FELTING NEEDLES AND THEIR USES

Links to Sites about Felting Needles

Sharon Costello's web site with her teaching schedule and examples of felt she has made with felting needles.   Also, her needle felting instructions.  Linda Van Alystyne has some good information about felting needles at Sharon's site.        Go to Pat Spark's sources page for some sources of the felting needles.      Also, information about Pat's needles and Sampler Pack are available at: http://www.peak.org/~spark/FineFiberNeedles.html  Links to some more felting needle sources: http://w.webring.com/hub?ring=needlefelting&id=8&hub   
Lesley Blythe-Lord has a web page with felting needles and various types of felting needle holders for sale. Rebecca Lavell's Celtic Moon Fibreworks site with felting needles instructions.  Also, her web page has  felting needles and felting needle holders for sale.
George Weil & Sons, Ltd. (England) has fiber equipment including felting needles and felting needle instructions.  Felt Crafts. Anne Vickrey; www.feltcrafts.com  1-800-450-CRAFT.  Anne carries felting needles and other items for the feltmaker.
Kathy Hays is doing some online teaching, making needle felted dolls.   Barbara Gentry has several interesting felting needle holders for sale, including one that holds 16 needles.
Stony Mountain Fibers; 939 Hammocks Gap Road; Charlottesville, VA 22911 USA 1-434-295-2008 http://www.angelfire.com/va2/fibers/  Barbara@stonymountainfibers.com 
Sue Pufpaff's instructions on making a needle felted teddy bear. Wingham Wool Work in England has information about felting needles and sells needles and felting needles holders in several sizes.  70 Main St; Wentworth Rotherham; South Yorkshire S62 7TN; ENGLAND
email:  wingwool@clara.net   www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk tel: +44 1226 742926 fax: +44 1226 741166
Suzanne Higgs' web page, with information on needle felted hats and scarves.  Hooked on Felt; 213 Gilkey Avenue, Plainwell, MI 49080 1-269-685-2438 The Silver Penny has needle felting tips and instructions: http://www.homestead.com/thesilverpenny/FreeProjectNeedleFelting.html
Some information about needle felting, plus needle felting materials for sale at Gnome Sweet Gnome. George Weil, Fibrecrafts site about felting needles. http://www.georgeweil.co.uk/notes_felt_needles.htm


 

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Posts sent to feltmakers list about felting needles:                                                                   

1996


Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 11:50:36 -0700
From: spark@PEAK.ORG (Pat Spark)

I first heard of felting needles from a person at a quilting conference. He was a vendor selling needle felted merino wool batts for qulters. (I think they were called Heartfelt Quilt Batts.) He talked about the needling process and about how he knew of people who were using the needles from the needling machines as tools in their feltmaking. He gave me the addresses of several companies who made the needles.

So, for a little clarification, the needles are really designed for the needle felt machines. These machines have large flat beds with a rack above the bed which holds thousands of needles. Fiber (of any type) is laid on the bed and the needles push down through the fiber. The needles are very sharp, are shaped like leather sewing needles (triangular with blades down the three points of the triangle), and have small barbs etched into the surface of the blade. The needles force the fiber from the top of the stack to the bottom, thus causing them to tangle on one another. When the fiber has been thoroughly needled, it resembles a soft felt. Like I mentioned above, any fiber can be needled together. The needles mechanically do the same thing that scales, moisture and agitation do to wool fiber during felting. That is, they cause the fibers to tangle on one another.
Here are two of the ways I use the needles:

1. Lay softly spun yarn or thin strips of slightly twisted roving on top of a dry piece of partially made felt. Push down on the yarn/roving with the needle, causing the individual fibers from the yarn/roving to be shoved through the soft felt base to the back side. This yarn/roving then stays on well during the fulling of the felt and it doesn't shift and distort like yarn does which is added at the beginning of the felting process. I keep the felt base taut during this so that the yarn/roving doesn't bunch up and cause the line to look thick and thin. I just use my fingers to keep it taut, but someone could use a embroidery hoop or something like that.

