Felting in Circles: Design Tips for Variety

Whenever I'm stuck for a design element, I choose a circle. Circles are friendly, organic, and easy to make. You can make them perfect or wonky, dress them up and dress them down.

needle felting techniques by jackie bowcutt
How many different kinds of circles can you count in
this needle-felted piece by Jackie Bowcutt?

Circles are the little black dress of design.

Circles can also adapt themselves to any medium. (Yes, I know you can do the same thing with squares and triangles, but I'm on a roll, here. Get it? A roll?)

Take needle felting for example. With some felting materials (pre-felt, loose fibers, soft fabrics, wool pieces, etc.), a felting machine, and basic instructions for needle felting, you can create an infinite mixture of textures and designs simply by making circles.

Look at this piece done by Jackie Bowcutt, for example. She created an unusual felted piece with circles as a repeated motif. Yet no two circles are exactly alike. There is interest everywhere you eye goes.

Here are five of the techniques she used:

1. Add felt circles. Cut circles of felt and place the circles on the wrong side of the piece. Felt the circles from the wrong side, and then free-motion stitch around the circles on the right side, using high tension initially and then gradually reducing the tension.

2. Use the fluff. Felt small circles of the fluff produced by the felting machine on to a piece of felt. Cut circles from the felt, slightly beyond the felted fluff, and free-motion stitch around the fluff in the center of the circle so that this area is raised up and surrounded by a collar of felt.

3. Needle felt in place. If you keep the felting machine needles in one place, in a short time you will create a hole in the felted fabric.

4. Hand stitch. Do some hand stitching with yarn, from a simple running stitch to a knotted cable stitch.

5. Embellish with circles. In this piece, Jackie added circular buttons and French knots to reinforce the circle theme.

Jackie describes her design and needle-felting process fully in the November/December 2013 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. No need to go round-and-round, just order your copy today.

P.S. What's your go-to design shape? Leave you comment below.

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Blog, Fabric Art

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