Once you learn some basic techniques, the process of needle felting is very easy. You are just poking at fibers to get them to tangle up and create a solid mass. To get started you basically need just 3 things; Wool, needles, and a cushion or foam pad to work on.
Felting Needles; Felting needles have little barbs on the end that help tangle the fibers. They come in many different sizes; the higher the number the smaller the gauge. Depending on what you are trying to do will decide which needle size is most appropriate to use.As you poke your needle into the fiber and pull it out, the barbs grab on to the fiber. The fibers become intertwined and this is the process of creating felt.
Fibers: Different fibers will give you different results. The most common fiber to use for felting is wool. Other fibers can be used but should be tested for their durability in the felting process. The easiest preparation of wool of wool to use for flat or 2-D felting are carded batts. These batts are generally shorter fibers and allow you to use small bits of wool at a time. This makes it really nice for blending fibers. Rovings are another type of fiber preparation that involves coming the fibers into a straight line. They are generally longer fibers and do not work as well with this type of felting, although they do have certain applications.
Work Sufrace: The best type of work suface that I have found for my two-dimensional work is a dense foam pad. The foam should be stiff but not too hard. This surface provides you a place to allow the needle to go in and out of while poking the fibers. Care has to be taken to not felt the fibers into the foam. This can happen if you don’t periodically lift your work off the surface during felting.
There you have it! Decide on your pattern, lay down your fibers and start poking with the needle. It really is an easy and forgiving craft!
The needle-felting machine. You saw it and you just had to have it! Now it is home and you are staring at it in the box. What to do?? Should I open it? If I do then I will have to try and use it…but I am scared!!! It looked so easy at the demonstration. I saw all the cool things you could do with it.
But now here it is and I am afraid to open the box.
Does this sound familiar? You saw the cool fabric that was being made and you had so many ideas.
You saw how you could use your scraps of leftover fiber, fabric, ribbons, yarn & more. I don’t want to break any needles but I want to try!
Don’t be afraid! Take it out of the box.
Get a scrap piece of muslin or felt as your base. Lay out some fine wisps of roving on the base. Put it under the needles and here you go! It’s like machine quilting in a way. You run the machine faster then you are moving the piece. I usually put the pedal all the way down and then move my piece slower. If you move too fast and change directions quickly you will break needles. So do be careful.
Over the past several months I have done multiple wool paintings. These were wet felted and are in need of being finished. Finishing means putting in some machine stitching, hand stitching, extra needle felting or other embellishments to add extra texture and depth to a painting.
One of my favorite artist in this media is Moy Mackay
Her work is absolutely stunning and so inspirational.
These paintings have all been made using wool and other fibers. She creates such detail and texture in her pieces.
I just received her latest book The Art of Moy Mackay I have her previous 2 books and they were awesome but I am blown away by the detailed information in this book. I can’t wait to get into it and pick up ideas to finish my pieces and create some new ones! 🙂