I love this time of year in my garden and my 17 year old Cordyline is flowering for the very first time. I am so thrilled and the smell is divine; like Jasmine with a hint of caramel. As plants, and the garden, are on my mind I have put together these super cool cacti; a perfect pin cushion for your felting needles and a plant that will never show any signs of temperamental behaviour, or just die for no apparent reason???
As always, I spend a lot of time during the design process, creating projects I know you will love, sharing the techniques I have learned over the last eight years, whilst carefully choosing the wool and fibres to suit the finished piece. I think I made six cacti before I was happy with the finished design. This means that you can get stuck in (if you pardon the pun) to your new projects with confidence, knowing that you have great materials and instructions to work with, every time.
If you already have all the gear then the video tutorial will be available from the 1st July so look out for a new post (next week) with the links. Pattern is also available for download on the websiteHERE
PRE-ORDER NEEDLE FELTING KIT FOR THE FIRST WEEK IN JULY
You can choose your colour, and each fibre pack makes two cacti, comes with full printed instructions, two terracotta pots and, if you are gifting it to someone, you can the add needles and mat.
JULY LIVE WORKSHOP The video tutorial will be on YouTube but I also plan to go live with this on Facebook towards the end of July so keep a look out for an email with the details.
See the full range of needle felting kits, punch needle kits, accessories and handmade items over at the WEBSITE
Meet the family. Well, some of them…
Over 40 carefully and lovingly designed needle felting kits to choose from. Each kit is a complete starter kit and so, contains everything you need including detailed instructions, lots of colour photographs, an actual size template as your size guide, quality wool (mostly British) and everything you need to complete each project. Kits are suitable for absolute beginners and advanced beginners.
No sewing. No wires. No glue. No stuffing. Open the box and get started… All you need to add is a little patience and enthusiasm!
There is an array of felting mat options out there so I have put together a video tutorial (below) showing you my favourite mats and best practice for using them. If you are using different felting techniques then you, like me, will probably use a combination of two or three; there is no one size fits every project.
I have also just invested in some Eco needle felting mats which can be used on their own, on top of your foam pad or hessian mat. They are fabulously thick 100% wool felt made here in the UK and the feedback has been great! I love mine and use it all the time now.
If you use it on top of your foam mat you will rarely, if ever need to replace your foam block. They are completely biodegradable but honestly, it will be a long time before they need replacing.
Hessian rice mats are particularly useful for needle felting pictures or any other flat felting, like big hare ears, flowers, gnome hats, wings etc. It also works brilliantly with the 7 needle multi tool which will have you powering through your flat needle felting projects.
MAKE YOUR OWN HESSIAN RICE MAT
You can easily make your own mat from a piece hessian filled with dried rice or similar. I used an old hessian shopping bag for my first one. Just make sure the weave is quite tight otherwise it won’t last long at all and always use a piece of felt on the top to protect the surface. This will easily 10 x the life of your rice mat.
1 Cut out twice the size of the area you want to work on
3 Sew up all four sides, leaving a two inch gap to fill with rice.
3 Fill with dried rice or similar
4 Sew up the gap securley
5 Slap a bit of felt on top and you are good to go!
Hope this helps and remember, there is no right or wrong choice. Much of it is personal preference and the type of needle felting project you are working on.
If you like to see it done just scroll to bottom for video tutorial!
I was a couple of years into needle felting before I tried a reverse felting needle and now I wouldn’t be without it. The special effects you can create are endless and super cool, taking your needle felting to a different level. A reverse needle does exactly what it says and instead of felting and compressing the wool it pulls the already felted wool back out, creating dramatic, or subtle effects. It adds instant character to a project and is simple and easy to use.
I love the subtle effect it created on top of the head of the head of this moon gazing hare, giving it a dreamy fuzziness.
I use two sizes of needle; 32 and 40 gauge. As with standard felting needles, the higher the number the finer the needle and the more subtle the effect.
I have used the size 32 most recently (although a size 40 would have done the job just as well), on my bee brooches to create the fuzzy body and eyebrows. I also used a contrasting white core for more effect and visibility.
When I made this brooch the eyes looked a little lost so I used the reverse needle just above the eyebrow to pull out some of the core white wool.
I repeated on the other eye then trimmed it back. As you can see, the effect is great and those eyes really pop!
I wanted to create a similar effect all over the body to create that lovely fuzzy effect. Repeatedly use the reverse needle until you have pulled all the lovely wool through then trim quite short to create a neat finish that allows the white and dark to compliment each other.
When I decided to needle felt my first pig I really wanted to create the coarse top layer you see on a lot of pigs that sits on the peachy skin. I used a Romanov wool core but any coarse dark will do; grey Jacob is perfect and one of my favourites. It created exactly the look I was aiming for using a 32 reverse needle.
There’s no limit to what you can use it on and I think the hedgehogs were crying out for a reverse felting needle makeover. I know you can get the realistic spikes but this was much more fun. I created a grey Jacob core with a brown Shetland carded top and went at it quite fiercely with a 32 reverse needle. You can watch the full hedgehog tutorial HERE
See how I have picked up the grey I pulled through plus a little of the brown. Give it a twizzle for instant spikiness and a gorgeous ‘Prickle’ of hedgehogs; yes that is the actual collective noun for a group of hedgehogs. My heart… 🦔
So, there you have it. Just a few of the cool things you can do with a reverse felting needle. Experiment on your own projects and just have some fun with it. Happy felting!
Punch needle embroidery is an amazing craft that has been given a thoroughly modern makeover. The designs are endless, a whole heap of fun and easy to make.
Punch needle embroidery is much faster than traditional embroidery and, unlike embroidery, there are no fiddly complicated stitches or tiny needles. Instead you will use a punch needle to create a series of loops and stitches, in a specific colour and pattern. It is almost impossible to get it wrong as mistakes can be quickly and easily fixed by just pulling the yarn out and starting again. You can use yarn, wool floss, cotton, even ribbon to create beautiful tapestry art in a never-ending range of designs.
To get you started with this inspiring craft I have put together a few short videos (scroll down to view) explaining the basics. I actually discovered punch needle a year or so ago and have spent the last six months creating a range of punch needle kits designed to inspire you to try it. They are 100% vegetarian and sustainable using wool only from slaughter free sheep on Ellie’s farm in North Yorkshire. She has been breeding the rare breed British Border Leicester for more than two decades now and every sheep lives out its life on the farm. She has even set up an area for the OAP’s. Visitors are welcome via prior arrangement. Learn more about the Doulton Flock over at Ellie’s website: TAKE ME TO THE SHEEP are available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts Websiteand fabulous new designs will be added over the next few months.
How To Thread A Punch Needle
This is for an adjustable needle but the process is the same or similar for most punch needles.
Preparing Your Fabric And Hoop
You can use a variety of fabrics for punch needle projects. I love 12 count Monks cloth at the moment but have lots of other fabrics I am keen to try my designs on.
Get Started With Simple Stitches
You only need to learn a few very simple stitches to create a mass of designs. Here are a few to get you started.