For the holidays, I’ve designed a needle felted winter scene and several needle felted ornaments that utilize NEW FELTING TECHNIQUES!!! The first needle felted project is a winter scene…..
Needle Felting with Angelina fiber
This beautiful winter scene of three pines trees and two snow covered deer use Angelina fiber in the creation of the needle felted trees.
Angelina Fiber: This fiber comes in all different colors and can be blended with many types of textiles; when heated it bonds with the fibers creating a beautiful shiny, sparkly effect. You can find this Angelina fiber here or here. These shiny fibers are the perfect extra little something to make your felted creations festive!
Materials list: 25g. green wool, 4 felting needles, sponge (felting surface), .05 oz. green, .05 oz. white, heat bondable Angelina fiber, felting handle, 100g. poly fiber-fill stuffing (pillow stuffing), thread, iron, glue, paint brush, white glitter.
1. With sewing thread, bind poly fiber-fill stuffing into a cone shape.
Approximate Poly fiber-fill/wool breakdown:
Large Tree: 45g of poly fiber-fill/ 9g green wool
Medium Tree: 30g of poly fiber-fill/7g green wool
Small Tree: 17g.of poly fiber-fill/5g green wool
2. Cone ready to felt with green wool.
3. Felted cone (tree). Needle felting is the art of sculpting raw wool with special needles. The needles mesh the wool fibers together, creating a firm and durable form. This craft is surprisingly simple and fun!
4. Felt (poke continuously ) the wool covered cone with the Angelina fiber; it takes patience to felt the Angelina into the cone because it’s a little unruly.
5. Felt the white Angelina fiber (snow) on last.
6. After the Angelina has been felted into the pine trees set your iron to the silk setting and use an ironing cloth while ironing the Angelina fibers. Iron for only a few seconds.
7. Felted, ironed Angelina tree; the fiber changes color once it’s ironed. The finish is stiff and a little “crispy”.
Felt the trees in different shades of green for a more interesting look.
8. Paint a little glue onto the deer; sprinkle with white glitter.
Add white or silver glitter to a few deer, rabbits or other foresty friends to make the winter scene come alive 🙂 Put them on a silver platter and use them as a holiday center-piece.
I started this post by listing what I considered my accomplishments and important “stuff” that happened this last year, but decided that was boring and if you really wanted to know that, you could read several of my past posts. Reflecting back on the past year’s events, I saw a pattern that I’d like to share with you: One thing leads to another. It may not seem very profound, but when something “bad” happens, I try to figure out what “good” -if any-resulted from the event in the first place. When I closed my store almost 3 years ago, it was a big loss for me in many ways but recently I’ve started to see good things come from that 5 year store experience. The life experience, the people I met, the skills I learned and the work that I produced seem to have made a path for me that I’m now walking. You just never know what’s going to happen in life!
I’d like to wish my readers a Happy Hannukah, a Merry Christmas and a healthy and peaceful New Year! Now imagine that I’m handing you a present with a pretty bow on top, open it and you’ll see my gift to you, a needle felted gnome and his pet hedgehog tutorial:) Needle felted gnome and Hedgehog tutorial
You can find more needle felted kits on my lullubee site, the kits comes with everything you need to make the projects and detailed instructions.
Playing with your Food, is one of the needle felting projects that I’ve been working on for several months with the Craftsy website and it’s finally up and ready for registration! I’ve designed and wrote tutorials for needle felted foods, toys for children. The workshop contains step-by-step instructions and photos of how to make several different types of foods and deserts, things that I thought kids would identify with. The cool thing about this workshop is if a student has questions along the way, they can send me their questions and I’ll answer them and help them with their project.
I designed the projects at a beginner’s level and a needle felting basics section is also included. The basics of needle felting (the way I do it) are outlined and explained also with step-by-step photos and instructions.
As an imaginative toy for children, food is one of my favorites to sew and/or needle felt. Small children can use fruits and vegetables or their favorite foods to learn names, colors, shapes and counting. Older children can use the food you needle felt for them to “play market” or to “play restaurant.” With a little set-up help from an adult (providing paper bags, a basket, play plates, an apron, a pad of paper for taking restaurant orders, a table cloth or making a menu) playing market or restaurant can provide very creative situations for your children where their pretend games can also be a platform for them to learn social skills and math, using their needle felted food as tools.
Safety: Please remember that not all needle felted foods, as natural and unbreakable as they are, are appropriate for children of all ages if they contain small pieces. If you have children that put things in their mouths and you make these needle felted foods, with a sewing needle and thread sew the small parts onto the tart and cupcake or omit the small pieces (blue berries, strawberries and cherry) completely.
