Felting needles may be sharp, but the roving is actually the dangerous part of needle felting. Dangerous may not be the correct wording –detrimental to the budget is more accurate! With so many wonderful colors and different wools they are hard to resist!
If you are creating something small you can use dyed roving for your project. If your piece is larger, begin with core roving. Core or wool batting is roving that has been cleaned and is ready to be spun or dyed. It is less expensive than dyed roving, which is the reason to use it as the base for your piece and then layer your colored roving for your detail and finishing.
Some rovings will felt better than others. The more “wire or kink” there is to the roving, the better it will felt. If the roving is “stringy” you can do two different things with it.
First option is to use two slicker brushes (like used on dogs or cats) and card the roving. Take a small amount of the roving and comb it back and forth. You can also blend colors this way.
The second method is to steam the roving. Use a vegetable steamer and steam the roving for 10-15 minutes. You can let it cool in the steamer or you can drape it to “dry” being careful not to burn yourself or handle the hot roving too much. Steaming will put the kink back in the roving (like humidity will do to hair).
Even though core, wool batting and dyed roving has been cleaned you will still find pieces of debris in the roving. For the inner core, you don’t necessarily have to “pick” the debris out (although I do). I would suggest doing so for the finished surface. First instinct is to use your felting needle to pick the bits out – but use a regular needle for this purpose. Generally, if you use your felting needle you will bend it. If you have bent a needle, use it as your pick.
Experiment and have fun with your felting! The only limits are your own imagination.
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