Today I dusted off a corner of the balcony and took some pictures of a handful of things to list in my etsy shop. It was mostly cloudy all day, which was rather nice for photos, though I think the cats really missed having nice warm sunny spots to flop around in.
Then after fiddling with pictures of fake pancakes for an hour I made real pancakes for dinner. Hmm, maybe I should be making more fake vegetables.
I started making felt food about a month ago. The idea was to fill up a couple of little canvas bags for my niece and nephew for Christmas... but now I can't stop. I've had other crafty endeavors over the years (beanbag frogs, cross-stitch, scarves), but for some reason I really really LOVE making felt food.
Maybe it's the feel of the felt. Maybe it's how cartoonishly-cute the finished items are. Maybe it's the thought of a delighted child playing with something I made. Whatever it is, I can't stop, so rather than be buried in a pile of felt bacon, I'm going to start listing things on Etsy.
If you'd rather make your own, here's some things I've learned along the way.
Where I get felt
Most of my felt is acrylic craft felt from Hobby Lobby. It's 5 sheets for a dollar there, they have oodles of colors, and it's often on sale for 30 or 40% off.
Michael's seems to carry the same felt with a slightly different label but the same colors.
I picked some up at Hancock Fabrics a couple of months ago and I think it was basically the same felt Hobby Lobby and Michael's carry.
Walmart carries eco-fi felt, which is made in the USA from recycled plastic bottles! Mine has a smaller selection of colors, but I understand it does come in quite a variety.
Jo-Ann carries ecospun / eco-fi felt in a wider selection of colors than Walmart has.
I haven't bought any felt online yet, but here are a couple of sites if you want to pursue that. Felt-o-rama This place has a large selection of ecospun / eco-fi colors, which you can buy by the half yard or in a bundle with one sheet of each of 28 colors.
S.A.N.E. They have the full color list (45?!?) of Kunin Rainbow Classic Felt, which is 100% eco-fi felt, sold in packs of 12 sheets.
I haven't investigated wool-blend or pure-wool felt. As my stash begins to dwindle, though, I think I'll restock with eco-fi.
I use generic thread in colors that more-or-less match the felt I'm sewing. Some people use embroidery floss, but I prefer a thinner stitch.
I stuff with polyfil. Depending on the item, I might stuff it a lot to get a firm full shape (strawberries) or lightly to avoid stretching beyond the desired shape (flat things like bread, pancakes, and cookies).
I have used my sewing machine a bit, mostly for things like cheese or bread, but most of my items are entirely hand-sewn. I enjoy stitching away while watching old episodes of Columbo or new episodes of The Office ;)
A word about patterns
The first things I made were strawberries, using a free pattern from the amazing and creative Hiromi Hughes of Felt Cuisine.
There are a few people selling patterns online, which can be a great help when you're starting out. Be aware, however, that many state explicitly that you cannot sell items made from their patterns. That's fine for folks who are only sewing for presents or for their own kids, but if you get bit by the felt food bug it's best to work out your own designs or just cut straight from the felt without a pattern.
That being said, patterns are still extremely helpful for learning the basics from which you can then develop your own zany ideas.
Felt food has become a popular craft in the last year or so. There are many beautiful photos online which you can use for inspiration.