Note: These needle felted items will be available on my Etsy site at the end of the summer:)
Needle felting is the art of sculpting wool with special, barbed needles. Stabbing the wool over and over again meshes the wool fibers together, creating a firm, textile object. I started needle felting in 2004 to make toys, puppets and dolls; I’ve since added fine art sculpture to my repertoire. I love needle felting, it’s a versatile medium and it doesn’t take much space to needle felt or to store your wool.
The Origin of Needle Felting: Felt is typically very strong and industrial, needle felted- felt is used in a variety of ways. From the 1950’s, needle felting (needle punch) was originally used to make felt for industrial purposes, for use with musical instruments and as building materials. Industrial felt is made with large plates filled with special barbed felting needles that are mechanically moved up and down to felt wool and other materials together such as polyester or nylon. Industrial felt is used as a damper; it’s placed between car parts to damp the vibrations between panels and to prevent dirt from entering some joints.
Felt is also used on the underside of a car bra to protect the car body. Felt is used extensively for musical instruments; it is used on drum cymbal stands, it is used to wrap bass drum and timpani mallets. In pianos, piano hammers are made of wooden core, wrapped in wool felt. Industrially made felt is placed under the piano keys and it is used in accordions and as ukulele picks.
There are many uses for industrial felt in home construction such as: weather protection in roofing felt and a moisture absorbing layer for floor layouts. Recently, the clean white scraps of felt from industrial uses are ground up, colored and put in an aerosol cans and sold as spray to cover up bald spots!
In the 1980’s, David and Eleanor Stanwood bought a Sampling machine for needle punching; it’s a 12″ wide industrial loom that factories used for running small test samples. Eleanor, a wool artist, used it to inlay colored wool onto her dyed batts for a striking effect. During a quiet winter in the 1980’s David figured out that he could take a single felting needle and by hand he could use it to make shapes from loose wool. Ayala Talpai, a family friend was taught the technique one winter (they were making Christmas ornaments) and she further developed it into the single, needle felting craft technique we know today. Ms. Talpai wrote the book: The Felting Needle, from factory to fantasy.
David Stanwood’s website: http://stanwoodpiano.com
The basic tools of a needle felter are wool, a sponge used as a felting surface and felting needles. Eleanor’s website: Eleanor’s website: http://artfelts.com/history.html
Wool: Different types of sheep yield different types of wool(Merino, New Zealans, Lincoln, Romney, Drysdale, Rambouillet to name a few); there are many types of wool available, but not all of it is good for needle felting. The finer the wool, the softer it is; fine wool such as merino is used in the clothing industry and a coarse wool such as Karakul is used to make carpets. I prefer to felt with medium-coarse wool (Sheltland, Bershaft, New Zealand or wools marked short haired felting batts). These coarse wools felt quickly and easily, a fine wool (such as merino) takes much more time to felt and the needle marks are easily visible; I like to use merino wool for doll hair.
Felting Surface: I buy my sponge from industrial upholstery shops; I buy large squares and cut them into smaller square (depending on the size of the project I’m working on). I prefer to buy upholstery sponge because I can get very thick pieces; I always needle felt on a piece of sponge 2″ to 5″ thick. I find that the small, relatively thin sponge offered in craft stores for needle felting wears out very quickly and I often stab through to the table when I’m working with one of these craft sponges.
Needle felting Lingo: The farther back you go in the wool process, the more wool lingo you’ll need to understand, for example if you want to buy your wool from the source (sheep farmer) you’ll need to know what a fleece is (sheared wool directly from the sheep without any processing), what kind of wool you want (depends on what you want to do with it) and whether you want your wool carded (brushing the wool with special paddles to get out tangles and dirt). If you buy a fleece, you’ll receive the sheered wool from a sheep in one big, dirty lump of wool, you should wash it several times. See this blog post about raw fleece . Wool roving is wool that is rolled up in thin (about 5″ wide) strips and wool batting is wool that is rolled up in sheets (about 20″ wide) and is a little fluffy.
Felting Needles are the key to great needle felting; there are quite a few gauges and they all felt a little differently. Felting needles are usually three sided, with barbs on the side for meshing the wool together and super sharp. It’s a good idea to mark your needles by color coding them; dip the top of each needle into a bottle of nail polish to color the handle and make a chart of what color corresponds to which size.
