Felting Tips I’ve Learned This Year

As you read this, I’m on vacation. With any luck, Santa will have brought me a new sewing machine or needle-felting machine, and I’ll be playing with it. (Santa, are you watching as I type?)

This past year I’ve explored a fair amount of felting techniques, and I plan to do more with my knowledge in the New Year, even if I have to borrow a machine. Looking back, here are some tricks I’ve learned from the felting projects I’ve done.

One of my favorite felting projects:
embroidered needle-felted tea mug motif.

1. Keep it moving. When machine needle-felting, you have to keep the fibers moving beneath the needles. If you leave the needles in one place too long, you’ll create a hole (unless you want to create a hole, in which case, this is a good thing). Also, the more you felt the piece, the more the fibers will merge and the colors and textures will blend. You can also flip the piece over and machine felt from the back, which will push the bottom colors and fibers up toward the top of the piece.

2. Use a variety of fibers.
With craft felt or pre-felt as your base, play with different kinds of fibers and felting supplies. Fancy yarns, snippets of lace, and wool roving all work well. But don’t pass up interesting dryer lint, snippets of batting, or trimmed threads. Dyed cheesecloth creates interesting textures, and silk is heavenly! Tip: Check the piles of old neck scarves at church bazaars and thrift shops. You can often pick up slightly damaged silk scarves for a song.

3. Experiment and ask, “What if?” What if I felted this white lace onto a white base? What happens if the base is a dark color? What if I twist the fibers? What if I felt from the back? (Sometimes you flip the piece over and the back looks better!). Keep samples of your experiments and make notes.

4. Embellish. Hand or machine needle-felted fibers can be beautiful, but add a few beads, some embroidery, or found objects, and you have a real work of art!

I’ve learned a lot about felting and felting projects from my experiments and from techniques and projects I’ve studied in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. There are sure to be felted projects coming up in  2013, so make sure your subscription to Cloth Paper Scissors is up to date!

P.S. Did you get any art supplies for Christmas or Hanukkah? Tell me what you got and what you plan to do with it (them).


Blog, Fabric Art


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