Friday, 30 July 2010

Fiber - Not Just For Spinning!

As well as being bitten by the drop-spindling bug, I've also become interested in needle-felting :) This I blame entirely on my friend. I was totally not interested in anything felty, either wet or dry felty. Then she got shown how to do it at Twist Fiber, and made tons of lovely stuff. Then, she broke her needles and I offered to go in and get her some more (well, it was an excuse to get more fiber and yarn that I just couldn't resist!) The pack had ten needles in it, so I ended up taking some of them for myself, and experimenting with stabbing fiber. And it's awesome!

Needle-felting basically consists of getting a long needle, with some sticky-outy bits on the end, and stabbing it repeatedly into fiber. OK, that's a bit of a rubbish description. Here's a better explanation from the Wikipedia page on felt:

Needle felting is a popular fibre arts craft conducted without the use of water. Special barbed felting needles that are used in industrial felting machines are used by the artist as a sculpting tool. Using a single needle or a small group of needles (2-5) in a hand-held tool, these needles are used to sculpt the wool fibre. The barbs catch the scales on the fibre and push them through the layers of wool, tangling them and binding them together, much like the wet felting process. Fine details can be achieved using this technique, and it is popular for 2D and 3D felted work.

The first thing I made was a little 3D tree:

Needle-Felted Tree

This was so much fun to make, even though it's kinda basic and doesn't even have any leaves - I've decided it's a winter tree so I don't have to stick tiny little leaves on ;)

I love the structural aspect of 3D needle-felting. You just hold a bit of fiber next to where you want to add and stab it in. And voila, your item gains a whole other dimension! It's like magic. All those little branches just appeared and made a 3d shape!

My next project for needle-felting is more of an "art" project. I'm taking each of the four classical elements - fire, earth, air and water (and possibly adding a fifth one of life energy) and making 2D representations of them, which will be added onto some kind of art picture thing, I'm not sure yet ;) I've made air and earth already:

Needle Felted Elements: Air

Needle Felted Elements: Earth

I really like how the leaf turned out :) The cloud again is kinda basic, but it's cute :)
Learning new crafts is fun :D
These turned out to be about the same size as my hand when held straight, both length and width-wise. Felting is ideal as something to do when I'm playing video games, which is good. I'm playing Pharoah just now, which is a city-building strategy game. You have to build huge pyramids and monuments, so it can take ages to complete a level, even though your city is totally built and self-sufficient, you still have to wait for your little guys to finish building. So needle-felting is good because you can just stab away for a while, then if you have to deal with anything going on in the game, you can just stop, and then go right back to where you were without having to think of dropped stitches or where you were in a pattern. It's just a perfect fit for that aspect of my life, which is awesome :D

1 comment:

Samsara said...

It's fun isn't it! I like the way you can blend the colours together too!