2. Needle on a piece of felt to add a shape to an already completed composition. I lay the new shape on top of the completed felt, and punch through it to needle it on to the felt ground. Again, I keep the base taut. Since the felt is already completed, and I am not going to full it any more, I have to do something to make sure that the shape will stay well attached. As you may have figured out from the description above, the fibers from the shape being added, do not actually entangle with the base. They pass through the base and push out on the back side. It is easy to pull this shape off since no actual entanglement has occured. I turn the piece over, spritz it with hot water, and use the sander to help the fuzzies on the back side attach themselves to the base so that they are secure.
The needles break easily because they are made of a very brittle metal. Also, they are quite sharp and you can puncture yourself easily. But still, they are worth it because they can allow you to get much more detail and to save a piece after it is felted (by adding a new, needed shape).

Oh, one more hint, I think they work best if the fiber and fabric is dry. When I try to needle dry fiber onto a wet background, or needle together two wet seams which aren't attaching well, the fibers just don't seem to push through like they should. If, for instance, I roll the felt object with seams which aren't attaching in a dry towel and remove almost all of the water, the non-attaching seams can be overlapped, and then needled together.
Pat Spark

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Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 09:03:12 -0700
From: spark@PEAK.ORG (Patricia H. Spark)

You can also buy the felting needles from: By the Bay Creations; Elaine Almquist; 1887 Union Ave.; North Bend, Oregon USA 97450 (tel. 1-541-756-7978) You will need to contact her for prices.
So, about the needles. Several years ago, the industry developed a machine which could somewhat duplicate the entangling process of feltmaking. Imagine a large bed upon which fibers can lie. Then imagine a frame suspended above this bed which contains thousands of sharp needles. The needles are somewhat similar to those used for sewing leather. That is, they are not just pointed on the end but they have three flat sides with very sharp blades at the meeting point of these sides. A few little notches are etched into these blades. The frame is lowered over the fiber and then the machine is turned on. The needles go up and down in the frame, pushing the fibers together and causing them to tangle. The result is a massively entangled mat of fiber, quite similar to a soft or half felt. The fiber doesn't need to be wool or fur. It can be anything. Well, a few years ago, felters discovered that these needles used by themselves can be an aid to hand felting. I prefer to have the fiber almost or totally dry when I work with the needles. At a recent workshop, one of my students had a seam which wouldn't felt down on one side of his boots. We rolled the boots in a towel to remove the water. We took a dog brush to the offended area to get the base wool fluffed up. The flap area which wouldn't felt down was laid over the fluffed up base and the two pieces were needled together. The student just held the base fiber tautly between his fingers with one hand and carefully punched downward with the needle with the other hand. (You must work carefully because the needles are very sharp.) In a couple of minutes the offending flap was entangled with the base. He then proceeded to finish felting and then fulling the boots. (He added more hot soapy water to the boots, covered them with nylon net so that his hands wouldn't lift up the patch job, and continued to massage the wool so that it could be fulled.) In the same workshop, the students were making wonderful trolls, elves, and other felt creatures. Instead of felting on locks of fiber for the hair, they needled it on. (Often, you lose the sense of lockiness when you felt the locks on directly.) They also used the needles for "sculpting" the felt. Because the method I taught them for making the trolls results in a sculpture with a soft fleece center and a hard felt skin on the outside, they could punch into the skin with the needle and cause the soft center to begin to compress. The areas that were compressed caused the areas next to them to really puff out. Thus, wonderful relief surfaces were formed on the felt skin. I do believe that the participants in that workshop are now "hooked" on the felting needles.
Pat Spark



Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 22:11:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Susan L Krueger slkrueg@bgnet.bgsu.edu

I have a question about the following statement: "The fleece pokes through from one side of the felt to the other. It's more of a puncture technique." (Pat S) Does this mean that if you have different colors of fleece on the top (middle) and bottom they will all blend together on the top surface? Susan L. Krueger
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Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 23:40:52 -0700
From: spark@peak.org (Patricia H. Spark)

Susan, If the fibers are added to the top, they will be pushed down through all of the layers to come out the back. Because of this, they can be pulled off pretty easily. I usually spritz the protruding fibers with water and then "zap" them with my sander to get them to felt down into the backside of the felt. This helps to hold them on. Remember, I am usually using merino which has a lot of scales so that even if the backside is already felted, the new fiber can still add to it. If the middle layer is softly felted, those fibers will also push to the back side of the felt. The punching action seems to only work as the needle goes into the felt, not when it is pulled out of the felt.

