Needle felting has surged in popularity with our clients, and supplies are going like hotcakes!
Dry vs. Wet Felting
Needle felting, also known as dry felting, uses a barbed needle to agitate fibers until they tangle and snag into a permanent bond. Wet felting, like the name implies, requires plenty of water. Fibers are wet, soaped, and scrubbed together to bond them into fabric.
Wool is commonly used for both types of felting because the scales on the individual hairs interlock to form a strong bond. Both methods create permanently bonded results; neither process is reversible. Roving is fiber that has been combed so the fibers lie in one direction. Choosing all-wool roving or a blend with a high percentage of wool content makes the felting process quicker, firmer, and more likely to create permanent tangles.
5 Reasons to Love Needle Felting
Ultimate artistic control
While manipulating the felting needle, the crafter has precise control of the results. Changing color, shapes and lines, or adding supplemental fibers and details are accomplished in the basic technique.
Felted projects embrace crafting versatility! Felters keep twisting that needle across a range of options that include:
- Complexity – from the level of a simple child’s craft to painstakingly detailed productions,
- Size – ranging from projects like the tiniest flower petals to massive art installations, and
- Dimension – the same technique creates flat or 3D creations.
Equipment is minimal and fiber supplies abound!
A felting needle and handful of wool can fit into small bags. Crafters can stow a project in a purse, backpack or tote to easily bring projects on-the-road, in waiting rooms, to craft-group gatherings and more!
The tactile enjoyment of handling the fiber, seeing colors build, relaxing with the simple yet productive technique, taking pride in the growing project, expressing creativity, and experiencing the joy of finishing a beautiful handmade product. These are the reasons we love fiber crafts!
- Choose your project
Let your imagination run wild! Felted products can be appreciated by individual from fashionistas to children, from decorators to art aficionados. Three good places to get started are:
- Ashford kit for beginning felters available at the store or online. The kit includes an instruction book, a selection of fiber in 15 colors, needles and a foam block.
- Ashford Book of Needle Felting. This is the same book included in the Ashford kit, above, and can also be picked up at the store or online.
- Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts Blog is a good online resource with information, instructions, ideas, and project details for all skill levels
2. Acquire your needle
Beginners can pick up a student kit containing three needles and a handle to get going with only a small investment. Foam blocks are helpful for protecting fingers and tabletops as the needle is pushed straight through the fiber into the foam. Dedicated enthusiasts can choose wooden felting punches to mount their needles and store loose needles in the handle. You may also be interested in a small, sturdy, all-weather tote bag that’s sized just right for felting projects. All this equipment and more may be obtained at the store or online.
3. Select the fiber
Choosing fiber is one of our team’s favorite activities, especially viewing the store’s rainbow selection of beautiful roving. In-person visits to consider the fibers tells us more about the colors and textures than shopping online even though our roving is available in both places. The image on the right is a hand painted merino wool from Malabrigo.
Our selection of roving includes undyed wools in natural creams, grays, and brown shades as well as a rainbow of colorful fiber. We carry a luscious handpainted merino and silk blend from Abstract Fiber. Less suitable for beginners because the silk is more difficult to interlock than the pure wools, the Abstract Fiber roving is a gorgeous choice for intermediate felters.
Small 7-oz bundles of individual colors are available as well as sample packs of six colors are also available.
Grab a friend and felt!
There’s nothing like crafting with a friend for sharing ideas, trying techniques, and inspiring creativity. Grab a friend and come explore felting!