Saturday, January 17, 2009

Needle Felting 101

Let me just say that before Maggie's Farm and sheep and all that, I didn't much appreciate wool. But, as sheep produce wool, lots and lots and lots of it. I've discovered the humble fleece. Wool is my friend, our friend. I'm getting to know it rather intimately, in all it's permutations, from raw, poop-ridden unskirted wool, to fine spun two ply yarn and everything in between.
Wool is pretty amazing. It keeps sheep warm enough in -11 degrees (This, grrr...., is what the weather's been like lately) and cool enough in 80 degrees (Oh, 80 degrees, I miss you....) It can be messed with and manipulated in countless ways. In the last few years, I've tried my hand at spinning (I stink at spinning), knitting (more or less abysmal results), dyeing (kinda neat and hard to mess up) wet felting (Fun, but very tough to do consistently well) and now, needle felting.
Needle felting is deceptively easy. Basically, you poke a blop of wool with a sharp (Sharp!) needle until it mats into a solid shape. Hopefully, the shape is cute or useful in some way. That's all there is to it. Really. Of course there's a lot of skill involved in poking the matted blop into something cool, or cute or beautiful... I've got a ways to go in that department.

Anyway, here's my first attempt:

I'm pretty proud of it, I must say. I ran out of bear-colored wool and so fashioned a "UF colored" sweater and pants for my little guy. (That way, I only needed a bit of brown for the tips of his arms and legs. The whole project took about two hours.

Dan came around and made a little gator to match.


Christy said...

Wow! That is amazing for a first time! I want to try needle felting, just haven't gotten around to it yet. I even have all the stuff for it. Maybe I'll get the stuff out tonight and give it a try. I can knit and crochet pretty well. I haven't tried spinning yet. I will need to figure out what to do with wool too one day.

laughingmuse said...

He's adorable - you should be very proud! And I like the alligator too.

P said...

Thanks! The little bear was a lot of fun to make. My middle daughter took him to school for the annual "teddy bear picnic".

Christy, I loved your needlefelted sheep!