Isn't this fun? I'm happy to say that I've had this idea (or something similar) in my head for a few years now, and it's finally made its way into the physical world! I treated myself to the basic supplies for needle felting on a trip to the US a full year ago, and today I finally had a chance to open the packages and give those felting needles a try. Yippee!
Now I'm no expert, having tried this exactly once, but I'd say that this technique is best used for decorative items that will receive little or no wear and tear. (Monograms, baby name art work, heartfelt messages....) Yes the yarn is felted onto the base, but if some little fingers really wanted to, they could probably pull the whole thing off, which sure would be a shame, since this is a bit labor intensive. At this point I think I may just have to toss my dreams of doing a blanket in this style, though I'm not giving up just yet. I'm quite sure that the results vary greatly depending on the weight/type of base material, so I've still got some experimenting to do! Anyone have any experience to share? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
- a wool base, fabric or knit, I used a sleeve from a felted recycled sweater
- wool yarn
- a pen style needle felting tool, for felting small details and yarn only (all felting tools available at fabric.com, which is where I purchased mine)
- regular needle felting tool: can be used for yarn but is designed for use with wool applique and roving
- a needle felting mat, a large one is the best I think
The needle felting tools come with complete instructions, but I'll give you a quick summary. Simply lay your yarn on the base fabric and start poking with the felting tool to push the fibers of the yarn into the base. (The idea is to meld the two, which takes some patience.) I used a pen style tool with two needles and worked with the pen such that the needles were parallel with the direction of the yarn. Examine the back of the work to see that the yarn has been evenly felted.