Needle Felting: Ducks, Dragons, Cats, Minis, and More by Liza Adams
The line-up of adorable little needle felted creatures on the cover of this book drew me in.
I had never heard of needle felting until then, perhaps not surprising as it is still a youngster on the craft scene. Born in the 1980’s in the USA, it soon spread throughout the world to countries including Denmark, Great Britain, South Africa and Japan.
Fortuitously I spotted some miniature sheep on a shelf of a craft shop in Lyttleton when we were exploring our own backyard last week. When I looked closely at their bodies, I could just make out tiny needle marks, so I was sure they had been needle felted. They felt firmer and less fragile than I had thought they would be. Not suitable as a soft toy for a toddler but they would make great gifts for older children and friends and relations to display and enjoy.
When you needle felt you sculpt with wool. You use carded, unspun wool and needles with barbs down the sides to pull and tangle the wool into different shapes. It sounds tricky but Liza Adams’ step by step instructions with photographs at every stage makes it look quite achievable. You do have to give it your full attention as the needles are very sharp and are easily broken. Keep some sticking plasters handy!
Liza is an award-winning needle felter who lives in New Zealand and has been practising this craft for 15 years. So, she is well placed to give really good advice on the best kind of fibres, needles, mats, and other equipment to buy. Everything you need can be ordered online from NZ suppliers. I like the fact that when you are needle felting you use wool, a natural fibre, and that as in New Zealand people are outnumbered six times by sheep it is easy to shop local!
Each of the cute creatures on the cover is a project. These progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced. New techniques such as adding limbs, tails, stripes and facial features are introduced at every stage and there are also plenty of tips and ways to rescue your creature if it is not turning out quite the way you had hoped.
The first project is on how to make Character Balls. It could be fun to create one to represent each member of your family, or workmates capturing their individual personalities.
Hard to choose but my favourite project would have to be Micro Bee Bear, a tiny little winged bear with a yellow and black striped body.
As a creative person I really love the fact that unlike crafts like knitting or sewing, where you are asked to follow a pattern exactly, when you needle felt you can unleash your creativity and sculpt creations which are uniquely yours.
Reviewer: Lyn Potter
Bateman. RRP 34.99