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 14:03:28 -0800
From: spark@peak.org (Patricia H. Spark)

Siki and others, I just love the felting needles. These are the needles that come out of the needle felting machines. Usually in the machines there are thousands of them put into a frame which is suspended above a bed of fiber. The neddles go up and down, pushing into the fiber and causing it to become entangled. In the industry, all kinds of fibers are used for needle felting. One product which is becoming more widely known to fiber artists is needled cotton batting that is used by quilters. This batting holds together better than other cotton batting and thus allows for the quilting rows to be placed farther apart. Anyway, I digress into needled cloth. So these needles are about 4 inches long. The bottom third of the needle is the part which causes the entanglement. This part of the needle is three-sided, like leather needles. Where each side meets, there is a sharp, blade-like edge. This edge cuts down through the fiber. The three sharp edges are also notched.(possibly spelled knotched?) These notches act like little barbs and help to puch the fibers past one another.

USING THE NEEDLES FOR HANDFELTING:
1. SCULPTING FORMS WITH THE NEEDLE. When I have a felt sculpture stuffed with fleece, or a felt where the inside layers are still pretty soft and the outside skin is well formed, I can use the needle to create 3-D form. If I punch a lot with the needle in one area, that area will compress (go inwards) because the stuffing is being entangled. This means that I can start with a flat surface and then push that surface with the needle to create an indentation. When I have cheeks on faces, I have indented the area surrounding the cheeks, leaving the cheek area untouched. It will appear as though the cheek comes forward.

2. REPAIRING A FELT SEAM WHICH ISN'T HOLDING VERY WELL. As I described a few days ago, this tool can be used to help repair the areas which don't hold together well when doing 3-D felting. In my experience, the needles don't work well when the fibers are wet, so I wring everything out in a towel to get it pretty dry. I use a dog comb to roughen the area which hasn't connected well. I put the two roughened faces together, and use the needle to help them connect. After they are holding pretty well, I will rewet the area and continue felting.
These are some ideas. I am sure there are many more. Pat Spark

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From: DebOHF@aol.com (Deb Nelson)
Date: Sat, 2 Nov 1996 15:13:20 -0500

When you use them to repair a felted piece, how do you get rid of the little holes that you see afterwards? I've tried sanding, brushing, wetting and reworking. My experience is that those holes leak water, so I'm not as confident about telling folks about how it will act in inclement weather. Any comments about that aspect of using them?

1997


Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 19:14:38 -0800
From: mcsiki@island.net (siki&saburo.murata)
- To repair thin spots by adding wool onto the finished felt and just poking the needle through by hand. (being *Very* careful not to stick yourself with the oh so sharp and long point!)
-To add on design elements (as I did today when my finished hat looked like a rorshack (sp?) test so I had to add on some diversionary elements) which would included locks of wool for beards etc.
-to be very precise with design elements, her example is writing your name in "a teeny yet legible manner." (heh, heh! Can't help imagining sneaking into exhibitions and signing my own name on work that I like-look out world I'm armed and dangerous!)
- I think Pat has mentioned the sculptural possibilities as a 3d felt with soft wool inside when punched into with the needles indents (or so I understand)


Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 12:13:32 -0700
From: Pat Spark <spark@peak.org>
Lynda, After reading your note and seeing the picture you sent (sent to Pat as example), I see that you are wanting ties or ropes, (snakes, etc.) to make a linear design on the surface of a hat. Have you tried using a singles yarn such as that from Brown Sheep Company, and then using the felting needles to attach it in place? You could make the hat slightly into the fulling stage. Then roll it in a towel to get out most of the water. The yarn (which isn't plied) could then be laid onto the almost-dry felt. Use the needle to push fibers from the yarn through the felt to the back side. Then turn the hat inside out and use a sander to get these fibers attached to the hat at the backside.   Turn the hat right side out and apply more soap, hot water, etc., cover the yarn with a net and rub it from the front side to help it attach more from that side. You should then be able to proceed with the fulling of the hat.   I have also used pencil roving in a similar way to make a linear element on the felt. But I had to take several strands of the roving and slightly roll it together so that it is a loosely spun yarn, so that the fibers from a single strand of roving wouldn't just "melt" into the background of the felt. By using differing numbers of strands in the softly spun pencil roving, I have been able to control the diameter of the felted line.   Hope this helps.


Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 13:19:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: Susan L Krueger <slkrueg@bgnet.bgsu.edu>
Heidi - Although I did not attach locks to my felt with the felting needle, I think it would do the trick. What I did do was add a bit of red merino fleece to some thin, holey spots of purple felt that had already formed the "skin" which doesn't allow you to add fleece & soapy water & get it all to join. The loose fleece is just laid where you want it to go (I put it on the inside of the hat), and then you stab the needle through, being careful not to stab the hand which holds the hat. I worked it from the inside to the out, sort of outlining the fleece with little stabs then doing the interior of the fleece tuft. Only a small bit of red came through to the outside compared to what was visible on the inside, but that was fine since I had red & blue accents in my purple background anyway. So, after I needled it a bit, I did the soapy, hot water bit and it all held together very nicely.

1998


Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 20:28:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Candy Hoeschen <candyh@advlogsys.com>
All just pokey pokey - no water or soap gel. I tried a couple felt balls in nylon socks, run through the wash and rinse cycles with a load of laundry. The balls got TOO felted, and it was much more difficult to push and pull the shapes of the nose, ears, etc. I know the balls at the conference had been slightly felted - probably depends on fleece, amount of agitation, etc. So I've just been tearing off strips from a carded wool batt and neatly winding it into a uniform ball. A couple of pokes along the way and it all holds together. Lots of pokes in an area, and it gets a pretty durable skin. Leather gauntlets or chain mail would also make good poke-resistant choices, but interfere with tactile-ics.

Give the needles a try - you can sculpt a head in an evening, just couch potato-ing around. Recommend each feature starts out really oversized - big big big. By the time you get done poking, it really reduces in size. And if not, it'll be a good-looking troll! I've started doing some animal faces - Henry (my husband) likes them better than my cartoon-y creatures.


Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 20:48:40 -0600
From: woolshed@juno.com (Jill Gully)
Continuing Candy's strain on felting needle protection.... If you've ever watched meat cutters, they often wear a fine metal mesh glove on the hand that holds the meat. If you had access to those, they would be both flexible and fairly protective.  The needles could still go through the holes between the mesh if you aimed just right, but your chances of that would be considerably reduced. Just a thought..... I'm not sure where they buy them.
From: IanBowers@aol.com
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 02:16:23 EDT
<< Would someone please explain what exactly a felting needle is, how it is used, and where one can find them??? >>
It is a triangular section needle, very similar in size and length to a big darning needle, but the 'non working end is round, and the last 4mm turned at a right angle to allow fixing in a jig or tool.  The sharp edges of the triangular section have small tangs or barbs facing towards the point, and these catch in the fibres of the target mass and drag them into the body of the material, so tangling the fibres to give an open felt, eg carpet underlay. We and some others carry these products. Ian Bowers; Fibrecrafts - UK; 0 (+44) 1483 421853
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 21:28:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: Candy Hoeschen <candyh@advlogsys.com

Candy, can you tell me why you consider the felting needle to be so "revolutionary"?

"Revolutionary" in the sense of a "sudden, radical, or complete change" - yep that about sums up what felting needles did for me!  I was trying to make faces in felt - thought that I could sew the features in place, pulling hard with strong thread - like doll makers do with stuffing in a nylon. Then tumble them in the washing machine - didn't work at all. Thank heavens I went to the Felting Extravaganza and discovered felting needles!

The felting needle gives me complete control of 3-D form - married with traditional felting methods the combo is resulting in outstanding details easily executed. No tedious sewing and basting to hold felt components perfectly placed - just a little poke poking and then you're ready to rock and roll!

Sculpture, applique of loose fiber, half felts or yarns to a base felt, and fixing thin spots in felt are the general tasks where felters use the needles. I know I've just started to scratch the surface of other interesting possibilities. I hope you'll give them a try.

Candy

P.S. A needle is about 5" long, has a very sharp point, and is notched along the shaft of the needle near the point. The notches are designed to catch a few fibers as the needle enters a mass of fiber, and carry them into the mass. When you pull the needle out, the fibers come out of the notches and stay where they've been positioned with the poke. Repeated poking thoroughly entangles the fibers.

I loved Ayala's description from her Extravaganza seminar on the felting needle: "A small, obscene, and highly useful tool on which we shall shed much light....The committed felter will carry one on their person henceforth." Oh so true! ! !

