Needle Felting with Yarn



Yarn was my entry into the world of fiber art. Before I learned to weave or knit, I learned how to spin yarn. It gave me an deep connection with the animals who produce my wool, and it allowed me to make the kind of yarn I wanted (but couldn’t find) for my projects.

Over the years I have produced a lot of yarn. I’ve knitted with it, woven cloth and tapestries with it, used it to accent my mixed media textile art, given it to friends, and I’ve sold the vast majority of it. So, I thought I had a handle on all of the novel ways you could use yarn, especially in art.

Last month I was prepping to teach my usual monthly program, Fast and Easy Fiber Arts, at the Hereford Library. I’d decided that my January program would be “yarn painting.’ I was loosely basing this on the amazing yarn art produced by the Huichol people of Mexico. They use very fine yarn and beeswax to produce images. But my program is an hour and a half so there was no way we could try the authentic way to do this. After experimenting with glue and MDF board, I had the sudden inspiration (Thank you, Barbara!) to try needle felting the yarn onto a linen fabric. It worked!

Most of my programs are based on based on needle felting. My participants just love it, and I love the effects you can produce with just a needle and a bit of wool. As I mentioned, I do use yarn accents in my mixed media art, but it’s almost always a single ply. The 2-4 ply yarns I used in the piece above add texture and movement and I can see a lot of possibilities for use in future art work. The piece above is based on a photo of Daphne, one of my Jacob ewes, and made entirely from commercial yarn. I’ve already started sketching for another, larger piece that will be created entirely from my handspun yarn. Yes, it will probably be another of my critters. 🙂

I’ll post some WIP pics once I’ve made some progress.



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