Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Needle felting

My learning in felting started many years ago, more than a decade, actually maybe even more than two decades ago. At first it was the usual wet felting; I made baskets, slippers, cloth that I sewed into a vest, couple of hats, all the usual stuff. There was not very much in writing those days about the craft and most of the information was gained through mistake and error.
In 1999 during a trip to the south, I happened to go into a book store and found a book Huopa by Gunilla Paetau Sjöberg that was my bible for many years. I was fascinated that wool could be made into anything and always dreamt of seeing a real yurt... or maybe even better, traveling somewhere to be able to take part in making one.
When I first saw needle felting, I used to think that it was just a craft for kids and nothing for me to be interested in - how wrong I was. I saw few items here and there but most of them were little bit loosely made and shed wool fibers. I was taught that making good felt takes time, it cannot be hurried and needle felting always seemed like a medium to skip the hard work.  
All this was to change of course. I am not sure how I came across Gretel Parker's work ... it could have been on the pages of Mollie makes or somewhere else maybe, but she made me realize the possibilities of needle felting, it just would take time, hours of careful stabbing. There are hours of needle felting videos on Youtube but if you would like to see how Gretel finishes the surface on her creatures, you can see it here.
I bought Gretel's book when it became available and by reading it, I have learned a lot. There are different kinds of felting needles for different purposes, not just coarse and fine. The surface can be made so hard that embroidering on it won't be a problem. If you are interested in needle felting, I highly recommend her book. While you probably want to find your own voice and don't want to make her creatures, there are things to try and to learn. These other books I have are mostly just for inspiration.
Gretel has an Etsy shop where she sells various needles, tiny glass eyes and wool plus her finished work.
I think needle felting is fantastic craft.  All you need is little bit of wool and a needle. There is only this one movement, stabbing and that is all there is to it. Besides wool and needles, you need patience and plenty of time. You cannot rush, cannot be in haste. I am very slow; when I am making something, it always takes hours. I work away, when I am not happy with the shape, I cut away wool and adjust.
This is the elf I finally completed. She lives in the kitchen, I would love to point out to you her nose as it is very, very good in catching various little nuances in cooking.
She can actually measure the amount of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger needed in a good cookie dough by her nose. One sniff at the spice jar, and she will immediately know just how much that has aged and weathered and how much is needed to get the desired flavor.

Tina sends her thank you's to everyone who has been concerned of her well being. She is fine now and has taken over her normal duties; watching out and over everything.

Wool with you,
 PS. I think I have written all this previously, and I am sorry if I sound like a broken record, but here it is once more, I get questions every now and then about this. I am also getting old, so I probably will start repeating myself more and more when the years go by... I know this must be very annoying to some of you with sharp minds and memories...


  1. I have never read your post about your lovely little friend before so it was all new to me! I have always wanted to try needle felting but was never sure of what tools I would neeed, thank you for sharing your knowledge with a new reader.

  2. I love little needle felted objects. I am such a klutz, though, that I think I would end up needle-felting things to my hands!

  3. How nice to have a great kitchen helper to make sure the cookies are just perfect every time. She's charming and very discerning, as a kitchen elf should be. You can repeat yourself all you like as I love visiting and revisiting your home.

  4. There are many things I love about this time of year (most of them listed in a recent blog of yours), but I add to that list hearing from you every day -- it is such a treat! I love your kitchen elf, and wish I had the patience for needle felting -- I tried it, and only stuck myself a few times before deciding it wasn't for me. Wet felting works much better, and I'm sure there are some lovely creatures in my future -- thank you for the inspiration!

  5. Anonymous21:09

    I love your elf, Lene. She is adorable!


  6. Anonymous03:13

    I have yet to try needle-felting, though I did pick up a small Christmas kit on sale a few years ago. It's still sitting in my craft area waiting for me to pick it up and try it out.The craft does fascinate me - and Gretel's work is just amazing. Thank you for introducing us to her!

    Your kitchen elf is wonderful! I'm sure she'll keep a watchful eye and nose out to help make your cooking perfect!

  7. sandra04:42

    Your elf is gorgeous! And I don't remember you saying these things before. On the other hand, you can repeat yourself as much as you like, I don't mind! (Actually, I would be thrilled if you repeated all the tiny quilts you made way back when. I loved them :) )

  8. Your elf is amazing, I have done a wee bit of felting and you are right it does take lots of patience, I dream of having the time and the patience to complete something lovely.