Needle felting is very popular now. You see a lot of people making cute little animals and characters. You can make almost anything by sculpting wool fleece with a felting needle.
There is no rules and, this is a fairly easy craft for anyone to enjoy. I recommend this picture project to get used to felting.
* Wool fleece; DO NOT use Merino wool. Merino is for wet felting.
You can find suitable fleece for needle felting in craft shops and online suppliers. It may look similar to Merino, but the fiber is shorter and is a little more coarse.
I use my hand dyed wool. I get fleece from a farmer and dye with plants or chemical acid dye. Fleece for needle felting do not have to be with high quality and quite often farmers are happy to give away.
These are my rescued wool.
* Felting needle; You need special needle for felting. You cannot felt with ordinary sewing needle.
Felting needles are barbed needles with no eyes. The barbs on the needles catch and lock the fibres together when the needle is pushed through them.
They come in different sizes called gauge,(36, 38 and 40)and shapes of point(star, triangular). The lower the number, like a size 36, usually the better for coarser fibers or beginning projects. The higher numbers (40) is better for the finer fibers and adding detail. Using the larger gauge needle leaves less visible holes in your finished project. Also there are star and triangular needles in all the sizes. The triangular is good for most projects where the star is used for applying detail.
I use 38, triangular. It is an all-rounder.
* Foam mat
* Pre-felt wool fabric (150g per metre)
You can get this on line. It doesn’t have to be pre-felt. You can use quilt wadding which is much easier to find in shops. You can felt on any fabric. You can felt on your jumper, too!
Now, place your fabric on the mat, tear your wool and place coloured fleece on top. You hold the needle vertically to the surface and stab fleece and fabric using only up and down sewing machine like movement. Be careful not to apply pressure at an angle to the front side of the needle because you might break the needle.
You don’t have to stab too hard. Just use steady jabbing motion. You will see the fleece sticking to the fabric.
You don’t have to draw an image prior to the felting. The fleece will come off if you pull at an early stage.
You can have fun with your children if they are above 6 years old. Just be very careful, the needle is very sharp!
Here is the picture my son made when he was 6. You can frame it with branches from your garden.
It still hangs in our wall. My treasure piece.
Here are some more work I did.