Frequently Asked Questions:
I am brand new to needle felting. What should I do to get started?
Welcome! We are so glad you found us and hope you find everything you need at Sarafina. If you are brand new we suggest a few things: watch the How to Get Started tutorial, grab some needles and a beginner supply pack, and get stabbing. The Needle Felting Starter Kit has the basics for you to begin. You can choose from several beginner tutorials and supply packs, such as the Hedgie, Bunny Puff, Sleepy Mouse, 2D Hare, Sleepy Squirrel, Pumpkin, Spring Chick, and Ornaments. There are also some stand-alone tutorials without supply packs that are great beginner choices, like the Pocket Gnome, Hummingbird, Snail and Owl. These Mini Tutorials are well worth your time! If you place an order on our website we suggest creating a customer account (email and password) so that you can both track past orders (some day you will want to know which fibers you have gotten!) and so that you start earning Rewards Points. You can read more about the Rewards Points below. While you are waiting for your order to arrive you can watch more general technique tutorials. We have an organized list on our tutorials page. If you are on social media you may want to consider joining Sarafina Felting Fanfare on Facebook. You will connect with thousands of other needle felters who we have found to be a pretty incredible resource to each other! Happy felting!
What do the different needle gauges mean, and how are they used?
We offer 3 different gauges of felting needles:
The 36 gauge needle has a star blade, which has 4 barbed edges instead of three which increases efficiency with a better feel and less pull. The 36 gauge needle is your strongest needle and is best for felting the core of your project or can be used when you really need something to stick.
The 38 gauge needle is also a star blade, which has 4 barbed edges instead of three which increases efficiency with a better feel and less pull. The 38 gauge needle is your general-purpose needle that you can use for most of the felting work that you will do. It is also used to refill the pen tool.
The 40 gauge twist blade is the perfect needle for your finishing and detail work. The twist gives a smooth effective stab without denting your finished surfaces. This needle can be used to refill the punch tool.
My needles got mixed up. How can I tell them apart?
Probably the best way to tell your needles apart is by using them. The stronger needle (36 gauge) will feel very different than a fine needle (40 twist), and the one in between (38 gauge) will be "just right" most of the time. Sara does not mark her needles to identify which is which. However, if you are someone who likes to have the needles identified by gauge and they got all mixed up you can use the following information: The 40 gauge needle has a twisted blade. If you look at the tip of it and spin it in your fingers you will see the twist of the shaft. The 38 and 36 gauge needles look very similar. The working end of the 38 gauge needle is slightly longer than the working end of the 36 gauge. If you hold them side by side, the working end shaft of one will be a little bit longer than the other. The 38 is longer. By working end we are referring to the barbed area, before it widens as it goes to the top of the needle where you hold it. If you want to identify your needles we have seen some people use nail polish on the tip where you hold it to code their needles when they open a new packet. A permanent marker could do the same.
Which gauge wire should I use for my project?
If your project is going to be under 6 inches in length you would use the 22 gauge cloth covered wire. If it is over 6 inches you want to use 14 gauge aluminum wire. If your project will be over 12 inches you will probably want to use 12 gauge wire. If that project will stand taller than 10 inches at the shoulder you will want to use 12 gauge wire. Any time you use aluminum wire you need to also wrap it in pipe cleaners so the wool will have something to grab. The other wires gauges are used as follows:
22 gauge wire- Antlers
26 gauge wire- Tiny Fingers and Toes (person or animal)
32 gauge wire- Extra Tiny Fingers and Toes (animal)
Will Sarafina Fiber Art offer tutorials for the larger scaled projects, such as the lion head or full sized wolf?
It is exciting that people are thinking about tackling large projects. They really push you to achieve more detail and understand the possibilities with armatures; the larger the project, the more accurate the armature and more detail it needs to have to have good structure and look correct not cartoony. Sara will most likely not teach those extra large projects. Each one takes a really long time to complete and are truly one of a kind. In other words, they are not something Sara is likely to replicate over and over and therefore she does not have a method in place to teach. You can build up to larger projects. We can help you if you have any specific questions about armature structure.
If an item is out of stock when will it become available?
Our website allows you to request that you be emailed when a product is back in stock. If an item is our of stock, please be assured that Jennifer is doing everything in her power to get the items back and available for you. Unfortunately, sometimes she needs super powers!
Can I add items to an open/existing order?
