Baa-me Kniits

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Needle Felting Tutorial Part 2 The Basics

**As this is Favourite things Friday and Creative Friday I saved the tutorial until today as FELT is one of my favourite things....for links for this fun go to the end of my post.

Are you Ready???? Lets get started :-)

Lots of photos so get a cuppa and get comfy!!

My Photos are for making the basic shape by needle felting and also for adding the picture but you can start with something that is already the shape you want and embellish that if you wish. ie: a wool sweater, bag, hat, socks, anything. You are only limited by your imagination!! You MUST use a natural fibre though, synthetics will not felt.

Felting needles have a star-shaped point and a barbed or
notched shaft. They’re available in a variety of sizes ranging from
32 to 42 gauge—the higher the gauge number, the finer the needle.
A medium 36 gauge needle is perfect for your first project. Individual felting needles, however, are fairly FRAGILE. It’s not uncommon to break one or more as you learn
to gauge the amount of pressure needed. It’s a good idea to have
several on hand.

Some nice colours for drawing my picture....

As much clean and 'carded' wool (Roving/tops) as you need to make your shape. Remember the felting process shrinks the wool so use a fair bit to start and then adjust as you go.....

Place your wool/Roving/tops on your foam block. **** see below.

With your felting needle perpendicular to the table, gently
poke the roving repeatedly. Continue to poke the roving until it has begun to felt, meshing and melting together. You can add more roving to the shape to get the size you want.

You DON'T need to use much force: A gentle, repetitive poking motion is ideal, (about a gazillion times is average).


I RARELY use moisture with needle felting but you can. Adding hot, soapy water not only speeds up the felting process but also produces a smoother piece of fabric. ( I think it is a matter of personal preference here, try it and see how you like it).
Use one cup of very hot water with two to three drops of soap. You can use anything from dishwashing soap to commercial wool washes. The soap alters the pH level of the
water—which, like the hot water itself, helps the fiber cuticle open and expand and helps transform your roving into felted fabric. Thats why we rinse with vinegar after machine felting, to restore the natural PH to the wool.

****Immerse a kitchen sponge in hot water and drizzle the water onto the roving surface to dampen it. ****

My basic shape....

This is where the fun starts....lets add the colour! To cover the back of my piece I have spread out a layer of green roving just a bit bigger than my base....

Carefully turn it over....

and start needle felting the colour to the base....

additional roving, if needed,
into the base
for desired coverage.

I have jumped ahead to show you the finished back of my brooch, you can see after using different size needles that the finish is quite even and smooth.

Add some more colour and let your imagination run wild....

Reposition and tease the roving into place with the tip of the needle (or a pair of tweezers) as you work. It is just like drawing!!
As often as necessary, catch a portion of your roving with the felting needle and pull and poke it into the desired position.
In the beginning stages, if you decide you don’t like the shape
you can simply simply pull the partially felted roving free and begin again.
However there is a point of no return so check your progress frequently in the initial stages, so you can correct mistakes while that’s still possible.

During the needle-felting process, the roving fibers are pushed
down through the surface of your project with your
needle, permanently attaching the roving . If you have a fairly thin project or are appliquéing a knitted or crocheted item then look at the opposite side of your swatch: When you see some of your roving coming through on the wrong side, your work is probably sufficiently felted to be secure. At this point,
you can smooth out the surface of your design by changing to a finer gauge needle. Working with a smaller (higher gauge) needle will help refine the overall appearance.


A Rose bud brooch. I have deliberately made the finishing touches less felted than the rest of the brooch for the contrast in texture. Play around and have some fun with the different textures and shapes you can make....

HERE is a bit of trivia for you....
The felting needles used today were adapted from industrial
or commercial use. Machine-made felt fabric is used in products ranging from air filters for your car or furnace to tennis ball covers and is typically referred to as needle-punch felt. Machines that hold hundreds of thousands of needles create a sheet of solid fabric by punching the needles repeatedly through a mass of wool or synthetic material.

I hope that wasn't to overwhelming?? If you have any questions please contact me by email, I am more than happy to help out.

For a great wealth if information and some great projects have a look at the Interweave site.
Information and products on all types of felting and fulling, including needle-felting, visit interweavefelt Disclaimer....I absolve myself from all responsibility for any purchases you may make at this site :-)

Right I'm off for a cuppa and to put my feet up....

Have a great weekend,

Jen xx


  1. Jenni! you are just so clever! that is the cutest tiniest prettiest rose brooch ever! great stuff!

  2. Love it, how sweet. It's on my list of things I want to do one day.

  3. I just got myself a needle felting machine, haven't had much of a play but might have to get it out soon now that I have looked at your tutorial kinda have a few to many things going at the moment though.

  4. ive never seen this done before so wow, i will try it, thanks for sharing and great photos

  5. Wow I love the brooch, it's absolutely gorgeous, and the detail is incredible. Thanks for the tutorial, I am definitely going to try it in the not too distant future.
    I have just thought of something else I can poke with those needles. A clue, starts with b and ends with oo ! mwah ha ha

  6. Lovely broach! Needle felting looks very intersting, but I don't think I have the patience for it.

  7. What a great tutorial! Felting must be in the air because that's what my post was about too.

    Thank you for sharing detailed photos and instructions.


  8. Wow! What an amazing process you've shared. How long does it take you to complete one project? It looks like fun! Thanks for sharing. Happy FTF!

  9. That is amazing! I have to admit I'm having trouble getting my head around how the whole process works. The end result is just AMAZING!!!!

  10. I've always wondered how this worked, thanks so much for the details. Its really helped me understand it.

  11. I just sent this link to my Mum. You're so talented Jenni.

    This tutorial is perfect. I'm thinking even I could give this a crack. Some day ....

  12. How intriguing! I had no idea how this was done. You make it look easy, but I suspect it isn't. :-)

  13. oh wow, i've always wondered how needle felting worked. i wonder who first discovered it. very interesting indeed! now i want to have a go at making something using needle felting!! argh, the list of things to try is getting neverendingly long!

  14. THANK YOU for this. I had NO idea how it was done and it is something I shall certainly attempt at some time. Such a brilliant tutorial Jenni...........

  15. You just reminded me that I LOVE needle felting!! Thanks!

  16. Hello.

    Just found you blog through Crochet with Raymond. What a lovely clearly written blog you have. Thank you so much for the tutorial.


  17. I can't believe how much you can squeeze into such a small space.. BRILLIANT! :D ...great tutorial btw.

  18. Great post Jenni!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Must have taken you ages to put this post together for all of us!
    Well done,
    and thanks

  19. Lovely piece of work, my dear one. - both the broach and the tutorial. You have such a jolly, convivial air, and such a hearty spirit. And the words are clear and straight forward. A woman after my own heart, you are. Wanna ride up into the mountains on Sat? (Oh, why do I torture myself????)

  20. Hi Jenni,
    Great tutorial! Your needle felting is magnificent! Thanks for introducing me to your lovely blog!


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