A lot of you seemed intrigued by the idea of using needlefelting techniques to breathe new life into old wardrobe favorites! It's really easy, the tools are cheap (very!), and best of all, needlefelting, unlike, wet felting, can be done on almost any type of fabric. (Wet felting relies on the scales that are part of wool fibers to catch hold of one another during the felting process; needlefelting uses the sharp barbs on the needles to tangle and mangle the fibers enough so that they hold together in a felty-sort of way.)
Here are five tips I discovered during my first needlefelting project that will help you get started!
Five Needlefelting Tips
1. If your foam block or brush support won't fit inside a piece you want to needlefelt, cut several household sponges to fit and layer them so they form a thick stable "block". Stuff the sponge pieces inside the object and off you go! (This is the method I used to needlefelt parts of my Spring Birdie Booties.)
2. When using bits of yarn (or other small pieces) as appliques, use a single needle to lightly "baste" the yarn into place: Punch only once or twice at intervals, stopping to check the effect as you go. This allows you to lift the yarn and re-position it until you like how it looks. Once you like what you see, needlefelt securely into place.
3. To get a more three-dimensional effect when needlefelting appliques, put one layer of yarn or fiber down, needlefelt in place, then add more layers, one at a time, needlefelting as you go, until you get the desired effect.
4. Control the texture of your applique with the amount of punching you do. The more times you punch those needles in, the more firmly packed, and the more homogenous, the result. For example, if you are using bits of yarn and want the individual strands to show in the final result, needlefelt only enough to get the yarns to stick to the background and each other. The more you punch, the less defined the individual strands will be.
5. BE CAREFUL. Needlefelting needles are incredibly sharp. Always use a foam block or needlefelting brush block (or sponges) as a base; if you are guiding the applique into place with your fingers, punch SLOWLY and deliberately and always, always be aware of where your fingers are in relation to the needles!
Important Safety Note: On Wednesday, I mentioned that I had borrowed a set of needlefelting needles from a friend. Actually, this is not a very safe thing to do--you should never share your needles, as the risk of poking yourself and possibly spreading infection is real--these are VERY sharp tools. So please craft safely, and don't share needles.
Are you going to try needlefelting this weekend? Share your crafty adventures and projects with us!
Try Needlefelting for yourself: Free Pattern!Needlefelted Wool Shoes
If you are just getting started and want a little guidance, this is a really easy needlefelting project with a great end result! The pattern gives you step-by-step instructions for designing your own custom applique, and applying the fiber to the shoes with needlefelting technques. In a couple of hours or less, you can have a one-of-a-kind pair of sneakers!
Download the Needlefelted Wool Shoes Pattern for free!
Sandi Recommends: Felt Frenzy
The wonderful needlefelted wool shoes above are an excerpt from our book Felt Frenzy: 26 Projects for All Forms of Felting, by Heather Brack and Shannon Okey.
Felt Frenzy is a great companion book to Simply Needlefelt--Felt Frenzy introduces you to all the different sorts of felting you can do, with really great instructions and fun projects. And Simply Needlefelt gives you a more in-depth look at a form of felting that can be used anywhere, anytime, with any combination of fabrics and materials.
For a limited time we have a special offer on these two great books: Buy Simply Needlefelt, and you can get Felt Frenzy for only $5! This is a great deal, and would make a wonderful gift for yourself or a crafty friend.
Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.
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