In the days leading up to my discovery of The New Awesome Job, I was playing around with my needle felting. I can’t fully express how addicting it really is, watching a lump of fuzzy stuff turn into a recognizable object. Now, I’ve got a long ways to go before I can do something like Jen Scheer’s Hubble Telescope, but I think I’m coming along nicely.
I started off with the little blue bird, who made me smile so much I gave him to a friend to brighten her day, too. Then I made the snowman, complete with little felt hat. And then I brushed the cat — Zaphod Beeblebrox, the Maine Coon Cat, to be precise.
You see that brown heart in the upper right? The brown is made from Zaph’s fur. I needle felted the fur into a flat shape and then used scissors to cut out the heart, adding the final touch of a little red roving for the centre.
I was working away on a little tree when I snapped two of my three needles, so I’ll have to wait before finishing it and continuing along the way of needle felting madness. I think Zaph, who loathes being brushed, just let out a sigh of relief.
Look what I made!
Isn’t he adorable?!
And I only drew blood once!
Needle felting in 3D is a little more challenging than doing a flat project. First of all, on a flat piece, the strands of fibre that follow the needle into the block get hidden when you sew it onto something, whereas in a 3D project, they tend to come out somewhere on the figure. As a result, I have some stray black fibres on my little white sheep’s back. I’m sure that there’s a way around this (and it might just be a matter of a different felting block than this beginner’s chunk of plastic foam), and that with practice, it will be less of a problem.
Secondly, it’s much easier to stab oneself when you’re holding something between your fingers and jabbing a needle in between, instead of stabbing down into a block. Just sayin’.
But self-maiming aside, I think it’s safe to say that, after just two projects (the flower patch below and now my little friend here), I officially have a new means of creative expression.
I absolutely love needle felting!
You know how sometimes you see a particular type of handwork and it just calls to you? Well, a couple of years ago, I saw some needle-felted miniature figures (a 1:12 scale teddy bear for a dollhouse caught my eye, if I’m remembering correctly). Anyway, about a year ago, I was getting some fabric cut at WalMart and I saw a needle felting kit in the clearance bin. So I fished it out, brought it home, stuck it on a shelf, and avoided it for a while. (You know how I am with trying new things. Look how long it took me to bind those hooked projects, eh?)
Well, one of the things I’m trying to learn in my little space in the Market is to be brave. In fact, I have a little ATC self-portrait that says “I’m invincible!” stuck on the wall. (Not sure I believe it yet, but hey.) So I’ve been taking this little kit back and forth to the Market every day this past week, and finally on Friday, I opened it up to give it a try. And I loved it!
I don’t really care to examine the implications of how immensely satisfying I found repeatedly stabbing something small, soft and squishy. But wow — is it ever fun! The project I was doing was only two-dimensional, not three, but it’s just so cool how the fibres bind together. And it’s fast, too!
There are so many ideas floating around in my head. I have a little bit of the roving left, so I might try to make something else — just improvise. The kit had a little plastic foam block that I pretty much stabbed to the point of obliteration, but I have seen supplies in a couple of local shops.
And I am pleased to report that no fingers were maimed in the production of my first needle-felted project. (Isn’t it awesome? :))