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Knitter's Resolution: Embellish It!

Jan 4, 2013

There are some things that just feel like winter. Making Crock Pot dinners, for example, or Kahlua and coffee. In knitting, it's alpaca yarn, Aran Sweaters, and felted items such as bags and slippers.

Felted Daypack by Joy Doss
Felted Knitted Slippers by Marcy Petrini

I love felting. It's so much fun to knit something on giant needles (that ends up looking pretty horrible, by the way!), then to pop it into the washing machine and have it come out looking wonderful!

There are a couple of different types of felting. The knit-and-wash type, and the needle-felting type. I like to use both felt knitting techniques—and you can use both on the same project, too. Knit and felt a project, and then use needle felting to embellish it. Any of the felted knits shown here could be embellished with needle felting, making them even more beautiful!

My friend Cate Prado, of Cloth Paper Scissors Today, loves needle felting as much as I do. She even has a needle felting machine. (Yes, please!) Here are some tips from her for making your needle felting embellishment really special.

1. Keep it moving. When machine needle-felting, you have to keep the fibers moving beneath the needles. If you leave the needles in one place too long, you'll create a hole (unless you want to create a hole, in which case, this is a good thing). Also, the more you felt the piece, the more the fibers will merge and the colors and textures will blend. You can also flip the piece over and machine felt from the back, which will push the bottom colors and fibers up toward the top of the piece.

2. Use a variety of fibers.
With craft felt or pre-felt as your base, play with different kinds of fibers and felting supplies. Fancy yarns, snippets of lace, and wool roving all work well. But don't pass up interesting dryer lint, snippets of batting, or trimmed threads. Dyed cheesecloth creates interesting textures, and silk is heavenly! Tip: Check the piles of old neck scarves at church bazaars and thrift shops. You can often pick up slightly damaged silk scarves for a song.

The Kokopelli Bag by Teva Durham
3. Experiment and ask, "What if?" What if I felted this white lace onto a white base? What happens if the base is a dark color? What if I twist the fibers? What if I felt from the back? (Sometimes you flip the piece over and the back looks better!). Keep samples of your experiments and make notes.

4. Embellish. Hand or machine needle-felted fibers can be beautiful, but add a few beads, some embroidery, or found objects, and you have a real work of art!

I've learned a lot about felting from Cate. So take advantage of her expertise and try some felting embellishments this winter. Put it on your Knitter's Resolution List like I did!

Happy new year,

Do you enjoy needle felting? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

Featured Products

Felted Daypack Knitting Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $4.50


This felted backpack is perfect for carrying books or a knitting project, and is fun to make!


Knitted Felted Slippers Knitting Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $3.00


Design your own footwear! This article explains the ins and outs of knitting felted slippers, and includes The Original Slipper Pattern.


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wintercola wrote
on Jan 4, 2013 11:22 AM

Please help me . I am looking for the pattern for the 2 tone bag seen on Kniting DailyTV. The bag is seen at the end of episode 911 and 912.

MaryanneD wrote
on Jan 4, 2013 8:48 AM

I've needlefelted "watercolor" pictures on pre-felt, and 3D items- birds, fish, and also Xmas ornaments such as elves and reindeer on pipe cleaner armatures, but have never knit and shrunk anything. You don't even mention wet felting, which is the FIRST felting, starting with loose fiber and forming flat felt such as rugs or shaped "vessels" such as slippers, purses or hats, to mention a few. I've made all of those. It's a lot of hard work, but the results are worth it. I enjoy needle felting for it's portability; you can do it while others knit or crochet.

Leslie Brock wrote
on Jan 4, 2013 8:38 AM

I have a needle felting machine as well....I use it all the time.  My newest thing is to needle felt bulky yarn on my jean jackets in pretty designs, such as flowers or scrolls.  It's fast & easy & really updates an old jacket that seems outdated!