My 50th Needle Felting Blog Post . . .

 

Today I’m posting my 50th blog post, all about needle felting.  To commemorate the occasion I am sharing a bright red and super happy felted apple.

I have never felted fruit before, but this felt apple is so adorable.  I think I might start a whole line of play food after this!  I was so happy when it accidentally turned out the perfect “real” apple size.  I immediately imagined a happy child playing kitchen and then I thought about it as a pleasant gift for a teacher!  This apple will never rot. . .

happy needle felt apple
Usually I make felted animals and I’m happy that on my 50th post that I could share something different than normal.  I suppose that this blog might actually be inspiring me artistically.  I hope it is doing the same for you!

needle felted apple
In honor of my 50th I’m going to reintroduce myself and my interests to you.  I have five beautiful children. And although my artistic interests started with painting, I have found that oil painting and managing children is a hard combination.  As a result, I started being “artsy” in ways that were safe to be around my children and things that could benefit them.

I started with knitting and knitted everyone in my house blankets, mittens, and hats.  It took so much time to knit and the finished products were simply not that fun.  Then I progressed to amigurumi style crocheting and while it was fun and cute and playful, it still took tons of time and my fingers simply ached!

While researching my crocheting, I came across the idea of felting finished amigurumis to make them look soft, as long as they were crocheted with pure wool this cute fuzzy look could be achieved.  After a little more searching, I came across needle felting, there was no need to knit or crochet first and I could still make cute “amigurumi style” toys without all the finger aching.  Yes, I know that “amigurumi” is just a style of crochet, but I am referring to the cuteness that amigurumi crafters give to their toys.  And needle felting was the best of both worlds!

needle felted flower, monkey, fish, raccoon, chick, turtle, and hen with chick

Now I can vent my artistic side comfortably and can make adorable toys for my children.  They get to grow up seeing their mother make something with her own two hands and that is a very important thing to me!  Not to mention how fun it is.  If you have never needle felted before, please browse my site and the rest of the internet world.  If you are crafty at all, I’m sure you will be hooked!

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My Felted Toys for Springtime

I’ve been needle felting like mad the last few days.  I’ve been cooped up inside all winter and needle felting has really helped me pass the time during the cold days and nights, but enough is enough!  I broke down this week and started dreaming sweet “spring dreams”.  Here are my “spring dreams” brought to life. . . an  unbelievably sweet brown rabbit, a plump white bunny, and a yellow chick in a soft nest.
2 needle felted rabbits and a chick in a nest
Yes, I know the spring equinox is a month away, but I am so excited for the warm sunny mornings and the little delicate blooms on the trees and lawns.  Hopefully trips to the park with the children and swinging and hiking will soon follow!
felted bunnies, rabbits, and chick
I suppose I must deal with the cold nights a little while longer, but a month is a very close thing and hopefully my cheery little felt creations can brighten up and warm your day!

needle felt spring toys

Caring For and Repairing Needle Felted Toys

Early on in my blog, I shared a little white needle felted bear that I made for my daughter’s birthday.    It was a replica of a stuffed bear that she had and was meant to be a stuffed toy for her new babydoll!
needle felt animal, bear
It has now been about 6 months and my little girl has played with and cuddled this bear so much that it has turned a bit raggedy!  My daughter brought me this little bear and asked if I could fix it.  My reply-“Of course I can!”.  And yes, that is her sad little face; she was making that expression naturally-no coaxing from me.  Too Cute!
Holding an old needle felted bear
Needle felt toys are natural and a great toy for little ones; however, extremely rough play can really wear on these felties unlike their plastic equivalents.  If you simply display the felted figurines on a shelf; you need not worry about repairing.  However, any play from a child under about the age of 10 will most likely result in a bit of wear and tear on these cuties!  (I kind of like the raggedy look . . .)

a worn out and played wiht felted bear

how to repair a needle felted figurine
Have no fear; they can be repaired.  Simply stuff the felted toy in an old pair of pantyhose and tie off. Then throw it in with your next load of laundry, preferably a hot load.  When it is time to dry your laundry, dry the little toy, stocking and all.  (Please be aware that some colors may run; so be careful.  You can always grab a damp rag and rub it on an unnoticeable spot on your felted cutie to make sure it is colorfast.)

Here is my daughter’s felted bear after the wash.  He looks a bit like a soggy dog, but he is dry.  The washing smushed his ears down a bit, but other than that he is already looking much better.  In some cases, especially densely felted figures and simplified felted shapes, this is all you will need to do!
repair a needle felt toy by washing it
However if after the wash you are still not satisfied, simply grab out a felting needle and do some minor repairs.  For the bear, I mostly focused on propping those ears back up and making sure that the limbs were firmly attached.  The needle felting repair part only took me about 5 minutes to do.  And here is the little felted bear as good as new(well almost!).

a repaired needle felt toy

repairing a felted figurine

How to Make Needle Felted Ears

Today, I have been needle felting a lion toy.  As you can see, this poor lion is lacking a face and EARS! The lion will be used to demonstrate how to make needle felted ears.  There are many ways to needle felt ears and many types of ears to create; this is just one way that I use with many of my felted projects.

making a needle felted lion

With this technique, the first thing is to create a paper template of the ear. Next grab out two tufts of wool equally sized, in the choosen color for the ears.  Grabbing the right amount of wool per ear can be tricky, but you will get better at this as you practice.  Just use my picture as a guide to help you guesstimate the “right amount of wool”.  And the most important step here is that each ear has equal amount of wool; a good scale is very useful.

how to make needle felt ears

Next lay your paper template in the center of one of the tufts of wool.  Very carefully, needle felt a line around the template. I have found that the brush works better than foam for these small ears.  But foam will work too!

how to make needle felt ears

Your ear shape is now outlined on the wool.  Using the outline as a guide, fold over the extra wool towards the center of the ear.  It is now not felted, but it should be ear shaped when held in place.

making needle felted ears

Time to felt.  Lay it down, pinning the loose wool with one finger to maintain the shape.  Start needle felting until the piece is flat, be sure to leave the bottom edge unfinished.  Now flip it over and felt the other side.  Then carefully felt the very edges of the ear.  Compare the ear to your template.

how to make needle felted ears

making needle felt ears

To get a smooth finish, I sometimes use paper at this stage.  It can keep the wool from sticking too much to the foam or brush.   Place the paper on your felting brush.  With a smaller needle size felt one side of the ear.

how to make felt ears

Lift it from the paper,  place the other side of the ear up on an undamaged piece of the paper and needle felt this side.  Needle felt the very edges of the ear again.

how to make felted ears

Repeat the process with the other tuft of wool and you should have two similarly sized, same shape ears!

a pair of needle felt ears

Spread out the unfinished portion of the ear and felt to your felted project.  Here is my lion: face, EARS, and all!  He looks pretty darn cute.

needle felt zoo animal, a lion

a needle felted lion with a tail for a handle