Have you played with needle felting before? It’s SUCH a fun thing to do! As a knitter, I’ve spent so many years learning about garment care to avoid felting my projects, so there’s something a bit rebellious-feeling about intentionally stabbing the heck out of a bit of wool to turn it into this thick, dense fabric.
If you’re unfamiliar with needle felting, it is the process that utilizes wool, sharp barbed needles, and a foam block. You then use the needle to agitate the wool fibers, causing them to “lock” into place with each other. This technique can be used for SO many things! A lot of people know it as a technique used to create three-dimensional items (think those hyper-realistic animals people have made), but I adore it for things that are a little more… flat.
What do I mean by that? I mean that I genuinely love taking wool and felting it up and, essentially, painting with wool. This can mean taking a piece of fabric, sketching out a design, and then felting the wool onto the fabric to create a work of art, or it can be as simple as patching a hole in an old sweater by taking a cookie-cutter, some wool, and a felting needle and creating a fun felted “patch” and extending the life of your garment a little longer!
My current project in progress, just to give you some ideas, is transforming a really old set of linen throw pillows. These pillows have hung around with me since I first moved into my own apartment when I turned 18. They’re off-white with tan trim and are, relatively, boring. But besides the color, there wasn’t really anything wrong with them, and they’ve now become the perfect canvas for me to play with!
For my pillow transformation, I pulled some hand-dyed spinning fiber out of my stash. Now, not just any fiber will work- it needs to be wool that hasn’t been treated to make it “superwash” because you want it to felt. I had this gorgeous “Raindrops” colorway from Created By Elsie B that I just hadn’t gotten around to spinning that seemed like the right colors for the idea I had in mind, and it wasn’t treated to make it superwash, so it fit the bill!
Because this fiber was already dyed, I didn’t really need to mix anything together to create the colors I wanted. I just used the color transition as-is to form a big swath of fiber, which I then took with my needle and began felting it. After I had the purple chunk mostly tacked onto the pillow, I dug back into my stash to find some black for some funky uneven stripes. I’ll do a few more of those before I jump into another chunk of fiber to make another wide band of color and repeat the pattern down the length of the pillow.