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From: "Barb Bush" <bush@fwi.com>
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 10:58:11 -0500
I have a friend who makes Santas and is looking for an effective way to attach the wool beard. The faces are made of muslin. I have suggested that she stuff the muslin heads with wool, then use a felting needle to poke the beard through the muslin to felt with the wool inside. Has anyone ever tried this? Or does anyone have a better suggestion? thanks,


From: susan@gtn.net (Scott, Susan)
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 1998 18:40:55 -0500
Felting needles work to set in beards and hair on heads. I have even found with some polyfils that the mohair or wool/fleece will adhere well enough to each other, but fleece stuffing would be safest.


From: Weaverlady@aol.com (Kate Carras)
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 08:42:13 EST
I use felting needles all the time to attach doll hair. I make knitted bodies and stuff them with wool. Then I attach either roving for hair or locks of Lincoln wool which I've dyed. She should experiment first with the muslin, but I don't know why it wouldn't work. It may even work with polyester fiberfill because the needle will cause the beard wool to entangle with the fiberfill.
Date: Sun, 08 Nov 1998 19:05:24 -0500
From: Kathleen Hays <easystuff@earthlink.net>
Susanna, But how does the felting needle affect the muslin? My experience was that the woven fabric would snag or leave big holes. I am interested in hearing how you did this successfully.

From: susan@gtn.net (Scott, Susan)
Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 19:08:21 -0500
The felting needle is incredibly sharp and since the barbs push downward they don't catch the fabric as they exit. Of course, you must go slowly and carefully but you also put so much fleece that the fabric of the head is quite densely covered. I also use the needle sideways after the hair is all inserted. That way there is a net of fleece matted close to the surface of the head. This has been done with muslin and a wool blend (quite a large % of synthetic) and both were successful. I wouldn't try it with silk, but muslin, wool, felt and knits should work. Try it on something that is not crucial - just a trial head and see how it goes for you. Looking forward to hearing of you results.

1999


Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 16:45:38 -0400
From: Nan & Lee Sexton <woolwood@greene.xtn.net>
Jane's Fiber and Beads,604 Franklin St, Greeneville, TN 37743  423-639-7919 has had the felting needles.
From: "Suzanne Pufpaff" <feltlady@mvcc.com>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1999 23:28:16 -0400

For all of you out there who have succumbed to the joys of felting needles. One of the members of our local "spinning" group discovered that the container that mini M&M's come in is exactly the right size for safely storing felting needles.
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 08:17:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Candy Hoeschen <candyh@advlogsys.com>
Plastic syringe containers (large) with a wad of wool in the tip are excellent - check at your vet. Also, tall slim jars (capers, fancy mustard . . .) work, but they are glass. Tubes that hold loose beads are good . . .
From: "Guenhwyvar" <guenhwyvar@budsters.com>
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 01:40:16 -0700
I just heard the Brown Sheep Company makes felt! Very heavy, by the yard, at 66 inches wide. Does anyone know anything more about this? Wouldn't it be great to do a wall *painting* in felt, with felting needles, using this fabric as a background?
From: EVESTUDIO@aol.com
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1999 22:22:32 EDT
This is interesting as I have been making mats of knitted wool now for about a year. I use Brown Sheep yarn. Now, I know that knitted is not "true" felt, but the painting I do upon these mats with felting needles is fleece, and so I "felt" upon "fulled" mats.
Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 10:08:02 -0600 (MDT)
From: Lana & Cotone <lana-cot@wtp.net>
Hi. We've been carrying Brown Sheep products for the last nine years. Their lines just keep getting better. The "felted" wool is made from their Nature Spun fingering yarn. I believe the width is between 60 and 66 inches wide. This felt is available in the following colors: cream, charcoal, rose, red, peacock blue, green, royal blue, pink, bluebird, black and winter blue. If we can answer any questions, please call us on Monday after 9:00 a.m., Mountain Time, or drop a note back. http://www.wtp.net/lana-cot/index.html Daniele & Lynn O'Banion; Lana & Cotone ("wool & cotton") (406) 446-3337; 316 S. Broadway, Box 1491, Red Lodge MT 59068  USA
From: " Jane Altobelli " <altobelli@aztec-net.com>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 16:02:52 -0400
Pat: I have felting needles and the instructions on your felters list. Recently, I've been reading about using the needles to make sculptured felt and "dry" felting. What keeps the wool from "unfelting". When you place one piece of felt over another and needle the top piece onto the bottom, it is quite easy to lift it off. What makes the sculpture stay? How do you wet felt over the top of the dry sculpture.
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 22:20:15 -0700
From: Pat Spark <spark@peak.org>
Jane, Using a medium to medium coarse wool, roll a carded batt into somewhat the shape you want. Then begin to needle it. Place it on a piece of foam rubber, and stab the shape with the needle until it begins to firm up. It won't be loose fiber any more. Even with non-felting wool, the needles will cause the fibers to tangle. When the shape is pretty tight, lay on pieces of a good-felting wool, like merino. Needle them into position. Keep adding until all of the colors you want on the form. Then quickly dunk the needled shape into cool, soapy water. Do not leave it in the water. Put soapy water on your hands and begin to rub the shape until a felt skin forms on the outside. Rinse the shape well. Roll in a towel and fluff it up a bit to get back its shape. Let it dry.
       The dry felted sculptures I've seen are pretty soft, but still hold together. People are not using fine fiber for them. Usually a medium wool, and often it is a felting wool such as Coopworth or Romney.
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 21:52:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Candy Hoeschen <candyh@advlogsys.com>
Experiment with the DEPTH and ANGLE of needling if your attachments lift off easily - you should have to work quite hard to dis-entangle a well needled-on bit of wool or lock. When I have to re-do an eye or ear, by the time I've carefully pryed it loose, a good hunk of the body wool it was attached to is coming out - like the critter is loosing its stuffing! Not a problem to needle it back into shape, but this is a good indication that your attachments are hanging on well, and you are achieving excellent mechanical entanglement.

