Ever since I saw a demo of needle felting as part of a quilting workshop that I went to several years ago, I have been intrigued by this process of meshing fibers together without having to sew… but haven’t done much else with it other than drool over other artists’ felt work. Last Saturday I and four other ladies dove a bit deeper by taking a hand needle felting class with fiber artist Christie Minchew. Felting comes in several varieties - wet, nuno, hand-needle and machine-needle felting. In all cases the goal is to bond fibers together by a mechanical process. In needle felting, a barbed needle is repeatedly pushed through layers of fibers to bond them together. Natural fibers work best for this. We used commercial felt as a backing and wool roving (unspun wool fibers) as our main felting fibers.
Some tools of the trade - barbed felting needle, felt backing, wool roving, yarn, used teabag (!!) and a foam base for stabbing the needle into the fibers.
Now it's our turn! On the right and left of Christie's table are stacks of wire cubes filled with roving. In the lower left of this pic you can see her treasure-trove of scraps - everything from bits of yarn, threads, ribbon, unravelled sweaters, used tea bags and coffee filters. Oh, what toys! We were given full access to any toy we wanted to play with.
Works in progress. Needle felting can be done so that the layers of fibers are completely meshed to create a flat surface, but Christie prefers lots of dimension, which suits me just fine! The last 2 photos here are my practice piece. This is such fun, especially for someone who likes to play with pretty colors!
When I got home I made some changes to the original piece and am working on a second one that I had started in class. Those are coming upon the next post!
Christie has other needle felting and wet felting workshops coming up in the next couple of months… go try it for yourself, you’ll love it! Find Christie’s class listings and her sewing work for sale in her Etsy store. I’m signing up for the wet felting class on January 25th… maybe see you there!