New England Felting Supply is celebrating their fourth year as the only retail store that caters specifically to feltmakers, although it seems they have been there forever! With so many options available online to purchase roving, few can offer in-depth personal knowledge about wool characteristics and feltmaking techniques. The staff at NEFS is trained to explain details about the feltmaking process and to help customers choose the exact wool or blend for their project.
The entire store occupies the center of a 1920’s vaudeville theater in Easthampton, Massachusetts where hundreds of colorful wools are stacked from the floor to the balcony. Many fibers are sold “general store style” where you can choose whatever amount you like from barrels and bins. Other items are pre-packaged. What’s missing from their entrance is a warning sign for those who might stock up more than needed. Taking a friend is advisable, or at least that’s what I should be doing. Ehem.
I’ve personally used their prefelts to my delight and it works like a charm. What I really appreciate about them is also the variety of colors they have available.
NEFS opened in May of 2007 when feltmaker Christine White of Massachusetts decided to divide her 7-year-old feltmaking studio business, Magpie Designs, into a separate retail store and a private art studio. White is the author of the best-selling Uniquely Felt, called “the feltmaking bible” by the Library Journal. This valuable felting book has been reviewed in Living Crafts magazine, and the clear instructions and many beautiful examples makes it a uniquely valuable reference book for beginner to advanced felter. The store has been modeled on the same principles found in the book which is to say, lots of information and plenty of examples.
NEFS has a thriving Local Wools Program where a number of wools from family farms are available for purchase year-round to help support the local economy. But perhaps the best known product lines include their premier C-1 wool (a top grade classification from Norway) which many felters agree is the best needle-felting wool available and their Short Fiber Merino Batts, which are only found at NEFS. The Short Fiber batts are a special preparation of cut merino combed out into batts (blankets) which makes the wool felt extremely fast and results in a much finer, tighter finish than merino top.
NEFS was also the first importer of merino prefelt in the United States and carries several different colors and weights of this popular material.
There is an year-round educational program too. Christine considers this to be a cornerstone of New England Felting Supply since it arose from a teaching studio. Instructors range in skill from beginning teachers who are encouraged to develop their skills during drop-in classes to the very best week-long workshops with international teachers from Canada, Finland, Turkey, England Holland, Australia and more. Instruction in many felting techniques can be found on class schedules. Visit the website to buy color cards for the 125 colors of merino combed top or any of the other product lines.
But if you can, stop by the brick and mortar store in Easthampton to experience the astonishing theater full of color! Hours are 10-5 Tuesday through Saturday. Directions are found on the website or you can send an email.
Thank you for your interest. Let us know how we can help you with felting!
This generous giveaway valued at $125 includes Uniquely Felt book with directions, plastic cup, two bars of soap, four yards of prefelt, four each 14″ squares of prefelt, one 5″x14″ prefelt, and a citrus metal can! To enter, leave a comment here by 8:00 p.m. EST Thursday March 31st, 2011. Winner will be announced on Friday.
And the winner is…