Needle Felting

I though you might like to see what I have been up to while I am having a short break from weaving, drawing breath after the frantic work for the exhibition.

Needle Felt MouseI decided to have a go at Needle Felting. I bought the necessary supplies a couple of months back but have only just found the time to have a go. As those of you who have already tried it will know, the technique is surprisingly simple, you just stab at the ‘magic wool’ (usually Merino wool roving) repeatedly to felt the fibres together, but the barbed needles are very sharp and despite a foam mat to work on, with protectors on thumb and one finger I still utter the occasional ‘ouch!’ and have even drawn blood.

The mouse is very basic and only took a few hours to make, spread over two evenings. It has not ended up quite as chubby and rounded as I had intended but as I had already broken three of the specialist needles I decided to quit while I still had some needles left.

Needle felt PenguinThe needles are quite fragile and there is always a risk they will break if you are not careful. I have ordered a pack of ten needles on-line, which should be with me by the end of the week. However I wanted to try something a bit more complex straight away so I bought a pack of three from a local ‘hobbies’ store to make sure I had enough to be going on with.

The penguin is slightly more complicated as he has beak and wings to insert as well as the colour change on the body and the underside of the wings. The feet are cut from a flat sheet of bought felt, as are the mouse ears and tail. I actually managed to complete him without braking any needles and he only took me one evening so I didn’t need my extra needles! When I looked at him in daylight this morning I noticed he wasn’t very well felted in places and, as you can see in the picture, a bit too fluffy, so he required a little more ‘stabbing’.

The figures are not very big. To give you an idea of size, the mouse’s body is about 2 inches long and the penguin stands about 2.5 inches high. The instructions for these two figures came from a book called ‘Twenty to Make, Needle Felties’ by Susanna Wallis, published by Search Press. ISBN 978-84448-905-3 at £4.99 UK or $9.95 US/Canada and it seems to be an ideal beginners book.

The little figures are fun to make and don’t take very long so I am sure I will be filling future odd moments making others. Next I shall have a go at a more complicated animal with legs and more shaping required. I think this is another little hobby I could get hooked on if only I knew what to do with them once they are made!