Use a good felting wool as the outer layer on your sculpture, and create the 'core' with wool that has good resilience - the 'meat' breeds of Suffolk, Hampshire, Southdown are especially good for their springiness and resilience. If you give your sculpture a squeeze, it should rebound and recover to its sculptured shape. If it stays indented and squished, you will have trouble with 'wet' finishing.

I finish by wiping soap gel over the surface of the sculpture through nylon net. The consistency of the soap gel is such that it tends to stay on the surface and not penetrate. Remove the net and give the sculpture a THOROUGH but light surface rub. For large items, I may do 3 to 5 sessions of massaging to work the surface to form a durable felt skin - each session I start at a different part (because I get tired and lazy as the session goes on, for 30 minutes or longer). The ridges of a tupperware lid can help felt larger areas, but fingers are best for working facial and other details without undo distortion. Rinse the soap gel out by holding and supporting the sculpture in your hands under warm running water and gently squeezing (the core wool will get wet now). Spin excess water out in the washing machine. Remove and pat the sculpture into shape while it is wet. I also use a long doll needle to pull collapsed areas out and into shape. Set on a towel to dry - move it to a dry spot every day or so. Pat's soap gel recipe: 1/2 cup grated soap flakes dissolved in a gallon of boiling water, then cooled to room temp.


Date: Wed, 08 Sep 1999 15:49:29 -0400
From: Kathleen Hays <khays@gte.net>
I know several people on the list have been using the felting needle, and indeed I an hooked. Does anyone have a preference for the surface wool. I have used fine merino, and find that I get too many holes....even using the short little jabs. I have not used a slightly coarser wool just yet, but was wondering, if anyone else had a recomendation. So far I love the sculptability of the felting needle, and vison many possibilities.......just need to overcome the 'little holes'.
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 18:50:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Candy Hoeschen <candyh@advlogsys.com>
Felting needles work best with any medium wool with moderate crimp - something with some resilience: Romney, Jacob, Finnsheep (if not too fine) or even the 'non-felting' breeds: Southdown, Hampshire, Suffolk. You can always put an outer 'wrapper' of felting wool over a body of non-felting wool.  If the wool is overly coarse and straight (Cotswold, Lincoln, Luster Longwools) it doesn't work well for base body either - it needles down into rock-hard lumps. (but I use these for outer hairy coats).  I LOVE merino for all of the color and features such as spots, eyes, nose, mouth - no problem with little holes when it's needled onto a medium base wool.
From: bhstudio@frontiernet.net (Rikki)
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 1999 16:42:49 -0500
Romney is best in my opinion.
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 1999 22:24:02 -0400
From: Kathleen Hays <khays@gte.net>
Candy, I have done exactly what you recomend. Suffolk for the base, then wrapped with merino. I am using the felting needles from Alyala. Could it be, I am working on a flesh tone merino, so the jabs look more pronounced? I do go back and use the soap gel, and that helps to close up those little jabs. I do the deeper jabs, for contour, and shorter jabs of lines. Oh, well if I don't figure it out........just have to take another workshop!.....<grin>


