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.
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 6-needle hand tool is wonderful for medium-size portions of a project.
The pen-shaped tool holds 3 needles. It is wonderful for fine work in small spaces.
The single, hand needles come in 3 sizes, ranging from larger (for heavier fibers) to fine (fine, detailed work)
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.