These photos were all taken in my backyard this afternoon. It was too nice of a day to stay
inside, though I wasn't really in the mood for the REAL work that needs to be done outside. Weeding, thinning, fertilizing and more weeding. Where did my restorative indoor time go?
Winter is one of my favorite seasons because everything seems to pause and take a long, deep breath. It seems as though my pace is about to pick up, ready or not!
You can choose any size of needle that you want. I usually start with a #36 or #38 and then switch to #40 for finish work. You will find the right combination for yourself as you practice.
Here you see the beginning product. This is wool roving. This particular example has been dyed and is ready to use. When you buy roving, it will usually arrive in a small plastic bag. Some producers roll it in a big ball, some fold it, and some just stuff it in the bag and send it to you. As you get to know new sources for wool, you will find the person/establishment that has the product you like best. I have found, however, that it doesn't matter all that much. I DO know that I prefer coarser, carded wool batts for needlefelting. If the item you are thinking about purchasing says Merino tops, don't get it. I LOVE Merino, don't get me wrong, but it is easier to wet felt it than needle felt. It is too fine and soft. I have needled it successfully....it just takes a long time to get a smooth finish.
A little wool goes a long way. It is very easy to add more wool if you misjudged the amount needed for the size of the creation you are making. It is REALLY a pain if you start with too much and have to try and re size it later. Err on the side of conservatism.
Gently pull a strip of wool from your batt. It should pull apart fairly easily. Too add more, just lay the new amount right on top of the old one.
Keep rolling and keep it tight. Trust me, you'll be glad you did! When doing a ball or cylinder shape, the tighter the roll, the faster the felt.
As a side note, I just noticed from the pictures that I am developing a major case of man hands. Too much dish-doing and wet felting, I guess! Let's see...do I have time for a manicure? NOPE!
This picture shows the needle going in fairly deep. I just wanted to illustrate that the wool will do exactly what you tell it to do. If you stab it hard, it will bind down upon itself in the area where you stabbed. If you stab really hard in one spot over and over, you will have a big indentation that will be there pretty much permanently.
This is one happy little fuzzy wool ball bead! Just a bit more refining is needed for my purposes.... It still has too many fibers sticking up.