2.27.2013

Felted toys for wee ones.

Untitled
Crafternoon with @e_weezy22. I needle felted an onigiri. She did an eyeball. We're weird. #needlefelt #onigiri #eyeball #imakestuff
Needle Felting crafternoon with Emily!

If you're like me, and find it therapeutic to repeatedly stab things with sharp objects, then perhaps needle felting is the craft for you. Using razor-sharp barbed needles, I've transformed tufts of wool roving into lots of felted creatures. Miniature woolen versions of my pets and smiling food items populate a small kingdom on my windowsill. If I weren't making these cute things, I'd probably be buying them, so I just consider this behavior a savvy win, rather than identifying with creepy hoarder ladies who repress emotions with recreational stabbing.

Recently I taught my friend Emily how to needle felt. She got right down to business sculpting an eyeball. (Of course! Why not?) I made an onigiri. In my mind, all of my favorite snacks must be immortalized in wool. We are not strange at all.

Then, during the days following our crafternoon, something awesome happened ...

feltedtoys
Will with his Dad, Brent, playing with his felt-bot. 

Emily went on a needle felting rampage making lots of cute felted toys for her baby son, Will. Turns out, felties make great soft toys for little hands. How cute are these? My favorite is the smiling cephalopod. Seeing Will play with his homemade toys makes me so happy. Yay, Emily, you rule!


howto

Want to give needle felting a try? All you need is some wool roving, a felting needle, and a felting mat (or I use a fabric foam block). All of these materials can be found at the Craft store.

To make a felt ball, pull off a large amount of roving and gather it into a loose ball. (Your ball will shrink considerably during the felting process.) Place this on your mat, and poke the fibers all over with your felting needle, shaping the ball with your fingers as you work. Continue this way until you have a dense, firm sphere. The barbs on the needle catch the fibers as you pull away, weaving tiny intricate knots and tangles on and beneath the surface of your felted shape. The more you stab, the more dense your shape will become and the longer it will hold up to wear and tear, so keep this in mind if you are creating toys for children. Once you're satisfied with the shape of your ball, you can add patterns or faces by tacking small tufts of different colored fibers onto the ball with your needle.

Other shapes can be made in this same way.  Just manipulate the fibers until you've formed the shape of your choice. To make cylinders, simply roll a flattened sheet of roving into a log, and then use your needle to secure the fibers into a firm shape. Cookie cutters are great guides for creating different shapes. Pack a handful of roving into your cookie cutter, and use the needle to shape the wool into one piece. Felt fabric can also be attached with a needle - I've demonstrated this technique in this blog post (complete with a very rare, very dorky, video tutorial starring myself).

Felting is a unique craft, and sometimes it's easier to watch someone do it to understand how it works. I actually learned how to do this by watching YouTube tutorials. Here are a few helpful guides:

Needle Felting basics (YouTube tutorial)
Needle felting techniques
How to make a needle felted penguin (photo slide show)

+++ 

P.S. Emily has lots of interesting, funny, and insightful things to say about being a mom. You can read all about it on her blog

5 comments:

  1. I loved this blog Johanna! Now I'm all inspired to start crafting wee, felted gifts for next Solstice! xx anna

    ReplyDelete

Speak your mind.