We are not able to add items to an existing order without you authorizing the payment for the additional items. Shipping costs are also based on weight, and adding items affects the weight of the items and therefore the shipping cost and possibly also the method of shipment. If you place an order and realize that you need to add more items what you will need to do is place a second order. If possible, we will ship your items together. (See next question.)
Can you combine multiple orders into one shipment?
We will combine multiple orders into one shipment whenever possible. If our shipping people see that there is more than one order for someone they will send them together. However, if an order has already been packed and the shipping label has already been created (ie, the order has been processed) we are no longer able to ship items together. If a shipment contains combined orders and the customer has paid extra shipping fees we will refund when applicable. **Sometimes international customer wish to have multiple orders to offset import tax. We will not combine international orders unless requested.
What is this I hear about Fiber Fairy Fridays?
The Fiber Fairy visits on some, not all, Fridays with a special offer of some kind. Sarafina has different fiber to share with certain order specifications, it is always different and (hopefully!) fun. If you wish to participate in the future, go to our business Facebook page Sarafina Fiber Art on Facebook and "Like" it, then check in on Friday mornings for the offer. You can actually view this page even if you do not have a Facebook account! You put "FFF" in your order notes and make sure your order qualifies, and we send fiber goodies your way. Offer only good on the day of the offer. Go here for the video that fully describes and explains Fiber Fairy Friday.
What is your rewards program?
Effective as of mid-March 2016, we have a Rewards Program activated on the Sarafina Fiber Art website. You will get 1 point for every dollar you spend on the the website, and once you accumulate 100 points you will be able to redeem those points for $5 to use in the online store. **YOU MUST BE LOGGED IN TO YOUR CUSTOMER ACCOUNT FOR THESE POINTS TO ACCUMULATE. Many people check out "anonymously" meaning that they do not have a customer account. It is simple to create a customer account. You just need click "Login" and then use the New Customers link for the website to walk you through the process. You need to be sure that you are logged in every time you order for the rewards to apply. We can not apply rewards to your account, it is done automatically through the system. Your web browser "remembers" fields such as your address so it might look like you are logged in, but you may not be. You can click on My Account to check if you are logged in...if you are it will say "Welcome you your account, <your name>" **Please note that if you order and pay with any rewards points, the entire order will not accumulate rewards. This is just how the software works, we have requested a change. Please keep this in mind when you place an order for now! We hope you enjoy this program. We are excited to reward our many loyal Sarafina customers!
May I sell work created from Sarafina Tutorials?
You may sell your sculptures made following tutorials. If you have learned a specific animal from a tutorial, we ask that you give Sarafina credit in your presentation whether online in social media, a website description, Etsy, or on a tag if you are at a show. It might say something like “.. made following a tutorial by Sarafina Fiber Art.” or “Inspired by Sarafina Fiber Art.” We also would love some credit on social media. Please use the #sarafinainspired to tag your photos on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
I've seen terrible videos on the internet about animal cruelty. You all seem like animal lovers. Do you source your wool from companies that use humane practices?
We are indeed animal lovers! We are often asked specifically about the treatment of sheep and source of our wool. Our wool comes from about 6 US mills and also from small farmers. Some of the US mills import wool from NZ and Canada. We have not physically been to the wool source of each mill and can not attest to the conditions on each farm.
Shepherds, in general, are hard working families who love what they do and care for their sheep. Even on large farms, sheep are shorn efficiently with as little discomfort as possible. Some sheep breeds have been bred to create wool and if not shorn would become uncomfortable or even ill. Sara has her own sheep and goats and knows first hand that shearing is in no way traumatic to them. They relax in the hands of the shearer and seem to feel liberated after their haircut. Angora rabbit fur is another fiber that people question. All of the angora that we use is from small US rabbit owners. Some breeds are plucked and some are sheared. Sara has two that are plucked, one that is sheared. They shed or release their fur. They sit on Sara's lap and relax. It does not hurt them.
In general we have found that if you search on the internet you are likely to find overblown horrifying examples because for some reason that's what people want to see. So many of the mills that we work with are small, family owned companies and we feel that we have a good relationship with them and that they are solid companies.
Where does Sara get the little metal tags that she attaches to her sculptures? And where did she get the draft horse harness made?
We actually get asked these questions more often than some of the ones listed above. The draft horse harness was made by a company called Kulp Model Horse Store, and the little metal tags are from an Etsy shop called Mini Tags by ouzel
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