My daughter loves little bears and loves making things too - she's made a couple of minis but she thought she'd have a go at needlefeting (she's only 11 - a bit ambitious I know!). We've bought a kit with a book - the only problem is I've never tried it before and haven' actually seen any needlefelted bears before so I don't know how they feel. So I thought it was time to ask the experts.
We've been poking at the wool for what seems like hours ............. (no pricked fingers so far!). It's gone into a ball shape and is firming up but it still feels squishy on the inside if you know what I mean. It doesn't seem to be getting any firmer now - have we done something wrong or do we just keep at it? Maybe it just takes more patience that the two of us have!
Any tips for beginners would be greatly appreciated.
It's not difficult vicky, Just time consuming.
The firmness apparently has something to do with the wool that is being felted and maybe the needle being used.
When I started I used only roving. (which is carded and combed) I havent had any problems so far. with firmness that is. Just keep at it. Mind the fingers. The best thing is if it doesnt work the first time It can always be changed. And later when you gather more skill, you can go back to past projects and fix 'em up I'm one of the addicted mob, so there is no getting any sense out of me.
Until the real pros wake up and log on I'll try to help
a. You are right-it isn't difficult-
b. It is very time consuming
c. Congrats on no poked fingers
Now here is what I do know:
1. It is time concuming, but no more so than other bearing processes
it just seems so because you are doing the same thing over and over
2. Most of us like to felt to very stiff - you may find that it gets more difficult the firmer you get your piece, it may be time to change to another needle.
cruise through the posts on here, Neysa and Judi have some posts where they talk about differnt needle sizes and shapes and what to do with them- I'll try to find them for you too.
Try to think of needle felting this way:
it's a block of marble and you are a sculpter-therefore whatever you create is your art.
I am delighted that your daughter wants to try it! I am betting with her imagination she can come up with some fantastic felties.....and they will make great little gifts for her to give friends,
also there are :
and a million other things
cruise over to Neysa's web site- she has some really interesting books full of ideas-I am hoping to pick up a couple as soon as I get the account back up
This web site has simple patterns and forms if your daughter wants to
I remember they also have patterns for things like hats and purses too
I think the only limitation is our imaginations and patience
Congrats on intering into a new and exciting needle art form
I can hardly wait to see your pictures!
Hi Vicky, Wonderful to hear your daughter is taking an interest in this art form.
You can get the felt very firm with lots of time invested. Also, if youstart with a larger needle with the barbs going higher up, called "T" needles, then you will felt the fibers deeper into your project. Then once the needle becomes more difficult to insert, you can change to a finer needle.
Another thing I have found...just by doing... is that when I want something to felt down a little faster and harder, I roll it in my hands inbetween needling. Compact it, if you will. And, when I apply pressure to an area with my fingers while inserting the needle, it seems to force the fibers together nice and firmly. This really works nicely for me. :rose:
Can't wait to see what your daughter ends up with.
Hi Matilda, Dilu and Judy
Thanks for all the tips and pointers :rose:- we have the little book that comes with the kit but it's never the same as getting some good advice! I think my little one was under the impression that it would be super quick and she have instant gratification.
Dilu there will be no stopping her once she's realised that it's not just bears that we can make - we'll have a look at those links in a minute - thank you. She has a terrific imagination so the results should be really interesting - don't hold your breath for piccies though ......... we could be some time! :whistle:
Another thing I have found...just by doing... is that when I want something to felt down a little faster and harder, I roll it in my hands inbetween needling. Compact it, if you will. And, when I apply pressure to an area with my fingers while inserting the needle, it seems to force the fibers together nice and firmly. This really works nicely for me.
I do this too....
Wow Judi- thank you for posting that- I didn't want to say anything in case it was totally against protocal. I also spray various limbs with water to assist with the posing-
After shaping and finishing i sprayed her slightly damp and then smoothed down the fuzz and turned her limbs the way I wanted and let her dry- This was the begining of summer, (where did it go?!)
Because our house is so small I dump a lot of my stuff into a baskit and forget about it-
I pulled her out and aside for her rightful indignation she looks exactly the same as she did when she dried.
I don't know if this is 'legal' or not, but it worked for me
Star needles felt faster - they have 4 sides with barbs. The lower the needle number the better to start with. Low numbers first (barbs are higher on the needle - for needling deep) Higher numbers for finishing and making your critter look smooth (higher number needles the barbs are closer to the point for shallow needling). Higher number needles such as the 40 T (T meaning 3 sides of barbs - higher number smaller holes)
Wet felting is aloud. This is what I do when I am teaching classes and making a pin (it will work to for heads, bodies... I take an egg sized peace of wool roll it around in my hands to heat it up (heat, friction, moisture - wet felting - causes the wool's natural "barbs" to open and lock together) so does working it your hands; then I place the wool egg in a piece of panty hose, pull the hose tight around the wool and knot it, I then add more "eggs". I put these in with my clothes to be washed & dried - put in the dryer too (sometimes up to 4 times). I find this cuts out about 20 minutes from my classes felting time. Getting them started faster.
Felting doesn't have to be rock hard, but I feel the firmer your project the longer it will last.
Thanks for all the tips - I must admit I was a bit confused about the different types of needles - it's much clearer now. Washing the wool in a piece of stocking sounds good - with children anything that would shorten the process has to be a plus!
I'll let you all know how we get on!