I remember the feeling of being the “new kid” in a group – everyone seems to know what’s going on except me! Ever “felt” that way?
Puns aside, it can be intimidating to come into a new group and feel like you’re on the outside just because you don’t know the lingo. Fear not. Everyone begins as a beginner, and the needle felting community is not only welcoming but looks forward to sharing their creative addiction!
So if you’re curious about needle felting or have questions you’ve always wanted to ask, you’re in the right place!
What is Needle Felting?
The felting of wool can be done as a wet or dry process. Needle Felting works with dry wool, repeatedly poking the wool with a barbed needle in order to create a defined shape. Here at Bear Creek, we focus primarily on animals (okay, and snowmen) with the goal of creating realistic sculptures made from felted wool.
The process is not only highly creative but intensely therapeutic, offering a zen-like experience that is much like meditation. For me, needle felting is a daily habit that resets and grounds me in my busy life on the farm. Even my family knows when I need a “dose” of my felted animals!
Curious? Check out a super-speedy video of me creating a cow.
How Do I Get Started?
Now that you know what needle felting entails, are you ready to jump in? When I started, there were no kits available, so I struggled with getting all the materials at the start of a project. I wasn’t sure how much wool I needed; it was frustrating! So I vowed right there to create complete kits to take the guesswork out of the materials list.
Start with picking up a beginner kit. You will find all the materials and instructions needed to begin! The beginner kits are designed to build your confidence and let you practice the techniques.
What’s Special About These Needles?
The needle is the key tool. It is barbed in a specific way that pushes the felt in to create the desired shape. There’s a really great video in this article so you can see the process up close (it’s super cool!). You’ll see a commercial application in the video, but most of what I do is with a single needle.
If you’re worried about holding something so slim, we also have single needle holders as well as holders for multiple needles for doing larger areas. The holders make it easier on your hands and we also have tips if you have arthritis!
The needles will become dull over time, so be on the lookout for early signs of wear. Like any creative endeavor, good quality tools make all the difference! Meanwhile, get a little more knowledge about how needles wear over time in this article.
What’s Special About the Wool?
Truth be told, I’m a bit of a wool addict! I love everything about it – from the adoring sheep to the process of turning their coats into gorgeous wool to working with the finished product! The colors, the feel … all part of my obsession!
Sometimes the inspiration comes from wanting to use a beautiful color, other times a pattern will move you to find the perfect brown. Regardless of your process, you will become a collector before you know it!
Are you ready to go beyond the kits and start creating other animals? Then join the Bear Creek Needle Felting Academy! Not only will you receive structured lessons, but you will also join a community of talented people all working to improve their art while supporting others. Need more information, check out our FAQs!
News! I am traveling this May! Come see me in Minnesota and Massachusetts. Keep an eye on my calendar for details and registration links! Meanwhile, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube!