Would you take us through the tools you use in your creative process?
Of course, the one and main real tool I use are my hands. They feel the fiber and know just what to do with it. They know how to hold it, place it and tease it apart and feel if it is the good stuff or just average.
Aside from my hands there is plastic, a pressurized water sprayer and a tiny hand held sander. The plastic is for rolling my scarves in as the rolling action makes the wool fibers interlock in the felting process. The water sprayer is to make the wool wet prior to felting, wool needs to be wet before it can be felted.
The tiny sander is not used for its' abrasive function but for the vibrations it causes, hence the old sock over the foot. It vibrates the fiber but does not sand it down to a pulp.
Dyes are a very important part of my work too, they are acid dyes and work with heat and vinegar.
I use a microfiber towel to roll in after the felt is formed. The reason I use a microfiber towel is that it wicks away the water much more efficiently than a traditional cotton terry one, added to the fact it makes the felt become more smooth. The rolling after felting causes the felt to full. Fulling is the shrinking of the wool and fulling causes it to become a very dense and virtually indestructible fabric.
Can you give us some sort of indication on the monetary outlay you've had in setting yourself up with the equipment that you have?
The only thing that cost any real money is the sander, all the other things are from prior usage and are recycled to form my tools :)
What special care and/or cleaning is required to keep your tools in optimal working order?
All I need to do is make sure everything dries in between usage. Plastic folded away while still damp can be incredibly smelly, I can tell you that from personal experience.
Do you need to wear any kind of safety equipment when creating your felt items?
Fiber is soft and fluffy, so it will not harm me. All I might do is electrocute myself one day with my sander, so if you see a lack of new scarves arriving that may well have happened.
If you could own any kind of tools that aren't related to your own craft what would they be?
Metal working has always been something I covet to learn, big smithing and small jewelry. All forms of metal draw me in .. so if I could choose I would have a huge big anvil, hammer, furnace, melting facility and a genius metalworker to teach me all the tricks of the trade.