In a previous post, I mentioned how much I’ve enjoyed the process of felting, but even though I have a running list of projects I’d like to attempt in the future, the concept itself recently began to lose its luster. And that’s when I remembered the embellishing power of needle felting!
Almost six years ago now, a friend of mind had introduced me to this intriguing craft, which is the method of bonding wool fibers together via a barbed needle. Projects can be two-dimensional, as in pictures or symbols on a previously felted backdrop, or three-dimensional, as in stand-alone sculptures. At the time, I eagerly bought a package of barbed needles, brought them home, tucked them away in my knitting cart…and ignored them for the next half-decade. A few weeks ago, I finally gathered up my courage, removed one of those “brand-new” needles from its plastic home and put it to good use. Now I’m wondering why it took me so long to give it a whirl! Though the prospect of jabbing a needle into a woolen foundation may sound intimidating (don’t prick your finger!), it’s actually quite easy and somewhat cathartic. It’s also hard to mess up, because until you’ve thoroughly bonded the different pieces of wool together, you can pull them apart and start over. (At least, that has been my experience.)
Once I conquered my initial trial run using wool yarn (see the above picture), I took a deep breath and embellished my iPhone case, which I had previously knitted and then felted. The brown and green colors are pieces of yarn and the light and dark blues are pieces of roving. When I wore it to Bible study a few days later, one of my girlfriends liked it so much, she asked for a case of her own. A week later, I gave her the one featuring a cross, a heart and a purple lily, which is a blend of two pictures I came across on the Internet (her case has a pocket for ear buds, thus the break you see in the pattern).
I find these phone cases make the perfect project to have at hand when I’m in the car for a measly ten-minute drive or when I don’t want to (or don’t have the luxury to) think long and hard about my stitches: Using the Magic Loop method, they are quick and easy to knit and once felted, they provide a great “canvas” upon which to try more needle-felted embellishments!
Still quite the novice at this craft, I prefer to work with yarn as opposed to roving, for to me it seems more controllable and malleable. That said, I’m sure a future project is out there just waiting to entice me to change my mind.
After all, I have yet to try my hand at a 3D sculpture.