Lately I’ve been really into needle felting. This craft was invented pretty recently — in the 1980s — by David and Eleanor Stanwood. They realized the needle-like tools that factories used to mass produce big sheets of felt could be used by hand to make nifty little sculptures, and to decorate other fabrics.
Each stab of the needle catches a few fibers and tangles them into the body of your sculpture. It can be a time-consuming process, and if you’re not paying attention you can even draw blood. But there’s something really therapeutic about stabbing your creation a hundred million times, and the finished result is SOOO worth it. Here’s the first thing I ever made -
It turns out this dragon was way beyond a beginner project, but fortunately I didn’t know that at the time. I just plunged in and kept on stabbing, until I had something I liked. (You probably won’t be surprised to know it took a while.) Since then I’ve made a bunch of easier projects, but they’ve all been stolen by friends before I could get a proper picture.
The material you use to make felt is called roving, and it’s basically dyed and carded wool that hasn’t been spun into yarn yet. You can also make designs with roving on an existing sheet of felt, then cut them out and sew them onto your clothes like patches. And if you’re decorating certain fabrics, sometimes you can just felt directly onto them.
If this medium is intriguing to you, the library has a ton of books that can teach you more. Here are a couple of my favorites -
Easy Needle Felting by Nancy Hoerner
Wool Pets by Laurie Sharp
Wool Toys & Friends by Laurie Sharp
I’m also super excited to tell you that I’m planning a needle felting class or two for the library. As soon as I have dates and locations, I’ll let you know!