By Norma Marshall
Needle felting has become a favorite pastime among crafters and knitters. It didn't take me long to know I was 'hooked' on needle felting...not only is it beautiful, it's quick. Almost instant gratification! It is a process of pushing fleece, called roving, into felt or felted yarn to create a design. It is often used with felt and specialty yarns to create an appliquéd design. Instead of sewing, the appliqué is attached with needle felting needles and small pieces of the roving. You can do many things with this addictive skill. Handbags, hats, and 3d characters can all be made with roving fleece and felting needles. You can also create pillows, wall hangings, purses, jewelry, 'critters' and dolls.
Felted, knitted or crocheted handbags are extremely popular. Many celebrities, including Julia Roberts, are sporting purses made with this technique. There are two ways to create a felted purse.
One: Knit or crochet a purse using wool yarn (and a pattern specifically for felting). After the purse is knitted or crocheted, felt it in your washing machine using the same method described below.
Two: A quicker and less expensive method is to visit your closet or the local thrift store. Find a large wool sweater. Shrink it in your washing machine. Use hottest water with a little liquid soap added and smallest water setting. 100% wool felts nicely and makes a handbag that looks great. When you add some needle felting it looks super great. Use the barbed needles made for needle felting and wool roving to create your design. You jab the fiber with the needle until it bonds to the surface and felts.
Needle felters have taken this technique to another level by creating dolls and 3D animals. I am so impressed with the abilities of these soft sculpture artists! The facial expressions and other details are excellent. 3D flowers are fun to make and very beautiful on a lapel or hat. Because the needle felting roving is available in at least 36 colors and can be blended and layered, finding a matching or complimentary color is quite easy.
If you would like to know more about needle felting, visit http://www.squidoo.com/feltit
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