Needle Felting With And Without Wire

I am often asked if wire is needed for needle felting, and the short answer is no. In fact I rarely use a full wire armature because I like a firm felt. However, using wire in specific areas can really help you create the shape you need, and create more detail and dimension.

Use it in the neck of a sheep so you can pose the head, or the horns and tail of an animal to create great shapes. If you want super thin legs or arms then wire is a great solution. Alternatively, make limbs around a BBQ skewer (the ‘farmers friend’ of needle felting), to create smooth legs and perfect symmetry in super fast time.

Watch the video tutorial, at the bottom of the post, from our Friday night felt along on the FACEBOOK GROUP, or follow the mini tutorial below, and you will be amazed at how professional the finished result is, even if you have never needle felted before!

Happy Felting!

QUICK TUTORIAL (scroll to bottom for video tutorial)

Make Time: Super fast! Approximately 20 minutes for both legs plus faffing time…

Materials:

  • Long lengths of wool top or carded wool.
  • Wooden BBQ Skewer.
  • Medium felting needle; 38 or 36 works well. Too fine a needle can break easily.
  • Soft base to work on.
  • A cuppa always helps.

The needle felting kit and pattern are available via the links below and you can join the new FACEBOOK GROUP HERE

PARSLEY HARE NEEDLE FELTING KIT or PATTERN DOWNLOAD AND PRINTABLE

LOOK, NO WIRE? Making Perfect Legs Around A Wooden BBQ Skewer

As I mentioned, if string is a ‘farmers friend’ then a wooden BBQ skewer is most definitely a ‘felters friend’. Never be without one as it will change the way you needle felt, drastically reducing the chore of hours spent smoothing and shaping.

This is super easy, but technique is important and you may have a couple of false starts as the legs need to be kept tight and narrow, but that’s ok. Just unravel and start again. When finished they will be firm and smooth and the last couple of centimetres will be built up for the feet/paws. TOP TIP: Remember to keep the top of the legs very loose as they will be attached to the body and should look like they are part of the finished project, not just stuck on.

Let’s get going!

1 Select a length of carded wool or wool top/roving and split down the middle. This means that both legs will use equal amounts of wool and sizes will be more or less the same.

2 Start to wrap the wool tightly around the skewer, starting close to the top of the stick. TOP TIP: Keep the wool flat between your thumb and finger so the wool doesn’t twist and become lumpy and uneven.

3 Keeping the wool tight, continue for a little way then stop and felt around the entire area to secure. TOP TIP: Work at a diagonal angle around the sides of the stick keeping hold of the wool so it doesn’t become loose. If it does, unwrap and start again. This will also avoid bending or breaking the needle.

4 Continue with the process until the leg is approximately two thirds of its final length (you will see why when you remove it from the skewer) and add more wool to the foot to widen it. Continue to felt and shape the foot until it is firm. TOP TIP: A foot/paw that is significantly bigger than the rest of the leg will have more impact when your project is finished.

5 Remove from the stick and felt a little more but avoid the top of the leg as this needs to be kept loose for attaching to the body. TO TIP: Don’t worry if the shape is not perfect as you are going to fix that in a moment.

6 You are now going to roll the leg firmly in your hands to firm and smooth it, which will also lengthen it. When you do this keep the top of the leg sticking out, so the wool remains loose. In just a few seconds of firm rolling you will see how the leg has really firmed up and become even smoother without the need for any wires. TOP TIP: Don’t over roll it as it will become longer than needed.

Here’s what some of the fabulous Facebook group have been making and it’s a great technique that can be adapted to almost any project.

I was blown away by the quality, personality and individual styles of the projects from the FACEBOOK GROUP members and the feedback has been so good!

VIDEO TUTORIAL – Felt along with me!

Improve Your Needle Felting Techniques

Parsley hare is one of my favourite hare designs and, with a touch of whimsy and a dash of folk art, you can’t fail to be charmed by him. This is such a great project that is perfect if you want to build on your existing needle felting skills. It’s a project that requires some previous experience of needle felting and assumes you have completed at least two beginners needle felting projects.

The ‘Magic’ Tool

Everything is made around a wooden skewer (apart from the ears) and is the tool that no self respecting needle felter should be without. If you haven’t used one before it is a complete needle felting revelation and you will wonder how you ever managed without one. It is also a great way to make perfect needle felted balls and acorn shapes in just three minutes.

Banish Saggy Legs Forever

Using the wooden BBQ skewer negates the need for using wire but still ensures that you have really firm body parts.

Create A Perfect Finish

Using this technique also allows you to get great symmetry, with ease, and a beautifully smooth finish. You can also create a perfectly shaped head every time, no lumps or bumps.

The Wool

Use a good coarse wool top or, as I have done with mine, use carded wool in long lengths.