From: bhstudio@frontiernet.net (Rikki)
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 1999 22:17:06 -0500
Kathy: This isn't Candy, but I use her instructions <g>: I have a figure in process, almost exactly your mix, only a bunch of card fly wrapped w/romney roving where I did all the major shaping (worked wonderfully) and now I am going over it w/pinky-brown merino top. I made large ears of merino only. I will do hands the same way. I HATED those holes in the merino. The romney had looked so nice! I sort of put it aside and did 4 flowers, some large, varying breeds of wool. On the flowers, I alternated dry w/wet work. I also used merino along w/romney and some quilt batting of unknown ancestry.

1)The wetting to form a skin fixes the holes, especially after it dries. A final fulling in the microwave got rid of the last short ones.
2)The figure just sat there for a couple of weeks; when I last looked, I noticed that a lot of those holes had relaxed and were less obvious...I haven't done any soap gel on that one yet.


From: Weaverlady@aol.com (Kate Carras)
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 09:00:03 EDT
Kathy asks: I have not used a slightly coarser wool just yet, but was wondering, if anyone else had a recomendation? I have used Border Leicester and Lincoln, and a friend of mine, Suzanne Van Natter, does a lot of 3-dimensional needle punching and says that she can punch just about anything, including super-wash with those needles.
Date: Thu, 09 Sep 1999 08:58:21 -0700
From: Sharon Costello & John Arrighi <springhollow@earthlink.net>
Hi Kathy, I use Wilde Wool from Philadelphia. It is much courser, but doesn't get holey. If you like the merino, just wet felt the surface of your finished piece and the holes will disappear.
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 15:42:43 -0500
From: Jill Gully <woolshed@juno.com>
Virginia, The Wool Shed carries felting needles for just $1 apiece. Also a full range of fine merino for felting in 50 gorgeous colors. Jill Gully; Outback Fibers; The Wool Shed; P.O.Box 153; Hewitt, TX 76643  800-276-5015
From: "Altobelli" <altobelli@aztec-net.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 12:26:59 -0400

Hello from Georgetown, Ontario! I am new to the felting needles but find them fascinating and so useful! One of the items I make in felt is a fairly large pincushion (a ball, really, with coloured yarn or wool in the middle and then cut in half with a slice off the other side to make it stable). I put this under the portion I am needling and just move it around as needed. It works. Of course, I have to make sure that I am keeping to the middle part of the pincushion or my fingers encounter an unpleasant surprise.


From: "Ericson, Kris" <KEricson@FEICO.com>
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 14:52:11 -0700
Can merino superwash be felted using felting needles? I know it's had it's scales removed so it doesn't felt with hot water and agitation but since needle felting pushes the fibers together will it work?
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 22:35:05 -0700
From: Pat Spark <spark@peak.org>
You could certainly tangle the fiber together, which is essentially what felting is. I would think that technically, one couldn't call it felted, but needle-felted or needled. I believe that most superwash still has its scales. They've just been coated with resin to prevent them from opening.
From: ShearJoyFm@aol.com (Ann Mary)
Date: Wednesday, 15 December 1999 4:26
I have a little item I thought I would share. We use a lot of 'Milling Bits' which come in clear plastic tubes, with rubber caps on each end. I do not think we are supposed to save these things, but, I cannot let such handy items get thrown  away. I cut down one of the 18 inch tubes & stuffed some wool in the bottom and it makes a neat case for my new felting needles.


