Friday, April 2, 2010

My first needle felt

A couple of posts ago I mentioned needle felting, it's a new popular craft that has been around forever. The example I showed were not my work, I wish it was but no such luck. Well, remember my large box of mohair? I purchased a pound of milled fleece from the same Etsy seller, I think she cares about her sheep and her prices are right. I choose the color shown above because I thought it would be the most used color, if you think in terms of teddy bears, horses, dogs, cats, etc. Of course white would be nice so I can dye it but this stuff is touchy, getting it wet could prematurely felt it.

Anyway, the seller labeled my wool as Finnish Landrace. I looked it up and found this is a old breed from Finnish, it has a silky outside coat and it felts well. An Etsy seller of Finnsheep wool yarn actually listed this breed as endangered in Finland, the babies are born black with a grey face and a purple tongue. Awwww.

I hunted around on YouTube to find the first thing to do when learning how to needle felt, amazingly enough it's comprised of just a few shapes, sculpturing is your imagination.
The first and start of a lot of characters is a ball. Simple enough but I must say, it's very hard to gauge the finished size. The more you poke the felt the tighter/smaller it gets. I thought a jointed teddy would be easy to do. Ha! I had a good belly start.

The second shape is a flange, it's a ball needle felted on one end whilst the other end is left loosely to be felted on another part.

Such as a teddy face...Wa-laaa. When creating a fold you felt in a straight line, when doing a fold with a finished fold the line and felt on the folded line. Did that make sense? Any way, I straight felted the teddy's neck and eased up for a nose.

Now the ears are probably what I could of done differently, yes differently. It wasn't easy to felt a small ball while holding it on top of the bears head. I found myself constantly picking the bear up and felting down the top of the head....very close to my fingers. This might take some getting used to, next project will be a bit l-a-r-g-e-r.

But I plodded on, the whole thing took about 1 hour and 1/2. I'm sure it can be done quicker but being a beginner, I feel pretty good about that time. I realized that the arms were going to be a slight problem, and they were. The arms were to tiny for me to feel comfortable so I anchored them with a darning needle. The block below the felting is a tight Styrofoam and it works well for punching.

Needle felting is created when the fibers of the wool are mixed and pulled, the more you poke the firmer the article becomes. My wool had already been process and carded so most of the fibers are one way, it's advisable to pull pieces when felting and not cut. If you can't pull the wool apart, your hands are placed to close together trying to tear the same fibers.
I must say, as I was felting the idea of just mixing fibers by pulling and poking went against everything I know and love about wool, seemed bizarre to me a few though.

YouTube explained the difference in the needles, some are work needles, some are hole makers, and some are multi tooled by having many needles in one punch. Also, the barbs are different, you can have a needle with a "T" shaped barb or maybe a "STAR" shaped. What the Internet indicated is that the star shaped, #38 is best.

I also learned you can felt in wool, silk, etc. yarns or threads. Isn't the heart so cute! Using my invisible thread I jointed my bear together, it ended up being 3 and 1/2'' tall, quite a small teddy bear.

Okay, so maybe it's a wee mouse. C&G Design

Words and photos by Dawn,

C&G Design.


tina said...

It's cute. You explained the process well but I still really don't get it:(

Debbie said...

Dawn...that is just the cutest little teddy bear I think I have ever seen!! NICE JOB!! You know....many of my friends do this and i have only seen the end results of it. Thanks for showing us the tutorial! I willl have to try it sometime. Wait until I show you what I got for free from a friend yesterday! Will try and post tomorrow about it!

Kathleen said...

This is not something I would try...I just don't understand it at all. I love the bear....just too adorable. You are so brave to try things you have never done. You just amaze me. Hugs, Kathleen

Jean said...

OMG, it is just the cutest and is just perfect for the new baby (name unknown for now). Amazing little teddy for the first try. I could never do it as you lost me way back in the beginning.

Protector of Vintage said...

How cute!! I doubt I could master that craft. Happy Easter.

Lola said...

That's the cutest little bear. I'm like Jean you lost me way back. But thanks for the lesson.

Skeeter said...

This looks like tedious work but as always, you make it seem so easy with your finished product!