Update Your Wardrobe Cheaply With Needle Felting

I made a vow with myself several years back: I Will Not Get Into Needle Felting. I figured I had enough "hobbies" (let's just be honest and call them "obsessions," shall we?) and I didn't want any more reasons to spend money that might detract from my knitting stash expansion efforts. Plus…I know myself. I love all things crafty. I just thought it wise not to add one more obsession to my already craft-crazed psyche.

That said…I've had these really warm and comfy felted slippers for a while, but they've started looking rather ratty and stained. Despite their embarrassing appearance, I love them and can't bear to give them up.

This week, as I was reading about different ways to Be Crafty On A Budget, I kept reading about embellishing clothes you already had: with sewn-on ribbons, with little knitted or crocheted flowers…and with needle felting. Suddenly, needle felting was everywhere I looked. And one day, I was pulling on my beloved battered felted booties and imaging them with little pink needle-felted birds on them….that's when I realized I was doomed. The time had come for me to try needle felting and see if it was something I might want to embrace in my crafty, obsessional repertoire.

I borrowed mats and needle tools from a friend, and then, because I'm a bookish sort, I pulled out the new needlefelt book we published this Spring, Simply Needlefelt. I read through the book last Saturday, thinking it would be all about arsty-but-impossible things done with lots of sheep fuzz. Wow, was I ever wrong! Did you know you can needle felt with yarn? Using a cookie cutter to make shapes? I thought of that little pink bird and immediately raided my husband's baking cupboard–and lo and behold, he had a birdie cookie cutter!

Two hours later, I had my little pink birdies on the slippers, each sitting on a tuft of green grass; the tatty old tops of the booties had been folded down and needle-felted with a simple braid of thick grey yarn.

The result charms me completely and has kept me from having to toss out something I loved; it has also saved my budget, because now I don't have to make or buy new slippers!

I was surprised at how easy needle felting was. And you know, there's something kind of therapeutic about sticking needles into something over and over. (Think about this. You'll see what I mean.)

I have an old grey wool skirt from my corporate drone days…I think that skirt could use some quality needle felting time to pretty it up a bit.

Enjoy. And let me know if you've caught the needle-felting bug!

— Sandi


Curious about needle felting and want to learn more about how it's done?

Simply Needlefelt by Jayne Emerson is a great introduction to this addictive and enjoyable craft. The tools are inexpensive, and you can use all kinds of scraps and yarns you already have to brighten up everything from old wool jackets to hats and home decor. (I really want to try the french press cozy in here, since I have recently become a french press coffee snob.) I was amazed at all the little tricks and tips Jayne has in this book which I had never seen before…and Jayne, I gotta say that it's your fault that I am now eyeing my old clothes and thinking, hm, how can I stick some needles into those to make them look better?

Look for Simply Needlefelt at your local yarn shop, or purchase it online from us.



Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? I started and finished a one-skein hat, and then needlefelted my booties this weekend! Two quick-and-pretty successes make me feel ready to go back and tackle a few of my other, longer-term projects with fresh energy.


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