More Needle Felting… Yea!

First, it is necessary to clarify that the techniques we have been playing with  is a DRY wool felting method.  There is another type of art done with wool roving that many artists are doing, which is done wet.  The dry felting is the act of punching wool roving into a base layer with barbed needles to mesh and interlock the fibers.

Since writing the previous article about needle felting, a couple of us have been experimenting with our needle felting machines. It has come to light that the machine is not the only tool necessary for a successful project.  We have added the 6-needle hand tool, 3-needle pen-style tool,  and individual needles.

This is the machine I use. It was not expensive, as the mechanics are simple. It does not carry thread or bobbin, and is very light-weight



Our study shows the machine is fabulous for creating quick backgrounds, but more control  is necessary for fine details. The different tools allow different kinds of control.



The needle housing in this particular model machine holds from 1 to 12 needles. It comes with a clear plastic guard around the needles, but I removed mine for better vision while working.


The 6-needle hand tool is wonderful for medium-size portions of a project.

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This tool is comfortable to use. The clear plastic guard is spring-loaded and moved up and down while punching fiber into the base.


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You can see the needles are protected by a spring-loaded guard. I have the guard pulled back to expose the needles for you to see in this picture.


The pen-shaped tool holds 3 needles. It is wonderful for fine work in small spaces.

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This fine-work tool is also comfortable to use and helps to capture fibers within smaller spaced.



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The single, hand needles come in 3 sizes, ranging from larger (for heavier fibers) to fine (fine, detailed work)

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I ordered 99 needles, 33 of each size. They do break, so it’s good to have spares on hand.
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Although the single needle is not as comfortable as the other tools, it gives the opportunity to work in greater detail, such as the eyes on the whale, fine lines, and dots.



 “Humpback n Moonlight” was needle felted with both the felting machine, the 3-needle tool, and single needle.



Here is a piece, entitled “Janet’s Garden”  for which I used the 6-needle tool and a single needle.  The finished size is 8″ x 10″.


Since one of the first questions of most viewers is, “How long did this take you to make?”, let me fill you in.  The whale piece was needle felted in an afternoon while my grandson and I were playing with the wool  roving.  The quilting is minimal, and only took an hour to finish the layering, quilting and edge-finish detail.  This was a very quick project.

Conversely,  this is not the case with “Janet’s Garden”.  There is much more detail, requiring a lot of single-needle work.  Although both pieces are the same size (not including the wool border of the whale), I worked on the garden for about 3 weeks, or approximately 70 hours in actual working time.

We are still having fun experimenting with the wool and wool roving.  Cathie is using materials besides wool roving to create her images, such as other fabrics and hand-dyed cheese cloth.

Fun. Fun. Fun.  We hope you will step out of any comfort level and try this technique.