Joanna asked me to do a blog post about needle felting, which I am delighted to do. I bought a couple of kits from a couple of Etsy shops and also bought a book. The technique is quite simple. I started with the owl, which was a kit, and then moved on to the rabbit and sheep, based on designs I saw in the book. Today, as my "demo" item, I did a hedgehog from a kit that is from Wool Pets on Etsy.
First, felting is normally done using water (like when you wash a wool sweater by mistake in hot water and it comes out teddy-bear sized...) but this is done using a barbed needle that makes the fibers of the wool lock together in a similar way. You can probably just see the tiny barbs on the end of the needle -about the last 3/4 inch is barbed on all 3 sides. It is a triangular needle.
Here, I began with a strip of wool "roving" that is cleaned and carded wool. You can see it is very loose fiber.
I rolled the wool into a bit of a sausage shape.
Then, I began to poke at it with the needle. You do so using a foam block, so as not to puncture yourself, which I have done a couple of times in any case, but not seriously. You start with deep punches and then progress toward the outside with shallower punches.
The wool "sausage" becomes more and more compact and dense. Eventually, it forms a fairly firm little lump. That is the hedgehog body.
Next, I started with a new smaller piece of roving, for the head.
Once the head was formed, I used the needle to poke it against the body, which meshes the fibers and makes it "attach" to the body quite firmly.
Then, to make the hedgehog's "prickles" there was a different kind of wool in the kit that was very curly and crimped. I separated small parts of the wool for use on the hedgehog's back.
Each lock of curly wool was gently needled into its back, so that parts were locked into the body, but some parts were still sticking up and being loopy or curly.
Eventually, the whole body was covered.
Then, I used a little tiny ball of black wool that I had made from long fibers that I rolled between my fingers. That became the nose, and then similar tiny balls for the eyes.
And that's it! Easy squeezy! The hedgehog was done, and now he's sitting on the tree.
Now, just for Mare, my silly shrinking crochet.
And Lola, I would be delighted to trade a sheep for a hen! Let's do it! What color sheep would you like? Do you want a brown one? Or I could do white or grey or even black!