Hello and welcome back to the blog! In our last post, we looked at macramé, going through some frequently asked questions about it and some of the things that macramé can be used to make. Today, we are going to do something similar to explore needle felting. I haven't done needle felting in a little while but I really love it and want to go back to it soon, so I thought that it would be a good craft to look at.
What is it?
Needle felting is a craft technique where you use a barbed needle to thicken wool roving into a stiff felt texture. In the process, you can shape it to form different ornaments and decorations in cute shapes such in the shapes of animals and people. Here is a photo of a needle felted rabbit.
What do you need?
All you need is a barbed felting needle, wool roving (light, unspun wool) and a felting mat or piece of foam to place your work on. However, you may also want to use other materials such as stencils depending on what the pattern/instructions say you need. We stock all of these apart from pieces of foam, which you can buy at Avicraft model shop next door to us. Here is a photo of some of the materials that we stock.
Is it difficult?
Personally, I don't think needle felting is too difficult as it's a repetitive action - I first learnt when I was about 10 years old. However, like with macramé, it requires a lot of patience. Also, it's important to pay close attention to ensure that you are not felting it too much or too little and making it uneven. This part can be particularly tricky!
Is it expensive?
Overall, it's very cheap in comparison to other crafts. What's more, you don't need a lot of space to do it either, so there's no need to buy an extra large table and do a major clear out before you start. However, the needles can break very easily, particularly when you are new to the craft, so it can be a little expensive at first.
Is it dangerous?
Another thing to note about needle felting is the fact the the needles have to be barbed, meaning that it is pretty sharp and painful if you accidently scratch or stab your fingers with it. Therefore, it really is important to work slowly, particularly when you first learn. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend needle felting to young children. However, you can buy leather thimbles, which you put on your thumb and index finder to protect them.
How did you learn?
I learnt how to needle felt quite a while ago through face-to-face classes. I would recommend going to a group class when the lockdown ends if you can as this is a great way to learn tricks of the trade and make like-minded friends. Alternatively, there are many kits available and video tutorials online to help you if you want to learn at home. One YouTube channel that I would recommend is Felts by Philippa. Many people, myself included, love the way she talks through instructions and enjoy the variety of videos available on her channel, including how-tos, reviews and time lapses (sped-up videos of a project being made).
Would I recommend needle felting?
I absolutely would recommend needle felting to anyone with spare time and patience as it is a very affordable craft and is simple and soothing to do. Next time, I'll be exploring sewing, both by hand and machine. But, until then, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..