What’s Needle Felting All About Then?

I’ve been meaning to give needle felting a go for quite a while now but when I read Shelley’s blog over on ‘The Beauty is in the Detail’  I caught her enthusiasm and it spurred me into action.    Now, why, I hear you ask (or is that my husband), would I want to take on yet another craft when I should be wiping down the skirting boards and damp dusting the mantelpiece.  Well, which would you choose?  Anyway, following one of Shelley’s links, I bought a little starter kit.

Needle Felting

My Starter Kit

 

Ooer, those needles are barbed and it is that which matts the wool together when you stab them up and down into the wool.  They are very sharp and, apparently, very easy to break so you have to make sure that you stab in an up and down motion and not at an angle.  I assume they are all different sizes because each has a different colour splodge of paint on top but I have no information on that yet.  Also, I’m not sure what to do with the little wooden thing which, I assume, is a handle but the needles only go into it point end down so not sure how that works yet either.  O.K., O.K. , I’ve not long opened the package.  The wool that came with this little starter kit is in sort of bubble gum colours and is so soft that I had to have a cup of cocoa and a little sleep after handling it.

I  had a look on Flickr at some felting artists and immediately felt totally inadequate.  There are some incredibly talented people out there using this method to make sculptural figures and all sorts of things.

Anyway, after the briefest flirtation with the instructions I started stabbing (which I’m sure isn’t the technical term) and came up with this little heart which I know is totally underwhelming and I don’t expect a fanfare but I am chuffed that I’ve managed to transform the wool into a felted object and that it actually resembles a heart shape.

A Felted Heart

My First Attempt at Needlefelting.

I can imagine this might easily become addictive.  I need to watch some more tutorials and probably buy a book.  I would like to try something 3D next but it might be quite some time before I’m sculpting human figures!

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  1. #1 by Shelley Rodgers on January 27, 2010 - 21:29

    Ha ha!! You’ll be hooked sooner than you know it!! (Hooked – that’s almost a joke?!)

    Hope you’ve figured out the handle by now – makes it a little easier.

    Have another tip – if you cover the foam with a fine open weave fabric (like linen or tulle) it prevent the little bits of your foam getting caught up in the wool -or you could buy a special felting brush pad which you use instead of foam.

    Good Luck – can’t wait to see what you make next!

    Shelley
    x

  2. #2 by Ann on February 24, 2010 - 08:01

    I have also become addicted to needlefelting and tend to stabstabstab really fast. I started out wearing thimbles on each and every finger for protection. Then I found an etsy shop that sells special little rubber finger guards that are great. The name of the shop is flights of whimzy. They have lots of great needle felting accessories, including special foam to put the roving on rather than those little brush things sold by clover. Have fun.

    • #3 by tialys on February 24, 2010 - 10:12

      Thanks for that Ann. I have managed, miraculously, to avoid injecting myself so far but I may well check out that shop. I did get a block of foam with my starter kit but was thinking of getting a brush as I thought they were supposed to be better so it’s interesting that you prefer the foam. Perhaps I’ll stick with that as I noticed, in my local shop, those brush things are quite expensive. Do you use the multi-headed needles or a single needle? I suppose they speed things up a bit. Also, I recently bought a book which suggests using raw wool as the centre structure for any 3D sculptures. I might keep my eyes open, whilst out dog-walking, for those bits of fleece the sheep leave on the barbed wire fence! I must admit, my main problem at the moment is coming up with anything in a decent shape and knowing when to stop.

      • #4 by Ann on February 25, 2010 - 05:55

        Well, here in the suburbs of Baltimore, there are no sheep leaving tufts of wool on the fence posts. Lucky you. Yes, some of my books also suggest raw wool for the inside of the sculptures – I think they might mean cleaned, however. I am having the same problem of knowing when to stop. I think it is a matter of just getting the hang of it and finding out which looks best to you. I would love to see some of your final products. I will try to get some pics to send you of mine. I bought the digital camera, but never used it. Can’t be too hard, right. Although, jabbingjabbingjabbing the needle is so much more fun. Bye for now.
        Ann

  3. #5 by Ann on March 27, 2010 - 21:16

    How’s the needle felting? Like you, I am into so many crafts (but no husband suggesting I should be damp dusting the mantle), it has been awhile since I’ve been stabstabstabbing. But I did want to tell you about an online tutorial I found last night. It is actually in the website, beaducation.com. It is one of their free tutorials, done by a woman named Gail Crossman Moore who is a phenomenal felter. She, of course, has her own website where you can see her exquisite jewelry. But this is kind of an introductory piece on making felt beads the wet way, not needle felted. But she gives lots of good, general info about felt. If you get a chance to check it out, let me know what you think.
    Ann

  4. #6 by tialys on March 31, 2010 - 09:00

    Thanks Ann. I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting this new hobby as I’ve been busy setting up the second shop. However, I still intend to get into it. I need to source some of that raw wool as everybody seems to use it and I didn’t get any with my little starter kit I bought on ebay. Haven’t had chance to look at that online tutorial yet but I will do. I have favourited this one on etsy as the end product looks so adorable. It’s a bit pricey but I guess you would easily pay that for a class and at least you can do it in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=43428552
    I’ll let you know if I decide to go for it!!

  5. #7 by Ann on April 2, 2010 - 04:53

    You can get the roving, material which is needle feltled, on lots of shops of etsy. It comes is so many incredible colors because lots of artisians are dying it themselves. So lovely. I think that little bunny is incredibly sweet, but my advice would be to start with something more basic first. Like just making felt beads, round balls. That is what has worked for me. Happily, in the past two days I have found two inperson needle felting classes. One with that woman Gail Crosman Moore who teaches the felting tutorial on beaducation. It is a lovely beaded brooch. You can see the details for it on the Baltimore Bead Society website. Then I found one being given in a local yarn store to make a terrier puppy – more along the lines of your bunny. Finding time to do everything is hard. More so when you have two teenage girls. My only living responsibility is my dog, who has been a bit sick lately. Has vomited a few times. I’m watching it and he is getting just rice and boiled chicken for dinner. If it doesn’t clear up in a few days off to the vet we will be.

    Let me know what happens with the needle felting – it really is fun.

    Ann

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