Q. Where can I buy your gnomes, homes, and animals?
A. You can purchase our full line of one-of-a-kind felted goods at the shows and festivals listed in our upcoming events page. Our needle felting kits, needle tools, and wool are available here on our website. Assorted gnomes, trolls, rock monsters, gnome homes, mushrooms, and animals are also available on our website. Please feel free to contact us for specific and custom requests.
Q. What is needle felting?
A. In the early 1980’s David and Elanor Stanwood used a barbed needle from an industrial felting factory to develop needle felting as a handcraft. Needle felting has since become a popular fiber arts craft. 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 (2-6) in a hand-held tool, these needles are used to sculpt the wool fiber. The barbs catch the scales on the fiber 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.
Q. Do I need a foam work surface?
A. You will need a surface to work on. Felting needles are sharp and will damage your table top, lap and hands without a surface to protect them. We sell 2 foam pad sizes, both sizes are 2" thick, the large pad is 7"x8", and small pad is 5"x5. We work exclusively on our large foam pad. You can opt to work on a piece of upholstery foam, or a large sponge, just make sure it is at least 1.5" thick or your needle are likely to punch right through it.
Q. Do you use water?
A. No. Unlike the more common wet felting that uses hot water and soap to bind wool fibers into a strong fabric (imagine that favorite wool sweater you threw in the washing machine by mistake and now fits your child’s doll), needle felting requires no water or soap. Wool fabric is created with just the repetitive poking of a felting needle into wool batt. It is a truly remarkable process, easy to learn, quick to do, and creates delightful results.
Q. What is a felting needle?
A. The felting needle was developed in the late 1800’s for industrial use in making sheet felt. Felting needles are made from carbon steel and are 21/2”-31/2” long. The “working zone” is the bottom third of the needle. Typically this bottom third of the felting needle is triangular in shape, having three edges that contain a series of barbs cut in these edges. Felting needles come in assorted sizes, gauges, and barb configurations. These barbs catch and move the wool fibers as the needle is repeatedly jabbed into a fiber mass. The number, spacing, depth and angle of the barbs (and the needle guage) dictate how the needle works and hence what it is best used for.
Q. Is needle felting difficult?
A. Imagine holding a needle and repeatedly stabbing into your pillow – does that seem difficult? If you answer no, then you should have no trouble mastering needle felting! The difficult part will be stopping once you get started!
Q. How long does it take to make a gnome?
A. In our classes we find it takes a new felter about 2 and half hours to finish their first gnome. Obviously the larger the project the more time and poking it takes. If you enjoy quick results, begin with a modestly sized project like our original Gnome Kit. While smaller items can felt more quickly, they are more difficult to hold onto and result in more finger injuries, get some practice before you tackle an extremely large or small project.
Q. What’s the best kit to start with if you’ve never needle felted before?
A. We recommend our Original Gnome Kit to the novice felter. It is a great beginner project as gnomes are a fantasy creature and free us from creating something “realistic”. It includes easy to follow instructions, and because it makes 2 gnomes you get to use your new found skills to create a second gnome after your test run on the first!
Q. What is the difference between roving and batting?
A. Fiber artists and hand spinners use a drum carder to make batts that they use for felting, spinning, and other projects. These carders can also be used to make batts that are a blend of multiple fiber types or a blend of fiber colors. Wool batts are created by layering thin layers of wool in alternating directions.
A roving is a long and narrow bundle of fiber. It is usually used to spin woolen yarn. A roving can be created by carding the fiber, and it is then drawn into long strips.
We use Batts for our kits as they are better suited to needle felting. Because the fibers are already layered in alternating directions it is easier to form it into 3 dimensional shapes. Roving certainly can be used as well for needle felting, but because the fibers are all aligned in the same direction, it can be difficult to not have your figures have a “wrapped” look.
Q. Are the gnomes sewn together?
A. One of my favorite things about needle felting is that no sewing is required or used (aside from the occasional bead embellishment – which is of course optional). All felted pieces are attached to one another using just the felting needle. You will see in our instructions that all individual parts have an un-felted end that is used for attaching it to another piece. If sewing is not your friend, needle felting is a great craft for you!
Q. Do you sell your felting kits wholesale to stores?
A. We welcome wholesale inquiries from yarn and craft stores interested in carrying our kits in their shop. Please visit our contact page and we will send you our wholesale program information.