The Art of Felting

Needle felting

Needle felting is the process of using a special needle with barbs to poke rovings made from alpaca fleece into felt to create designs or whole projects and is a wonderful way to dress up a pillow, hat or add a nice touch to crafts made for your children. This simple technique is fun and easy to learn. Alpaca fleece processed into roving is extremely soft and makes a wonderful needle felt hat all by itself.

I was first introduced to needle felting recently when I participated in the ABR Hats for Cancer. It was a lot of fun and extremely rewarding making the hats that day for our local cancer patients so I wanted to pass on this simple technique to you.

There are many patterns available at craft stores and all over the Internet. I decided to use my Pacific Coast jacket, which is 30% alpaca and 70% wool, as my first solo project.

I went to the local craft store and purchased a pen style felting tool and needle felting mat. A nice one inch thick piece of foam or a pillow works just as well. The felting mat or foam is placed beneath the area you are planning to work and prevents needle sticks to yourself and/or your furniture. There are many different styles of felting needles to accommodate beginners as well as those more advanced.

The needles are very sharp and injury can occur. Use caution at all times! Children should not needle felt without adult supervision and observation.

I didn’t have a pattern but I felt a snowman would be a good start for me since I’m not artistic at all. I placed the rovings on the jacket in position of the snowman’s head and started poking it through the material. I continued this with each section of the snowman then added a scarf and hat. During the poking process I stayed in the center of the felting mat to prevent injury and needle breakage and in no time at all, I was done!

The very nice thing about needle felting is if you make a mistake, it can be removed without you even noticing anything was there. I plan to remove the snowman from my jacket after the holidays but for my first endeavor as a needle felter, I was quite happy with my snowman!

Read about wet felting here