Materials List:

  • Coarse brown wool top or long carded lengths
  • White accent wool
  • 1 Felting needle – size 38 is a good all rounder
  • 1 Wooden skewer
  • 2 Beads for eyes
  • Lace ruffle
  • Felting mat

The needle felting kit, wool and accessories can be found on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts WEBSITE and the kit comes with everything you need including the lovely antique style ruffle.

Video Tutorials

Below are five step by step, easy to follow video tutorials. If you prefer to work with written instructions the pattern is also available for instant download HERE

Happy Felting!

Video Introduction

 

Video 1 – Body And Head

Video 2 – Legs

Video 3 – Ears

Video 4 – Putting It Together

Sewing Eyes Onto Your Needle Felted Animal

In just five minutes and four easy steps!

Needle felted eyes look great but I also love the sparkle and shine you get from a glass bead. I always find it funny that, when some of my students have spent hours creating their needle felted animal, they say they find sewing on the eyes the hardest part. I think it is because they seem a little bit fiddly but here is a quick way of doing it, in five minutes and four easy steps.

1 Use black thread and needle and sew through the side of the face – where your eyes will sit – and repeat a few times until your thread is secure.

2 Pop your bead onto the tip of your needle and pull it through.

3 Push your needle back through to the other side and pop on your second bead.

4 Repeat the process a few times until you can pull quite firmly on your thread, and both beads are secure. Finish by sewing through the back of the head a and cut the thread.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE BEGINNERS TUTORIALS

CLICK FOR NEEDLE FELTING KITS

Shows how to sew eyes onto needle felted animals

Beads can be used for all your needle felted animals.

CLICK FOR VIDEO TUTORIALS

HAPPY FELTING!

Needle Felted Mushrooms With Core Wool

This tutorial uses the super easy, soft sculpture technique style of needle felting. Once you have tried it you will fall in love with its simplicity and versatility. If you want to go straight to the mushroom tutorial click below, if you want to learn a little more before you start then read on.

TAKE ME STRAIGHT TO MUSHROOM TUTORIAL

Types Of Needle Felting

There are so many wool options for needle felting that it can make the room spin but really, needle felting mostly falls into just three categories. Yes, there are more but these are the most commonly used, and all you need to be familiar with when you are just starting out.

1 Flat felting: Pictures, brooches and, in my case, really big bunny ears

Flat felting: Needle Felted Picture

2 Firm sculpture: I like to use the coarse British wool tops/roving for this style.

Firm felting: Needle felted hares with flat felted ears

3 Soft sculpture (it’s really squidgy): Uses wool batting sheets (wool that has been carded into short fibres) and core wool, which is essentially stuffing and is what you wrap your batting sheet around.

Soft needle felted sculpture: it’s really squidgy

Creating needle felted soft sculpture is so easy and there is no end to what you can create; pumpkins are my favourite and there’s a video for that too. All you need is some wool batting, core wool, a felting base (foam pad or hessian mat) or a needle felting kit.

What Is Core Wool?

I just want to quickly talk about core wool as it often causes confusion. Core wool, for soft sculpture, is like toy stuffing and you wrap the batting sheet around it. It is made up of uneven, short fibres and is a little bit lumpy; perfect for our project. It is usually the ‘scraps’ of wool that can’t be used for firm felting or spinning, is cheaper than wool tops/roving and is mostly white or grey.

Five minute tutorial Here’s a quick guide to making a mushroom cap with core wool at the centre. This only takes around five minutes or you can watch the video tutorial which also works alongside the, ‘Shroom With A View’ needle felting kit.

1 Scrunch the core wool firmly into the shape of a bread roll and hold the centre to keep in place. Use your felting needle in a straight in and out motion (around the sides) to secure the shape. TIP: It doesn’t matter if the shape is uneven or untidy because the whole piece will soon be covered. Continue turning and felting the whole piece for a few minutes until you have your rough shape and size; it will be really squidgy, quite loose and won’t be a perfect shape.

2 Lay your wool batting sheet on your felting pad and put your core wool in the centre. Pull the batting sheet firmly around your core wool and felt into the centre.

3 Gather the batting firmly towards the centre, so it doesn’t have any sags, and felt in place. Pull away any excess. Top Tip: Only felt in the centre as this will keep the top and sides of your mushroom free of needle marks.

4 Your finished ‘shroom cap ready for it’s spots and maybe a chimney or two.

4

Take Me To Full Mushroom Turorial

The possibilities are endless Once you have learned this quick and easy technique you will soon be making, well anything and every thing you want; enchanted gardens, pumpkins, ‘shrooms, snowmen. The list goes on and on and I am still trying to give away the mountain of pumpkins I made last year.

Supplies If you don’t have any wool or needles then they can all be found on the website, alongside the ‘Shroom With A View and Honey Pot Cottage needle felting kits. TAKE ME TO WEBSITE

TAKE ME TO PUMPKIN TUTORIAL

Click for hedgehog tutorial

If you are brand new to needle felting then pop over to the essential blog post for beginners: THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF NEEDLE FELTING

Happy creating x

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts