Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Needle Felting Play Day

I learned to needle felt this weekend when I attended my first play day with the Out of the Box Fibre Artists. I learn a new technique, met some great people and best of all, I got to play!

Needle felting is very forgiving, which is something I look for in a technique (as in life!). It doesn't look like you imagined? Add more here and there, or just pull it apart.

In the morning we were introduced to the tools and materials used in needle felting. We each got two needles and a thick piece of foam to work on. We then chose materials to work on, different types of felt - synthetic, wool and other natural fabrics such linen to felt on.
My first felted piece - a little car (for a future project)
My first felted piece - a car-shaped cloud

I have a couple of ideas for some future quilting art pieces, so for my first try, I felted a car-shaped cloud. The wool roving will be perfect for making big fluffy clouds.

Of course, I just had to try my hand at making a landscape. That's why I mentioned the pulling apart! I had fun making it, and I did like some of the effects that I could do for the water, but take my word for it - it wasn't worth keeping.

After lunch I looked at what other participants were creating. Since we had been asked to bring a memento to work with, I saw many beautiful projects that incorporated jewelry of all kinds.

I knew that I wouldn't be keeping my landscape, so I made a felt piece using various felt pieces, hand-made paper, wool roving, tea-dyed cheese cloth, silk fibres, a feather pin and beads.

"The Feather" is a keeper! 
I  started by felting some wool rovings onto the cheese cloth and the grey felt. I knew that I wanted to use the hand-made paper, so I used colours that would compliment it. It's really amazing what a little bit of wool roving will do. I mixed a couple of the different colours and needle-punched them into the background.

I had brought some silk fibres that I wanted to incorporate into something. I just couched them onto the piece and added the beads. I didn't think about it at the time, but I guess that the nests go well with the feather and the airy cheesecloth.
Details of the felting on the cheese cloth with beads, silk fibres and feather
I basted the paper to the bottom felt piece, sewing the together where it wouldn't show.  I then added the side beads and felted around them so that they look like they're in a nest.

The next day at home, I looked at my landscape again, pulled it apart and then made this cute flower on a piece of linen.
Beads in a nest of wool
I had to make a flower :-)

What I learned:

  • Playing is fun and if it's done without expectations, it's not a big deal to pull a piece apart (think Lego!)
  • When I create, I try not to think too much about what I'm doing. I may start out with an idea, but then I follow my instinct since the results are often better than listening to my overthinking mind.
  • I'm going to have to do some research on how to incorporate needle felting into my landscape quilt art. I know that it'll make amazing clouds but I'll have to figure out the rest.
  • I really like the results of my needle felting play day. The one drawback to making "The Feather" is that it won't look finished until it's framed. That's one step that I can gladly do without!
  • I doubt that I will get addicted to needle felting, but it's a great technique to add to my quilting.

I've done a little bit of research. If you're interested, here is a good, very basic tutorial on needle felting: "The Basics: How to Needle Felt (or Dry Felt)"by TLC Inspirations. Here is something a little more interesting to quilters who might want to embellishing with felting "Needle Felting Embellishments and Applique" by the National Quilters Circle.

You may also want to check out Felted Skies Studios. They sell landscape kits and have tutorials on YouTube. After watching parts of their tutorials, I figured out what went wrong with my landscape.

  • I was using too much wool roving - it really doesn't have to be thick, and it's best to add more as you go along.
  • You also have to think 3D - the background like water and sky can be thinner while the elements such as trees can be thicker and lay on top of the backing.
I will probably be using needle felting on my of my next art quilt projects - so come back to see it!

I've linked this post to the following Linky parties. Check them out!
Linky Tuesday with Freemotion by the River, Let's Bee Social with Sew Fresh Quilts, Design Board Monday at Bits n' Bobs, Main Crush Monday with Cooking Up Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday with My Quilt Infatuation, Off the Wall Friday with Nina Marie, Fabric Frenzy Friday at Fort Worth Fabric Studio and Lessons Learned Linky with Quilting Mod.


  1. I love the cheesecloth idea! I had a bout of needle felting fever a few years ago but never thought of incorporating the cloth of the cheese. It adds a lot of texture. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

    1. Thanks! Yes, it was a lot of fun. I love learning new techniques and then trying to figure out how to use it within my existing art. The cheese cloth was great to work with - it does add texture and airiness.


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