A few years back I picked up needle felting as a hobby, and the boys had been bugging me for a year to teach them. I decided they were old enough to not put the needles into their hands/fingers on accident, so we had fun learning how to do a Woolpets kit together.
I had found the kit at a yarn shop, near our old home, and it got packed up for the move. The boys were helping me get the sewing machine set up and Alistaire found the box.
The pumpkin was a breeze to make, the squirrel…well, I am sure with a few more I could be a pro. Still fun though! It was my first 3D one, where I had to attach arms, feet, tail and head, so there was a huge learning curve. We had lots of roving over so Alistaire made a “wrapped gift” with some of it.
Cute kits, and yes, they come with everything you need to do it: a pad, needles, roving and anything else needed (except for a a sewing needle, if needed).
And of course I have a mountain Goat Cookie Cutter and a Squirrel Cookie Cutter in my cookie cutters. I had fun learning how to make them, and really, it is very, very simple. If you want them thicker, use more roving. I made mine quite thick, they could be used as stand-alone toys. Add in eyes and other features with tiny pieces of roving, worked in with a single needle.
I used wool roving in “Hot Chocolate” from an Etsy vendor I found, Curly Furr. She doesn’t have that one listed now, but has such pretty roving! (Photo is from Curly Furr) I chose the second row, right side, grey mix color to make the goat. I loved the color play, reminding me of the many wild mountain goats I have seen while hiking.
I used an 8×12″ sheet of wool felt to work my piece on. I bought a 10 pack from Crafty Wool Felt, where you can custom pick 10 colors. The colors are gorgeous, the felt is thick, yet soft.
This isn’t a masterpiece, but what I wanted was a playful and childish piece I could hang in the boys bedroom. I needle felted the goat on first, with how thick he was, it took a lot of felting. You will want to use a 5 needle holder or so, as that will speed it up. After he was on, I added pieces by hand, going with the flow. Alpine trees standing, trees littering the mountain hillside, rocks, clouds in the sky, moon and stars poking through. Wool roving flexes easily and can be shaped nimbly with a single needle.
To finish it, some more dimension to the clouds, branches on the trees and so on.
Who knew a “simple” project would lead me to a new hobby.
It started simple enough, I said yes to doing a set of leaf crowns for the children in my sons’ nature preschool (16 of them!). Making the crowns out of wool felt was simple enough, but what the wool for, that was in the supply bin?
Well, I either had to admit I had no idea or go and search it. Google enlightened me that it was wool roving and one “needle felted” it, with special needles. Oh, that is what was in the box with all the supplies? Snort. For someone as crafty as me, I had never noticed this craft before.
Leaf Crowns are simple enough to create. First, you will want to source wool felt (although in a pinch, regular crafting felt will work just fine). If you have a fiber shop (think knitting/yarn) in the area, ask them if they carry it. If not, head to Etsy. In stocking my own supplies, I ordered from the same company,CraftyWoolFelt, that the school headmistress (ha, I crack myself up, she’d never call herself that!) uses. Those pieces I will be featuring in upcoming projects!
First you will want to create a cardboard pattern, that is about 8¼ inches (8.25 cm) long, that is leaf-shaped.
For ease in cutting, lay out your felt, and trace around the leaf as many times as you want, then cut out. Depending on the wearer’s head size, you will need 7-9 leaves per crown. I made ours with 8, they fit the largest heads at the preschool, for the tiniest petite heads, we can use a safety-pin to pull them in a bit. If you are doing them for adults, you may want to add more sections.
Thread an embroidery needle with a healthy section of embroidery floss (it is 6 strand, use DMC Embroidery Floss for best results). Leave about a third of the section hanging over, knot the bottom of the thread. Sew one leaf to a second one, with a ½” seam allowance, using a simple stitch, 3 to 4 times. Run the needle through the back side twice, into the thread, to lock the thread into place. Cut the thread, leaving a bit behind. Re-knot and repeat till done.
After making many, many of these, it was time to learn how to needle felt the “jewels” on. I had been provided with a random block of foam and two funky looking needles stuck in it. Which, had I actually googled it a bit more, I would have realized were very, very delicate needles. I promptly broke both needles in the first 3 jewels. I didn’t realize I needed to go up and down, up and down. Not whack, whack, whack, all over and sideways :p Sometimes kids…reading is a good thing 😉
I realized while searching for replacement needles that this wasn’t something I could easily acquire in town. Amazon is your friend. After picking up Clover Felting Needle Refill Heavy Weight, I indulged myself and bought a Clover Felting Needle Tool, and a Felting Foam Large. Well, I can tell you that $10 felting tool made ALL the difference. 5 needles all at once, with a safety guard that kept fingers away and needles straight? And did I mention I could felt in a fraction of the time?
Basically the method is pull a little bit of roving off, gently, then wind it around your finger into a ball of sorts. Place the crown on the felting foam, then place the roving where you want it. Start gently needling (punching really) the roving, with the needle(s) going through the felt below. Every 10 or so punches shift the fabric so it doesn’t get meshed into the pad. You may need to tweak the roving with your fingernails as you punch, but quickly you can shape it into a circle. Keep needling until it is smoothed out and flat. If you want, you can even add another color on top of the first, to get a cool visual. And before you know it, you have 16 crowns done…