Needle Felting Needle
Gauge Triangle – very fine-for surface finishing work 40 Gauge Triangle – fine-for surface finishing work 38 Gauge Star – less surface area than standard, with an extra corner of barbs, for quicker felting-for shaping a piece and attaching pieces together 38 Gauge Triangle – standard-for shaping a piece, for shaping a piece and attaching pieces together 36 Gauge Triangle – medium-for shaping a piece, pushes chunks of wool 36 Gauge Crown Tip – one barb on each corner set 1/8″ from the tip, for shallow surface work – coarse Reverse needle – pulls the wool out instead of pushing it in. This needle is good for blending colors or inserting special hair (like mohair) into a felted piece.
Needle Felting Terms
Batt: A length of pre-felt prepared commercially using a carding machine. Blending: Mixing fibers of different colours or different types together. Carders: Paddle brushes for separating wool fibers, cleaning the fiber or blending different types of colors of wool for spinning or making felt. Carders have fine wires set in leather or synthetic rubber cloth attached to a wooden base. Carding: Using carders to tease and open wool out to separate the individual fibers. Combed tops/Wool Tops: Commercially prepared fibers, combed into long loose ropes. Felt: A fabric in which wool fibers are interlocked and entangled. With the application of moisture and friction, they are transformed into a compact mass and become felt. Felting Needle: A long needle with barbs on the end. Used for hand, machine and industrial felting. The barbs on the needle hook on the fibers and interlock them with each other. Fleece: Unprocessed wool shorn from a sheep. Fulling: The process after the felt has matted and shrunk. It is rubbed on a rough surface, thrown gently and even slammed on the work surface to force the fibers to intertwine, shrink and become firmer. Inlay: Technique in felt design in which pre-felted pieces are placed on a background batt of wool fibres and the whole piece is then felted together. Merino: A breed of sheep producing fine wool that is best for making clothing from when it is felted. They are bred mainly in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa Micron: The measurement of fiber thickness. The lower the number the finer the fibre Needle felted Batts: Fine batts of carded fibres pass under a bed of barbed felting needles. As the needles pass through the fibres the lower layers are pulled up through the top layers. The continuous process produced a sheet of wool fibers that may then be wet felted. Nuno Felt: The name given to a fabric made with wool laminated to silk. The wool is laid on to the fabric and then rolled in the usual way. The fibers of the wool penetrate the silk and when the wool shrinks it gathers the silk forming beautiful decorative patterns. Pre-felt: The fibres are laid for felting but are only felted until they are matted but not yet shrunk. It is then rinsed, allowed to dry and used in a design. Rovings: A long thin rope of wool fibre which can be used for spinning or to make felt Scales: The hooks which can be see on the wool fiber under a microscope. Felt is made from the wool when these hooks interlock and tighten the fabric. Staple: The length the wool grows on the sheep. It can be long or short staple
My 2012 New Year”s resolution is to do something new with my art, to push the boundaries of needle felting and sewing. I’ve been needle felting exclusively for a few years now because I love this medium, but I miss sewing and the textures and patterns of fabric. I’ll now be experimenting with combining the art of needle felting with the art of sewing because the two mediums can compliment each other to produce stunning results. The pretty mushroom is needle felted, the base mushroom shapes are covered with cotton, silk and velvet and sewn on in a variety of ways.
For me, the costumes that I used to make in my store were the gateway to learning about fancy sewing, French sewing techniques and all the different ways you can manipulate fabric. Assembling the costume pattern pieces like a puzzle never interested me as much as how you can control the fabric and the interesting and beautiful results that can be achieved. My seamstresses and I researched Renaissance costumes and sewing techniques, the fine art of sewing ballet costumes and the secrets of constructing a garment to make it stand up, drape or bounce; this is what really fascinated me.
The top of needle felted Pretty Mushroom is adorned with red velvet, quilted on with small stitches all over the mushroom cap and covered with fresh water pearls for the mushroom polka dots.
I went into my vintage fabric stash and found some hand embroidered, cotton eyelet fabric. For special pieces, I like to use vintage fabric with elaborate hand embroidery, something I don’t have the patience to do myself. I quilted this vintage fabric onto the needle felted mushroom stem.
For this pretty mushroom, I gathered silk around the stem to make the gills (underside of the mushroom). I had a little previous experience with this technique last year when I made giant mushrooms (6 and 7 feet tall) for an Alice and Wonderland themed birthday party, you can see those mushrooms here.
In the end, I have beautiful, 100% natural mushrooms from wool, cotton, silk and pearls (Waldorf style, but an adult version) to brighten up my sofa or an empty corner.