Crafters tend to get lost in the “zone.” But as someone living with arthritis, the temptation to continue needle felting through the pain could leave you with stiff shoulders and cramped fingers! 

With 29 joints and a complex web of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, our hands are capable of so much. However, arthritis can make even the simplest tasks, like turning a door handle or writing a name, challenging.  

There are over 100 types of arthritis, each showing themselves in the body differently. And if you live with arthritis, you know it’s hard to do the things you love or discover new passions when you have chronic pain. 

You can’t control everything that goes on with your body, but you can manage your crafts. If you have a love for needle felting but have to be conscious of your body in the process, start incorporating these needle felting tips today!

Start by stretching!

While you’ll certainly want to check with your doctor or physical therapist about stretches that will help your arthritis, these exercises might ease you into your needle felting work.

  • Touch your thumb to each fingertip. Start with your index finger and end with your pinky finger. Move slowly at first, then get faster! Exercise each hand for 30-60 seconds.
  • Roll up a small towel and place it in your hand. With your forearm resting on a flat surface, gently squeeze the towel 15 times. Repeat on the other side.
  • Begin with your palm down on a piece of paper. Maintain contact with the surface of the table, and crumple the paper into a ball. Repeat on the other side.

Adjust how you needle felt.

Whether you’re used to sitting at the dining room table or on the couch, you’ll want to start considering your workspace and posture.

Create a space that’s the perfect height for you. If it’s too low, you’ll have to hunch over causing back pain. If it’s too high, your shoulders and neck will start to tense up. 

They make adjustable craft tables, but to be honest, they’re pretty pricey! With a little creativity and patience, you might be able to find a table that suits you at your local second-hand shop. 

For your chair, you’ll want to find an adjustable desk chair without arms so that you’re not inhibited in your movements. While you work, be mindful of your positioning. Try to align your arms and elbows!

Make sure to take a break every 30 minutes or so. Your fingers, back, and legs can always use a stretch.

Make your tools easily accessible.

Bending down, digging in the back of the cupboard, reaching high up on a shelf—don’t strain your body before you even get started! Sort through your needle felting supplies and keep them organized on a flat surface. 

Keep all of your needles, wool, and felting pillows in their own organized areas so that you have easy access whenever you feel like sitting down to work on a project.  

Embrace shortcuts!

The beauty of needle felting is that there’s always a way to hack the process so that you can complete stunning projects in less time…and with less stress. 

The Bear Creek Needle Felting Academy offers the support and direction you need to thoroughly enjoy the process of needle felting with the right materials and tools plus many time-saving secrets. You will be amazed at what you can create with someone right there with you every step of the way, plus a community of crafters who want to see you succeed! 

You can follow the courses at your own pace, listening to your body every step of the way. If you want to learn more, click here

Learn to Needle Felt the Easy Way!

Teresa Perleberg, Bear Creek Felting

I’m Teresa Perleberg

a needle felting sculpture artist, raising a flock of sheep and teaching others how to needle felt as well as sharing my farm experiences.

~Sheep, wool, farm-life, spinning, dyeing, knitting is what I love.

My mission? To help others learn to needle felt the easy way.

needle felted animals

Let me show you how you can easily create beautiful sculptures

by using the correct supplies and techniques

I have helped over 10,000 learn how to needle felt through my needle felting kits and even more who have received personal instruction from me through my Online Needle Felting Academy.

Now it’s your turn! I would love to help you get started today!

Join the Bear Creek Needle Felting Academy today!

online needle felting classes

The Bear Creek felting Story