If you’ve found yourself reading this blog, you probably have a few questions!
“What is needle felting?”
“Where does it come from?”
“Why is this the craft for me?”
Well lucky for you, we have answers! Here at Bear Creek Felting, we’re experts in all things sheep, wool, spinning, felting, and so on! It’s our passion, and we love sharing it with other people!
The History of Felting
Felting is so much more than a craft. In fact, felt is the earliest known textile and has been used throughout history for various purposes — from art to survival.
Felting involves separating, condensing, and pressing fibers together to create a solid piece of textile, whether through a wet technique or a dry technique, which is called needle felting. Needle felting involves rolling up a small amount of wool and stabbing it with a special barbed needle. When the wool is pierced with the felting needle, it pulls the wool into itself, eventually creating a round, firm shape.
Since the Neolithic era, felting has been used for survival against the elements. Nomadic people groups throughout areas like Serbia and Mongolia would use felting techniques to create structures like yurts and tents, along with the proper insulation, floor coverings, and blankets necessary to keep warm. Felting has also even been used to create armor and protection during wartimes.
Felting as an Art Form
While felting has been used for survival for centuries, there’s nearly always been an added element of art. Even early felters used vibrant dyes and intricate patterns on their structures, clothing, protection, and so on. In recent years, felt has made a comeback in fashion trends and home decor. Chances are, you likely own something that’s been felted without even knowing it! You’ll find it used in purses, hats, laptop sleeves, pillows, ornaments, and beyond.
Our favorite use of felting, however, has to be the creation of these unique felted 3D sculptures! Creating realistic animal sculptures through needle felting is a popular art form due to wool’s ability to mimic the hair and fur of various animals.
How to Get Started
For anyone interested in needle felting, the first step is gathering all of the necessary supplies. You’ll need wool, a felting needle, and a felting pillow, so you don’t harm yourself or damage your needle while felting. We highly recommend starting with one of our beginner felting kits, which include all of the materials you need, along with step-by-step instructions to complete your first needle felting piece!
Once you have all of your materials in hand complete your first felting project, it’s time to practice and start building on your newfound felting passion!
Our Needle Felting Academy is the perfect place to grow your skills and passions! The Academy is a unique community that provides members with access to a variety of video courses. It offers the chance to communicate, collaborate, and share ideas and photos with other members in the forums or Private Facebook group. Click here to check out our various membership options!
We hope this informed you and inspired you to celebrate this long history of needle felting!
Looking for more fun information on all things needle felting, wool, and our life on the farm? Be sure to connect with us on social media! Our EweTube channel is full of excellent resources and tips! Not to mention, we’re continually sharing about our progress on the Nome Schoolhouse! If you didn’t already know, we’re renovating a 100-year-old schoolhouse into a place where we can share our love of fiber arts with all who enter!