017

Demos… always the adventure!

Earlier this month I gave a felting demonstration as part of a Fiber Day at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad – part of the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission in Flint, Michigan. This is a one-of-a-kind collection of restored 19th century buildings, amusement rides and authentic narrow-gauge railroad showing the life and times of the post-Civil War era in Genesee County. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s many structures of historical importance in the Flint area were being destroyed. Ideas to create a farm museum and preserve buildings of historic importance merged into the concept of a rural “living village” with the sights, sounds, smells, and activities characteristic of 1860-1880.

Activities that day included spinning, sheep shearing, weaving, basket and rope making.


Often when I demonstrate felt making I wear something made from felt but knew this would not be a good idea as this time I would be working outdoors in temperatures in the low 90’sF/30’sC. Thinking about this…. I had an inspiration to remake a felt top into a felt apron.


The organizers wanted an activity so people could try their hand at felt making so I was given a good size tent for shade and work space with room for supplies and examples of what can be made from felt.


Normally I layout my wool indoors so the fibers do not blow away.  Once everything is wet and the rolling begins, being outdoors is not an issue. Luckily in there was little to no breeze in the morning so laying out the raw wool was not too difficult.  HOWEVER…. as the day went on the wind came up – strong enough that I had to secure the dress form to the tent pole with zip-ties to keep it from being blown over!

Having a breeze on a hot day makes things more pleasant for being outside BUT not for laying out the wool. Luckily I had brought along wool prefelt (wool that is lightly felted already and can be torn, shaped, or additionally felted) and used whatever was hand to keep if from being blown away until we were able to wet it down and begin rolling.

I learned something new with each group, adapting the activity throughout the day, and working outdoors certainly was an adventure.  All in all…. it was a great day!


  1. Marvelous! Isn’t it fun when people get their hands busy? The concentration and creativity just bubble up. I do puppet-making outdoors and I have a variety of weights to hold things down.

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