Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Needle Felting the Imari Tiger: Tools and Sources

Tiger, Wool Roving and Tools

My small version of the Imari Timeless Tiger has arrived from Leigh Designs!  I put him on stretcher bars and pulled out all my wool roving colors to try and find the best match to his rust coat color.  What you see above are the best matches.  I unrolled the dark brown on the left so you could see what wool roving looks like better.   (Before I forget, the design itself is six inches in diameter on 18 count canvas.)

I am not sure you can tell from the photograph but the labels of the wool roving brands read Dimensions and FeltWorks.  Those two along with Artiste are the brands available at the big box crafts emporiums in my area.  The unlabeled baggies were a gift from a knitting friend (Hi, Marj!) who picked them up at a crafts fair, I think.  

Disclaimer:  I know nothing about any of the sites I am mentioning in this article (except for Dharma Trading which has a good reputation among those who dye their own threads, and Thread Gatherer which is well known as a source for wonderful threads), so buyer beware. 

I can't tell any difference in the wool roving sold under the various brand names, but the hand dyed wool my friend sent me is much nicer.  It is softer and the colors are better.  Etsy is a good source for good quality wool roving if you really get into needle felting in a big way or if you have to mail order your supplies anyway and want a less common color.  Here is the first Etsy shop I came across with a nice selection of wool roving but there are quite a few more.

The Thread Gatherer also sells packets of wool roving that are overdyed if you want a more subtle look without having to blend two or more colors on your own.

This website seems to cater to the needle felting and spinning enthusiast.  It has an amazing range of fiber sources!

I asked Sandy Arthur about the tool brand she prefers since she has a lot more needle felting experience than I do.  Sandy says she likes the Clover brand the best.  Clover tools come with a felting block (the thing you put under whatever you are going to felt to protect your table) that looks more like a brush than the styrofoam-looking thing I own.  They also come in single and multiple needle forms.  Here is the multi-needle tool. It comes with a "finger guard" to keep you from needle felting yourself.

Here is the pen style with multiple needles.

Here is the single needle tool.,5884.html

Here is the Clover felting mat.

As you can see my needles are set into a plastic handle which helps grip it with less hand cramping while you poke and prod your wool roving.  Many needles are bare, though.  I think a handle of some sort is a good idea myself.  But be careful buying needles. You want the ones with a barbed point that will go through the holes in 18 count canvas.  Some felting needles are designed for needle felted 3-D animals and they have star shaped ends, not points.

I think from my experience with the small single felting needle that the tools with multiple needles will make needle felting go faster but I will stick with my single needle because my tiger's tail is small--about five threads wide and six threads high.  That's about a third of an inch.  I don't want to keep punching the canvas on either side of the tail with the bare needles.  So if you are considering needle felting a piece with small detailed areas, you might want to use single needles.  If you are interested in speed and have a large area without much detail to needle felt, the multiple needle set will work well.

Remember, these needles are thin and barbed.  Not only are they dangerously sharp and barbed, they break easily.  If you are trying to choose between the brands of kits available to you,  a kit with spare needles is a good investment.

My thanks to Sandy and Marj for their help and advice and Ruth Schmuff for her tips on needle felting.  No stitcher can tackle something new without the help of their friends.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© July 20, Copyright 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Needlepointers Anonymous

A great many people do an ornament each year for family members to celebrate something unique and fun that happened in their lives that year.  Very few of them are as inventive in finding that special something as Diane!

And very very few admit to belonging to Needlepointers Anonymous, but I am a charter member.  Canvases whisper to me all the time!

(Mostly they say "Buy Me."  Sigh.  See you all in the Poor House.)

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright June 12, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.