From wool tops to carded batts, are you going nuts trying to navigate the (sometimes) confusing lingo of needle felting? As a beginner, not understanding the language could prevent you from buying the proper materials or even inhibit your ability to follow in-depth tutorials.
One of my favorite things about needle felting is that the barrier to entry is virtually non-existent. This art form is for crafters of all ages and abilities. Don’t let confusing terms get in your way of creating magical creatures or decorative pieces!
Keep this list close by on your next shopping trip to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting into!
Armature: Traditionally made from wire or pipe cleaners, this skeleton helps form the base of your needle felted projects. I do not personally use full wire armatures only using them in legs when necessary.
Carded Batts: These are thick sheets of wool that are washed and then carded, which allows the fibers to blend in different directions. Works well for needle felting.
Carded Silver: Sliver is layered strips of fibers that have been combed and layered so that the fibers are parallel but no twist is added.
Core wool: Wool can get expensive, fast! Don’t use your top-of-the-line materials to build out the center of your figurines. Instead, use core wool, which refers to cheaper wool that many crafters use at the core of their pieces. I use Romney wool for all of my projects using the undyed wool for the core because Romney gives you a dense, smooth, solid base.
Gauge: The higher the gauge, the thinner the needle.
Micron: For an accurate understanding of the thickness of the wool, check out the micron. A lower number represents finer wool. Please note that all wool does not felt the same and it is important to know what kind you are using so that you can find your favorite.
Noil: Noils or Neps are short fibers either from second cuts when shearing or from weak fiber breaking during carding. After being washed and slightly felted they are often added back in to art yarn projects. They can be added in to projects to created texture.
Pre-felt: Wet felted flat sheets of wool which can be used for flat felted pictures.
Raw fleece: This material is not for the faint of heart! Raw wool is just that…raw! It’s unwashed and unprocessed. This means all the work is up to you. You’ll have to go through a vigilant washing process before this material is ready for use.
Roving: This is a wonderful needle felting wool. This material is loosely carded, and usually, the fibers tend to blend in different directions which is perfect for needle felting.
Staple: Every sheep has a different length of wool. Long or short, staple describes the length.
Wool locks: Do you want to add texture and details to your needle felted projects? From hair and tails to beards, wool locks give your projects the unique touch they need. Usually these pieces are clean and left in their natural state. Depending on where you shop, you might even find dyed wool locks.
Wool tops: This material is washed and combed so that all the fibers are going in the same direction. Wool tops are usually sold in long lengths, and they separate easily when you pull softly and are wonderful for spinning into yarn.
This glossary isn’t all-encompassing, but it will certainly give you a basic understanding so that you can source your materials with ease!
If you’re ready to try your hand at more challenging needle felted projects, join the Bear Creek Felting Academy! We offer the support & direction you need to thoroughly enjoy the process of needle felting with the proper materials and tools…and so many time-saving secrets. We can’t wait for you to join our growing community! Click here to get started.