I can see why needle felting is gaining popularity. It’s easy to get started, it’s fun to do, and the possibilities are just about endless. I wasn’t going to start another craft, but my pal Sarah had another one of her awesome crafting parties and I just couldn’t say no. I managed to stay under a budget of $20 for tools and supplies, which was worth it to have some fun with friends and make a couple of small gifts. I got this starter kit including a set of the special barbed needles and a foam block for $10, plus some loose wool and yarn. I also tried using a little bit of woven wool that I had gotten via freecycle a while back.
At the party, I made this little sheep (with string to be a Christmas tree ornament), and later at home I made the hedgehog.
Not fantastic by any means, but decent first tries I think. The picture is not very good; sorry about that. When I gave them to my parents and my sister as gifts, they asked how I made them. I told them you take a blob of loose wool and stab it with a barbed needle over and over until the wool fibers are so tangled that it becomes a solid object. What about the eyes? Same thing, but with a tiny blob of wool, and then when it’s formed, place it onto the larger blob and stab repeatedly to attach. This site gives a good introduction and demo of how to do it. Other than that, you can just play around with it to figure out good technique, and try not to stab yourself with the sharp needle.
Check out these gnomes and veggies Sarah made! Aren’t they amazing? I love them.
Quite a few people are selling their needle felted creations online, and some of them are very impressive. I recently came across Bossy’s Feltworks through a friend (ooh, their sheep are leaps above mine), Bear Creek, and so many others on Etsy. In addition to making wool sculptures, you can use this technique to create hats, bags, you name it. And that’s just with loose wool, not even getting into what can be done with knitted wool, recycled wool sweaters, and similar materials.