I’ve recently taken up “Felting” as a new craft after working with someone who was a hobbyist felter. Their description of how it worked was fascinating, especially how easy it seemed. Felting is the process of intermingling fibres of fabric to form a sturdy non-woven fabric. One method uses special notched metal needles, that snag and drag fibres from one place to another, mixing them together in the process. This needle-felting can turn loose fluff in consolidated felt or attach one piece of felted material to another.
At my local haberdashers a few days later getting sewing supplies, I saw a single pack of felting needles. A few days later I bought a cheap floor scrubbing brush and using some felt leftovers from a Hallowe’en costume to make a few small objects. It thought it was cool that just by poking fluff with a needle you could quickly form or bond objects. It is also amazingly hard to separate felted items, bonds stronger than sewing or gluing can be easily made, in fact felting can allegedly produce the strongest and most durable form of fabric items known.
Pros – Needles, felt, and tools are really cheap (needles and felt sheets are about 75c each most places, a brush and foam block were €2 each, a big bag of loose wool was €5). You can get felt sheets everywhere (since they’re commonly used for kiddy cut ‘n past crafts). It’s a dry craft so it’s fairly clean (although you may need to hoover up bits of fluff). It is easy to make 2d or 3d objects (although you may need some batting, stuffing or foam blocks for 3d items). There is also very little waste as you can felt all your scraps into another object or use them as filling. It’s a quiet activity since it’s a manual handicraft (you can watch TV or talk to someone unlike when using a sewing machine).
Cons – Needles are sharp and if you stab yourself badly you are dragging fibres deep into a wound (I’ve got some bits of black felt embedded in my index finger at the moment). The needles are also prone to breaking (for me at least, I broke 5 in a row…). They’re also hard to come by in brick and mortar stores since it seems it is an unpopular craft (nearest physical store I know of is 3 hours drive away), most craft/haberdashery store people I asked about it had no idea what I was talking about.
I’ve made a few nick-knacks via needle felting, which I’ll photograph, upload and describe over the next few days.
Nerdy Crafty Foodie