From: "Richard Smith" <rsmith@netconnect.com.au> (Chris)
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 22:47:53 +1100
Reading your post Ann Mary, reminded me that I heard recently, someone comment that if they wish to carry a felting needle in their hand bag, {for what ever reason} That they slip it inside a stirrer, that they got when they bought coffee at MacDonalds. It's a 3-4 inch white plastic with two tubes, sought of like a straw that has been crimped in the middle. The person was saying that it was perfect for carry her felting needle safely, where ever she wanted to go. Just thought I'd share it.
From: "Sherry Konya" <skonya@netnitco.net>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 18:09:52 -0600

This was my first piece of wall art. I've been using the felting needles only for a short time--I find them fatastic tools and easy to work with. I don't think I could survive without them now. I oringinally had planned to do the Nativity wall hanging in applique with handwoven fabrics and felt pieces. But after I figured out what could be done with the felting needles, I changed my plan. It was quite a stretch--I had no idea how what I was getting into--I just worked on one figure at a time--and it all went together. I also do 3 diminsional nativities using the felting needles for the sculpting. I expecially like to do small pieces--about 3 inches tall--with tiny fingers and miniature faces.


2000


Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 11:33:15 -0500
From: Wendy <sdwiebe@erols.com>
Good day to all,  I have a question to all of those that use felting needles. Have any of you used the Foster needles? More directly, #5236140 of Foster Needles? I would really like to know which needles every one uses. I am wanting to order some and it would be good to know the preferences before doing so.
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 16:43:06 -0600
From: Kim Schwier <pupcups@midplains.net>
I use felting needles but don't know the brand. I buy them by the pair from Susan's Fiber in WI. Are there other sources that offer a variety? I imagine that I need something heavier than what I have when I work with Karakul.
From: S1659@aol.com
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 11:58:33 EST
Hi! my name is Gail Gohan and I'm from South Florida.This past weekend I and several of our dollmaker friends attended a doll workshop with Patti Culea. She had a wonderful "tool" aka as the "the felting Needle" which when used really helped with styling our mohair as hair on our cloth dolls.Patti bought hers when she attended Doll U in Oakland California and didn't have the source so that we could ordered the needles. I hope that you can help us find these wonderful needles. They look like a dagger ( very,very sharp) the top looks like the top of a small allen wrench and then the rest of the needle graduates down to the point. There are 4 small indentations towards the base, I would say approximately 2-3" above the sharp point of the needle. I know that Patti paid $3.00 for one needle.
From: Pam" <goldenfleece@gorge.net>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 09:50:40 -0800
Hello Gail, I received my felting needles from Atelier in the U.K. at what I thought was a reasonable price. Don't have the URL for their web site but their e-mail is blythe-lord@atelier.demon.co.uk Also there is a feltmakers' FAQ page /feltlistFAQ.html and check out feltneedles.


Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 15:53:04 -0800
From: Mary & Bob Cecil <mcecil@mail.snowcrest.net>
I just purchased felting needles from The Weavers' Cottage.    info@weaverscottage.com  Great service and the cost was .50 each plus shipping <and tax in Calif.>
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000 10:01:27 -0800
From: Rebecca Lavell <Lavell@telus.net>
Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am now carrying felting needles. The cost is $ 0.75 per needle for singles. I have designed and had made a multiple needle tool (six needles) in a circular metal holder fits very comfortably in your hand and is light weight, the needles are easily replaceable, this is available for $60, excellent for doing large projects. Rebecca Lavell; 26289 96th Ave; Maple Ridge; BC V2W 1K3; Canada; (604) 462-8539 (All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars.)

Date: Tue, 02 May 2000 09:18:00 -0400
From: Sharon Costello <springhollow@earthlink.net>
I sell the needles as do several other people on the list. Mine are $6.00 for 6 needles with instructions and postage included. Mail check to Black Sheep Designs, PO Box 56, Rensselaerville, NY 12147 I also offer quantity discounts for 80 or more needles.
From: fiberbender@webtv.net (jill)
Date: Mon, 1 May 2000 19:47:14 -0400 (EDT)
I get my needles from: Suzanne Van Natter; 6382 Joy Road; Dexter, Michigan; 48130
From: spark@peak.org (Pat Spark)
Date: Fri., 19 May 2000
I have not mentioned that it works really well with felting needles, if you lay your felt item that you are needling on, upon a piece of dense foam rubber. This saves your hands and also helps prevent the needle from breaking if it hits against something hard.

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Patricia Spark
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