Workshops – 2016

The year-end festivities provided me with some much needed relaxation from the nutty season of winter fairs and craft shows, custom dolls and cookie baking for our clients. I have not listed 2016 workshops. There are some new ones: learn to make a ruffled felt scarf or felting with long locks. But I am also offering some well-loved repeats. If you have already done a workshop with me, you are welcome to book the same workshop again and make a project of your own with my guidance – let’s say you took the bag making workshop, you can book that workshop and this time make a bag that is more involved – with additional features. Each felting workshop is for only 4 students – this allows me to give you extra close attention and help you to realize your felting goal.

I am planning to offer some other workshops for later in the spring – dyeing, expandable felt and carved felt – if you would be interested in one of those, please drop me a line.


The latest 11 Doctor doll – made for a client in Australia in August 2015

I am currently spending time at the studio setting up my supplies into more of a store-like setting. I am planning on keeping “store hours” for a couple times a week starting in mid/late February – stay tuned for further notice. Keep your eyes open for an official opening notice that I will post.

Interested in staying in touch? “like” my facebook pages (both my Monika Aebischer and The Olive Sparrow) and add them to your favourites, subscribe here on the website and you will receive occasional updates. You can also find me on “TheOliveSparrow”.

Happy creating – I am really excited about all 2016 will bring. It will be a pleasure to teach so many of you to realize your creative dreams.

Felting Workshop Recap

Not to sound to repetitive, but due to a non-working hard drive, the one that had all my images, here is finally, finally a recap of the Felting Workshop from Loyalist college in Belleville July 12 – 15, 2012.

I had a wonderful time and the pleasure of a super-nice group of students to work with. Preparing a workshop is a lot of work, as I like to structure my workshops very tightly, through a detailed agenda and planned projects, yet also have the opportunity to adapt the materials to my students needs and skills. This was an intense 4 days with many basic felting techniques covered. 

The main learning outcome I hoped to teach my students was that they would have the confidence to pick up any wet-felting project they would like to attempt after the workshop and have enough basic felting knowledge to try it. 

I brought my extensive library of felting books to the class. The students where encouraged to sign-out the books over night and find inspirational ideas that they would like to work on for day 4.




After 3 hours of setting up the class room, I was exhausted, and so excited about the following four days of teaching. When teaching in a space away from my own studio, I often don't know exactly what set-up will await me, and there is quite a bit of improvisation in making it all work. It is exciting, as I love the challenge.


Details of my felted work samples that welcomed my students on day 1. Having taken many different workshops myself, I find it always helpful to have sample to show at the beginning of a workshop with what will be created. Although it can be fun to have a few small projects where the students simply follow the instructions step by step, and only see the outcome at the end. Though that is hard on many students – they need to know what they are making so that they understand the instructions. (not a surprise, considering that creative handwork skills workshops are generally taken by people that are visual). 


For each project we worked on in class the students got to choose a specific amount of fibre in the colours they loved. We worked with 16, 18, 21 and 24 micron merino wool, as well as mountain sheep wool which has a micron of about 28.



Our intense agenda incorporated my demonstrations of various techniques, followed by work periods for the students. One student used her video camera to tape my demos and reviewed them during the work period when she got stuck on how to proceed next. Much of felting is about sequences of different steps and taking notes is paramount in remembering what to do next.


The finished rose of one student. The roses were made with mainly 18 micron merino, and a bit of 16 micron. 


Various student works in different stages of finishing at the end of day 4. The first project had been to make a square of felt and then manipulate the felt into another object. One student made the jacket for her doll (she is an amazing doll maker, that took the workshop in the hope to learn skills to create embelishments for her creations), there was also a beautiful flower and a pouch. One of my quilter students wanted to use here square in a wall piece she was inspired to make from the felt.

Everyone made roses in a special resist dying technique and free-form flowers from prefelt.  

For the major day 4 project, two people made slipers, one a vessel, some made bags. Most projects got finished in class, but some had to be finished later at home. 




It makes my teachers heart so happy to see the collection of work created by all my busy-hard-working students.


My lovely students. Thank you all again for giving me a chance to show you what is possible with wool, soap, water and elbow grease. I also appreciated all your feed-back for future classes.

Here are some of the comments from my students in reply to what they enjoyed about the class:

"Learning felting basics and going home with real projects which I have conficence to make again."

"The creativity of Monika"

"It was very educational and would have enjoyed it more if it had been cooler" (note: there was no air conditioning at the school on Saturday and Sunday).

"Great instruction, lots of hands-on learning, great student interaction"

"Everything! The instructor is knowledgeable, talented, teaches well and kind and patient. Exploring felt with no hard rules."


