Monday, April 5, 2010
Needlefelting-Little Known Art
Now for a little about what I do.
I am a needle felter. What's a needle felter? A needle felter is basically a wool knotter...lol. My creations are created with an old technique called Dry Needle Felting.
First you aquire some non spun wool called roving in some parts, batts in others. There is a difference though that I a learning about as time goes along. You also need a special needle that is barbed. They primarily come in 2 shapes, triangle and star. These needles have barbs up the shaft that catch the hairs of the wool and pull them into the center of your work. These needles are very, very sharp! I have ouched myself plenty of times....lol. Blood sweat and tears is an understatment when your learning this craft. But don't be afraid. Usually you have a stiff foam block to help protect your table, lap etc and you can buy finger protectors to stop stabbing your self. I also got some hand carders. These can be small or they can be large. They help with brushing the wool straight, blending colors, and brushing out vegetable matter that may still be trapped in the wool.
How it works: Ok so you have your supplies. You want to make a ball, fine, but how? First you would figure out how big you want your ball. To do this you first need to know a few things. 1. Felted wool shrinks. As you felt your ball it will shrink down to about half its size because as you draw in fibers to the center, you are pushing out the air in it. but no worries, you can add more wool to build up 2. How squishy do you want your ball? The more you felt your ball the harder it gets because of the air again. So if you want a squishy ball go easy on the felting. 3. Felt and look. If you want a ball that is perfectly round you must look at your ball from all angles as you felt. Felt a bit, look a bit and keep doing this for all your projects. 4. The details are in the needles. Your needle can come in various sizes but what you will hear of most commonly is 38 and 36 needles. Your 38 needle is your bulk needle. This will allow you to felt your project quickly and create the most of the density. The 36 is your detail needle. This needle is smaller and only grabs a few fibers at a time and allows for more detailed work. A little note on needles, you must go in and out of your work straight no matter what angle you are at. A bent needle can snap easily.
I hope this first installment of needle felting info was helpful and if you are a needlefelter and feel that I have missed something, feel very free to leave comments for others. I will be reading these comments and can make corrections in the post.
I will be posting the new things i learned during the week every Monday as well i will be posting creative works from people i run into so you can see what can be done with this art form.
Till we talk again!