Saturday, March 24, 2007

Needle Felting for Newbies

There are some previous picts of what I have done with needle felting in this blog. I literally started doing it about 2 weeks ago. I had never heard of it before. I have just been playing. I have created a few finished things with it but cannot show you yet. I am submitting them to magazines and cannot put them up on the internet. Glenda Bailey has created some great needle felted postcards:

So far, the only thing unsettling to me is the thickness of the felting and the ends that stick out the backside from me doing all the poking. I have not poked myself yet. I am not that lucky. It is a matter of time.

I can share with you what I have learned so far. There is not a lot out there about needle felting for artists like me. There are a lot of sites for cute bears and stuff like that. Let me know if there is a good site or Yahoo group that does mixed media/art needle felting.

There are a few books about needle felting out there. So far, I have found one that is remotely relative to the kind of art that I do. It is called, Fast, Fun, and Easy Needle Felting by Lynne Ferris. This is definitely a beginner's book. It has a journal cover in there, some other stuff, flat stuff that you can incorporate into a textile piece or use to create a postcard. There are a few crafty things in it that I will never make - like a hat. It does tell you how to do the basic needle felting.

I use the Clover needle felting tool and the large mat. I also have some individual needles from some very kind Art Technique art friends. I use those for borders and for doing very small spots. I use the Clover needle felting tool to do most of my stuff. I use their mat because I heard from someone that this mat is easier. You can use a thick piece of foam but that sometimes small pieces of foam can get stuck in your piece. This will show you a pict of it. I got mine from Hobby Lobby when they had it on sale for 40% off. I think they also have it at Joann's. Use that coupon.

I did buy a little of the wool roving from Hobby Lobby. I do NOT recommend that you use that. It is harder to separate and does not blend as well as other wool roving that I have used. You will notice the first time you use it. The cheap stuff will not tear off, you need to cut it off. It will also only spread out so far.

There are several places where you can get wool roving: eBay,,, and I have an art friend who sells it. Email me privately if you want buy some wool roving from my art friend. I will pass along your email to her. I have also incorporated some fibers into my needle felting. It looks great!

So, you need to have a needle felting needle or Clover needle tool, mat or piece of thick foam, piece of felt background or fabric (I have only used felt so far), wool roving, and some fun fibers.
I do this mostly while watching TV. I get stuck watching cartoons with my kids a lot - quality time with the kids. I can only stand so much Pokemon or Josh & Drake. A couple things that I have learned about needle felting, the felting surface is kinda small. You can only do it on the mat surface or your foam surface. Do not go over the edge or you can ruin the needles. You can also poke yourself and there are barbs on the ends of these needles. You also poke up and down vertically. Do not do it on an angle. I put down a piece of felt on top of the mat. I find the colors that I want the base. I usually use an earth tone. I actually have small wads of different colors lined up alongside my couch so I can just grab the colors that I want. What I do is stretch out a small piece of roving going in one direction. I take another piece and stretch it out going in another direction. I might have a 3rd layer at a diagonal. I then start stabbing. You will definitely know when it is working. It is a lot less fuzzy and looks more like thick fabric. I stabbed too much the first time I did it. While I am stabbing, I add small pieces of different colors in different spots for contrast. I fold in the pieces that stick out from my edge. Since the surface is kinda small, some of my wool will stick out and I will just stab a part of it, move my felt over to the next section, and then continue poking that leftover section of wool. I just keep poking, adding wool, and moving my felt piece until I feel that I am done. You can use a piece of fiber as a the border or frame. I just cut small sections and add it randomly to my piece.

Do not worry if your piece does not look spectacular when you are done. It is like serendipity squares. You will probably cut it up anyway. I do. I cut up sections slightly larger than what I need. I get out my sewing machine and do the edges. I also do random stitches. This is where I add some metal embellishments or found objects. It is very easy to add eyelets with the crop-a-dile. I have used my needle felting as background for ATPs. You could easily add pieces of fabric or fibers to finish your piece - just sew it on.

You can also do the pipe cleaner thing where you roll fiber around it to get a really cool fiber wire. Glue the ends down. Since I am on this tangent right now, I am not the only artist that does not have pipe cleaners. I got this idea from my art buds. When they first saw it, they did not have any either and had to go out and buy some! Try it, it is a very cool and fun thing.

So, if you try this, then you will need to let me know what it looks like. Also, let me know if you find out something fun and new to do with this or if there are any relevant Yahoo groups. No, I am not going to start a mixed media needle felting group. I don't know enough about it to even pretend to know what I am doing. So, don't ask me to do it!

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