10.31.2012

a Needle Felting Tutorial::
Pumpkins!

Aren't these little pumpkins adorable!  An enjoyable afternoon was spent needle felting with my daughter and I wanted to share this easy project with you.
Needle felting is a simple fiber arts technique of manipulating fibers with a felting needle and using your creative imagination.  It's an oh-so-easy, fun and quick project to create.
 
Supplies needed are: 
  • magazine (to protect your table top)
  • thick sponge
  • craft stick
  • needle felting needle (I ordered mine years ago from Deb Potter @Merciful Hearts Farm)
  • wool fiber dyed to color of choice  (in this case Kool-aid orange for our pumpkins)
  • ordinary green felt cut @1 3/4" x 1 1/2" for our pumpkin stems

First, let's look a little closer at a felting needle, photo below.  It comes in a protective sleeve, shown here at the top right.  It's about 3 1/2" long and straight, with a small hook at the top.
It is much larger and longer than a sewing needle, and a darning needle.
When you run your fingers down the needle, like the arrow shows below, it feels smooth.
When you run your fingers up the needle to the point marked as a white line, as the arrow shows below, you will feel the burrs, or roughness, manufactured into the needle.  This is what 'felts' your wool.
Okay, let's begin.
Decide how big you want your pumpkin to be and pull out that much fiber rolling it into the rough shape of a ball.  It won't stay in that shape, but that's okay.

Place your magazine on your table top, then your sponge and then on top of your sponge your wad of wool that will eventually be your pumpkin.  The sponge makes a flexible working area and the magazine protects your table from any errant needle jabs.

Move your felting needle in and out of the wool fibers randomly using an up and down motion.  Do not felt in one spot, as it will create a 'line'.

The needle only goes into the wool the depth of where the burrs are on the needle.  Check the photos above for reference - but @ 3/4" from the bottom of the needle.  The craft stick can be used to hold the fiber in place as you felt with your other hand.  After I got the hang of it, I was able to put my craft stick away and use my fingers - always conscious of where my felting needle was going.
In the photo below you can see a round shape is beginning to take shape.
Now it looks nice and round here.  But it's not as big as I wanted it to be.....
...so more fiber is pulled from my little stash and wrapped over my ball....
...needle felted right onto the ball.... remember to move your needle in and out randomly...
...now it's the size and shape I wanted.  You cannot tell where any fibers were added.
Felt to the density you want .  The more felting, the denser the object will be.
Let's work on the pumpkin stem now.  Using a pre-purchased green felt sheet from a fabric store, cut @1 3/4" x 1 1/2" piece.  Notice I'm still using the magazine with the sponge on top.
Fold the green felt into the shape you desire for your stem.  I double-folded mine.
Then felt it closed.
See why you need the sponge.  The fibers actually go into the sponge with each needle action as the fibers are felted.  I felted my entire green felt piece, turning and moving constantly as I wanted a more elongated stem shape.
Now we want to attach our stem to our pumpkin.

Place the stem at the top of your pumpkin shape, and felt it into the pumpkin by moving your needle in and out of the bottom of the stem and into/through the top of your pumpkin all 'round the bottom of the stem.  This will attach the stem to the pumpkin.  Keep felting this way until it has the 'look' you want.
We're ready to begin making our round orange ball look more like a pumpkin.

Needle felt in a straight, perpendicular line over and over your 'line' and it will create an imprint like a pumpkins.  I did 6 of these lines.  Again, the more felting done, the denser the project will be.
My little pumpkin is complete.  A little hard to see my 'pumpkin lines', but they're there.  Also, see how I felted the little green stem to give it a curvature.  From start-to-finish this took approximately one hour.
Placed with the other felted pumpkins we've made on our mantel.
Each pumpkin looks different.  Some more round than others.... some more dense than others.... but that's okay because that's what creativity is all about.
I hope you enjoyed this little needle felting tutorial and will try a needle felting project.  Deb, from Merciful Hearts Farm, has a blog that is fun to read about her family's life on their farm.  Click here to read.  She has supplies for sale and is a very talented fiber arts artist.  She is also a very nice person.   This project was adapted from one of her fiber arts lessons from years ago.  The wool I used was given to me as an entire sheep's fleece from a friend of mine that I cleaned and hand-dyed using orange Kool-aid.
~Lisa
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2 comments:

  1. GREAT tutorial, Lisa! I've never attempted needle felting but your pumpkins are so darn cute that I'm really tempted. I'll bookmark this post and bring it out again next fall. (Oh dear, I can see the whole house covered with needle felted pumpkins!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That'd be cute to see up in your neck of the woods! Thank you Mama Pea!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave a note.~Lisa

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