If this makes you wish you had been there, I currently have time available to teach some felting workshops this fall. Please drop me a note with your e-mail address and I will send you the details.

A bit of something..

There is a new hard drive on my desk. YEAH!, finally a chance to process some images from this summer. I got up at 4 am yesterday (not as planned) and started to sort and adjust. Instead of waiting for perfection, here are the first few.

How about starting off with pictures of some of our outings, wonderfully inspirational.


First week of summer vacation we went to Black Creek Pioneer Village.



We played games of days gone bye, talked to costumed people, ate a picnic lunch and romped around all day.


Huxley also started riding lessons which culimated in his riding day camp at the end of August. The barn is in Brighton, a mere 1 1/2 hr drive away from Toronto (yikes), however, it is completelty worth it as not only do his grandparents live in town, Sensei Maryann, his riding teacher is absolutely wonderful. She has an intutitive way with teaching children, and her horses are wonderful and very, very well treated.

Silver Lake Stables


More summer to come.

I have also been busy at work preparing items for the TWS Christmas Craft Fair. 

Details here.

This week I'm making pre-felt and rolling doll heads, as well as preparing holiday-inspired felting workshops (stop back soon for details. Then there are the tomatoes that need to be put by to keep the elderberry jam, the crabapple jelly and the pickles company.




Wet Felting Workshop – Learn from me

There are now only a few spots open for the wet-felting workshop that I will be teaching at Loyalist College In Belleville, Ontario from July 12 – 15. 

Here are the details:

(Click on Image to see it larger)

To register, please sign up here

There is also a description in the Loyalist Summer Program on page 18

The cost of the workshop is only $289 (plus the material cost for all the yummy wool $75). If you need to a place to stay in Belleville, the school offers their residency for a very minimal fee of $40 (plus tax) per night. There are also many lovely B&B's in and around Belleville. 

I would love to see you at the workshop, I have 4 huge boxes of the most amazing wool coming from Europe. Some of those qualities are not otherwise available in Canada. 

Message me if you have any questions about the workshop, and you may contact Heather at Loyalist College for registration information
Heather Cockerline (613) 969-1913 ext. 2467 or Email:  

Show Pictures

The shows I did a couple of weekends ago went well. It was lovely to meet so many new people and exhibit my work. I "hired' our son to be my helper for the day on Sunday. He was amazing! I still remember when I was pregnant that I just thought that our son would come along to the shows, play quietly behind the tent, get used to the life of doing shows and start helping with little things. As I told him the day of the show, he was not that kind of a child when he was younger. Whereas I have seen the children of others be the perfect assistants and quiet companions, my son was always too active (although I did have him along at an art exhibition when he was a mere 6 weeks old and that was a wonderful experience). Now, at eight, he can help me unload the car, set-up the tent, watch the booth for a few minutes, and also, especially at a Waldorf fair, go about doing activities that he likes to do and enjoy him self too. 

Here are a few pictures of my show tent to share with you that come from far and away. 


Welcome to the lair of the Olive Sparrow (give me a shout-out in the comments if you spot the little birdy – he always travels with me). 


Fairy tote bags – sized just perfectly for children to use as their lunch bag, a carry-all to take ballet slippers to class, a toybag to bring just a few precious things along on an outing or for momma to use as a small handbag.



Playsilks – look soon in my etsy store for an update in colours and sizes.


Hats and pants for three sizes of dolls. I love seeing all the clothes laid out like this and ready to be combined with tops to every doll-mommas own tastes and desires. 


Dresses, tunics and skirts. I am already excited and inspired for the new clothes ideas in my mind.  


The doll table – with Olive Sparrow Children (11 in all, although one was hiding in this picture) – the plan is that early next week the dolls and I will go on a photo outing – there are a few lovely places I have in mind to take photographs. All in preparation to have them listed within the next 2 weeks. They are all very excited to find their future families. In this picture you can also see wet-felted flowers, hand-dyed dress-up crowns both for children and their dolls, as well as Floppy dolls, nature-table fairies and Mother Earth (from the previous post). 

Shows are a wonderful way to share my work and to inspire moms that make their own dolls for their children. I also enjoy setting up the displays and seeing the expressions in the face of children when they respond to a doll. It's always a tad sad too though, to see how some of the parents really love to get the doll for their child, yet simply can't afford it. That is also why I offer doll-making workshops. I had planned to hold one this coming weekend, but it seems that after the summer vacation will be a better time for it – summer is to be outside and enjoy the weather and time with our families – I love the coming of September and the return back to hand-work and preparing for the holiday markets. 

PS: If you would like to receive advance notice of the dolls becoming available for sale, please send me a message to: and I will add you to my early bird list.