Spring has burst forth in full regalia here in Southern California. the trees are so pretty in their pinks and whites and magentas. And the birds have started to busy themselves building nests.
Spring is full of crafting inspiration and we have been making pretty needle felted spring nests too.
One of the things I love most about needle felting is that it can be a wonderfully quick and easy craft. You can sit down with a basket of wool and be holding a delightful spring nest in your hands in just a few minutes.
Needle felting requires three tools :
- wool roving
- a felting needle
- a protective foam board.
Wool roving looks a bit like cotton candy. When the sheep is sheered, the fleece is washed and dried and then it is ’carded’ – brushed so that all the knots and clumps are brushed out and the fibers of the wool all run the same way. It is then dyed… any wonderful color under the sun. This roving can then be spun into yarn (for knitting) or it can be felted with a needle.
The protective foam board is not always necessary but it is definitely recommended when you are learning to needle felt. The needle is very sharp and if you don’t have a board upon which to steady your work, you will find yourself painfully stabbed more than once.
The felting needle is about 3 inches long. It is very sharp. The tip of the needle has a number of small barbs and it is these barbs that felt the wool. You can see the barbs if you look closely at the tip of your needle. The outer surface of each fiber of wool has tiny, microscopic scales on it. When the fiber is agitated, the scales hook into one another, forming a tighter and tighter mass. The barbs of the needle ‘grab’ the fibers as you stab it into the wool, depositing the fibers deeper. The little scales on the fibers lock together, ensuring that the fibers stay in their new place. By stabbing the wool hundreds of times you can shape the wool into any form you wish.
DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest
You will need :
- green and blue wool felt (found online or at a craft store)
- a needle felting needle (found online or at a craft store)
- a foam 4cm ball (found at a craft store)
Pull the green wool into a strip about the length of your hand, palm to fingertips, with a width the same as the tip of your thumb. Roll this strip of wool evenly around the bottom half of the foam ball.
Carefully stab the needle around the outside of the nest, poking the needle through the wool and into the foam. It is important to stab the needle in and out of the wool at the same angle. Changing the angle as you pull the needle out of the wool will increase your chance of breaking the needle as you work.
Evenly needle felt the inside of the nest.
Remove the foam ball from the nest by pulling it free. The nest will hold it’s shape but it will be very fuzzy. Using the protective foam pad, needle felt the nest, on the inside and the outside. The more you needle felt the nest, the less fuzzy it will become.
Pull the blue wool roving into a strip about the length and thickness of your index finger. Knot it in the center as you would a length of string. Fluff out one end of the knot, smooth it down over the knot and needle felt it evenly, rounding the end of the knot into a ball. Do the same with the other end of the knot to form a needle felted ball.
Make three Needle felted eggs to put into the your nest.
NOTE : For those of you who want to decorate your home for spring with your own needle felted nests, I have put together a DIY kit to make three spring nests in shades of green, available for purchase for $26 in The Magic Onions Shop : DIY Needle Felted Spring Nest Kit.
My children and I picked a few spring branches to put in a vase (here’s a tutorial for making our rainbow yarn vase). We carefully placed our needle felted nests in the twigs and added some feather butterflies for whimsy.
Beauty is all around us and inside us, all of the time.
Blessings and magic,