Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All About Needle Felting

I've cleared a spot in my studio to finish off some felted friends for our Halloween update, and thought about how this old craft used to be such a mystery to me... And so, with camera in hand, I snapped a couple of pics to show how this mysterious needle felting happens.

It all begins with the roving... after shearing the sheep, ambitious folks actually clean and comb the fleece into nice clean loose balls of carded wool.... dyeing opens up another whole world of fun! At that point, it can be spun into yarn OR left as you see it, with luscious colors of fun. I've been dyeing up some fun, or you may purchase it in some better yarn shops. I like the more unrefined wool that seems to be a bit curlier...

This is where the foam and the special needles come in....the foam ( they also sell a brush pad) is for padding, as you will be using those long- barbed needles to poke thru the roving The foam is your work table , and it sits on yor lap... but first of all, what shall I make? If it's a simple form, like a ball, or a pumpkin, you dont have to use a ridgid form, you just start with a small piece of roving, and begin sculpting a ball. The process takes a bit longer than I had imagined, but the original form does take awhile... small pumpkins take about 1/2 hr, if you want a nice hard pumpkin. I've seen some that were needle sculpted too quickly, adding too much roving to the original ball, and the felting is loose. As for me, I'm the kinda gal who doesn't believe in making things that wont last, thus, I sculpt away with that needle until I have a very dense-hard packed form... at this point I have changed the roving felt. see the cigar shaped forms... they have a wire form inside... they take about 2 hrs ...and then, they become an Owl...but for me to finish sculpting Ollie Owl, there is another 3-4 hrs of needle sculpting ..It's a tedious process, but well worth the time...

Well, this took longer that I had anticipated also... hope this helps to take the mystery out of needle felting...Back to work for me...


  1. My goodness! What dedication. I have thought about trying needle felting, now that bear making is getting hard on my hands, but I had no idea it took that long or that much fine moter effort.

    Hats off to you for your patience and creativity in creating such wonderful critters.

  2. I bought some wool roving a couple of years ago at a quilt show and special needles for my Bernia sewing machine. I want to try and use it on clothing, I watched a demonstration of how it was done. Back in CA looked like fun. But now that we are in MD I can't find anyone or class to sit and teach me.
    I am one of those people who learn better when I have hands on, and not by a pattern. so I guess I should dive into it on my own and try it on a shirt
    Pat I admire anyone who has as much patience to sit and do it by hand as you do. I hope to see some in person at the Hunt valley show
    Is it hard on your hands?

  3. Hi! Just found your adorable felted friends! I've done just a bit of needle felting- it does take longer than you'd think!
    I've posted a Halloween cat and some felted dogs on my blog, in case you're in the neighborhood! -Stephanie