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Machine Needle Felting a Wool Collage

Machine Needle Felting a Wool Collage

I have begun another class at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center in LaConner, WA. The class is Advanced Experimental Stitch 301 and lasts for two years. Our first session was all about color, dyeing and then creating different fabric collages in a variety of color schemes. If you want to follow all of my progress and homework, you can take a look at my Permutations in Fiber site.

I decided I wanted to try a few of the color schemes in felt. I could use up some printed felt that were samples from my online courses and also use my Janome needle felting machine that has been languishing in a corner of my studio for years. A win-win!

I started out with a dark violet background and then cut out two partial printed leaf shapes and three circles from orange printed felt. The color scheme is violet, orange and green. It is hard to see the violet and green since they are both such dark values.

First I had to unearth my needle felting machine buried under a ton of stuff. I should have taken a photo of the buried machine but didn’t think of that in time. I began by felting in the two leaves. Since everything was felt, the machine handled it very well. The only issue is the edges get a little wonky and you need to start from the outside edge and work in. The felt leaf shrinks as you go and will get all bunched up if you try to needle felt down the outside edges first.

Here is the end result. The photo on the left shows the front side. Because the felt is printed, it is white underneath and I didn’t like the white showing through so much. I turned it over (middle photo), and liked the back side much better. But still a little too much white. What to do? I have no problem with mixing medias so I found an orange and green Sharpie and just added a little ink to the wool to get the colors the way I wanted them (right photo).

On to adding a little hand stitching with hand dyed thread. I had originally planned to do chain stitch and cover the green and orange completely with chain stitch as a filling stitch. But then I decided I like the colors of the mottled orange and green. So I stuck with just outlining. For the leaves I used stem stitch. I could add some veining in the leaves but decided to leave it as is for now. It’s not a color scheme I use all that often but I like it. Do you try different color schemes? Or do you stick with your favorite colors?


Is it Really Unfeltable?

Is it Really Unfeltable?

A while back I had purchased a bunch of scarves from thrift shops and some sample fabrics from the fabric store.  All passed the “breath test” but some did not felt when I did samples.  I wrote about it here:

Since we have been going thru our UFOs for the last quarter challenge, I came across these samples again and decided to try something different and use my Simplicity Needle Felting machine which sits idle because I’ve never got a handle on how to use it.

So I took the three felted samples I thought would felt and didn’t and ran them through the needle felting machine with all 12 needles.  As you can see on the gold piece moving the machine back and forth created a shirring pattern.  But that particular piece the the fabric is so stiff it made for a very spiky texture on both the front and back.

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Here are the backs:



The flower scarf was the one I thought sure would wet felt. After the needle felting, it was a little stiff, but not as bad as the gold.  The green sparkly piece was also a little stiff but only on the top.

Since they were already wet felted. I tried another sample on prefelt of each of them. I also tried using hand felting, the needles just bounced off the fabrics. So, back to the machine. Then I wet felted it.


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It was still very coarse on the gold organza, but the other two were fine.  I still wasn’t satisfied because it seemed like 12 needles was overkill. So, I took out six of them and tried again on another prefelt then wet felting it afterward.


Here are some closeups:

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I guess the bottom line is that if you really want to felt something, there are ways to do it.  However, the “hand” of the fabric may be more important for the final project than just being able to felt it. I suppose I could have used a coarser fiber, but for nuno I think softer (merino) is better.  After all you don’t really want to shave nuno felt.

I’ve found that sampling is definitely worth the time especially with the unknown.  What has your experience been?  Have you used a needle felting machine?  What is your experience?

Just a note:  Rosiepink, Lyn and Annie are having a give away of three copies of their revised pdf “Creating Felt Art.”  Their information is always organized and they give wonderful examples, photos and step by step instructions.  You can enter to win and get more information here:

Good luck!







Felted Cityscape

Felted Cityscape

I was asked about my cityscape in gallery so  I thought I would tell you about it. I made it about 3 years ago so there are no pictures of it going together .  The base is wet felted. There are 2 layers of merino, then a layer of cotton gauze and then 2 more layers of merino. I added the cotton gauze to make sure it wouldn’t sag when the temperature and humidity goes up.  I do live in Canada and although many people think its cold here all the time the summer temperature gos up above 85 frequently and we get high humidity to go with it.  I also wet felted several rectangles in diferant colours for the buildings and the windows. To put it together I used a little feltcraft needle felting machine.

small feltcraft needlfelting machine.

I placed all the buildings on the background and then tacked them in place by hand. Just a few quick jabs to keep them where I wanted them. I then went over all over them thoroughly with the little machine. I only broke a few needles.

I put the windows in with a single  needle first. I was afraid they would disappear if the corners were not well anchored.  Then went over them again with the machine.  The moon and the haze around it where put in the same way.  The stars are pearl beads, hand stitched to the background . Originally I wanted to sell this one so I made a smaller one to keep. I ended up keeping them both. I never did  offer it for sale. The moon in the smaller picture isn’t actually blue. the felt I used to make it was quite thin and the black showing through it makes it look blueish.

wet and machine felted aprox 20×15
wet and machine felted picture aprox 10×10
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