Like I Need Another Craft
June 30, 2005
So let me just get this out there: I’ve taken up needle felting. Hey–it’s a reason to buy roving without buying a spinning wheel. But I make no excuses. It’s fun. It’s therapeutic. Kind of like play-doh except it’s wool.
It started with a bad case of a peculiar disorder: Exchange Anxiety. I signed up for Back-Tack, which requires one to sew a lovely notions pouch or needle roll for an anonymous recipient. Since I don’t sew, I drove down to Philadelphia, where Cristina and her Pfaff talked me through the making of a sweet little Kaffe Fassett needle roll.
I love these exchanges, but I always fret that my gift is not special enough, that my skills and my taste are wanting, and that the recipient will be disappointed. I try to make up for this by enclosing non-handmade treats that would be welcome in any crafty, chocolate-eating household. My attitude is, if you like the handmade thingie, consider it a bonus. If you don’t, eat the candy, take a lavender-scented bath, and mellow out.
But then I started surfing around looking at other Back-tackers’ work, and I realized that chocolate was not going to be enough this time. I needed Additional Cuteness in my craft.
In an attempt to kick it up a notch–BAM!–I took up needle felting. The idea was to make a matching pincushion for the needle roll.
Famous Last Words: How hard could it be?
Cristina of the Gifted Hands was one step ahead of me. A while back, in one of her early needle felting forays, she tossed off this:
I know. What can one say? Did ya notice
…the shrinky-dink pins? I won’t even get into the little pottery bowl, into which the peach nestles perfectly. (Yeah. She made it. Happened to have it lying around when she was needle-felting the mini-Cezanne.)
Nobody can say I’m not ambitious. Cristina had sent me a little kit so I could experience needle felting for myself.
First I squished up a ball of plain wool, and started poking it into a more compact ball shape:
Then I flattened it out into a button and poked a round groove into the top.
Like a button:
It turns out that I was getting ahead of myself, because as soon as I started attaching the colored wool:
…the groove filled up and I had to poke it into shape again.
To outline the button, I used a trick I heard about last weekend from David at My Threaded Bliss in Nashville. David told me that you can use Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride to needle felt, because it is single-ply and very easy to untwist, being barely spun to begin with. This is very handy for details. I had been saving my Lamb’s Pride scraps, which was kind of nutty since they were such short bits as to be useless. I thought I was saving them simply because they were Purty and because I save stuff. So now I have a nice ziploc full of many colors of Lamb’s Pride, and I even have a use for them.
I used a 2-inch strand, split in two, to outline the button’s groove.
Then my needle broke. It just busted. I was picking up a wisp of fiber and trying to move it over half a millimeter to cover a tiny white spot, and the tip broke off.
So I ordered more felting needles.
So I can’t finish my Button Pincushion until I get my new felting needles. Since I was ordering, I ordered a triple-pointer. (Amazing how early into a new craft we start upgrading the equipment.)
While shopping for needles, I found some wonderful on-line tutorials on needle-felting.
1. how to needle felt a kind of scary doll
2. how to needle felt a ladybug
3. Here’s a link showing how scary the needles look and how to needle felt using scraps of homemade felt . Afterwards, you can felt your felted felt, this time with soap and water. (If you do that, though, you are a Felting Freak and there is no hope for you.)
4. But wait–there’s more! Here’s how to make a needle-felted bird ornament, parts One and Two. The people who put this information out there are so generous with their knowledge. The felted bird is amazing; no wonder it ended up on the White House Christmas Tree.
Git felting, Missy. It’s fun.