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Needle-Felted Pillows

Lynne Farris shares her process for needle felting pillows.

Project by Lynne Farris.

Felting is an ancient method of creating a nonwoven fabric by entangling wool fibers so that they become permanently joined. It is thought that ancient nomadic tribesmen discovered felt when they placed layers of wool fleece under their saddles for extra comfort. The agitation of the saddle against the fleece as they rode through the desert caused the fleece to entangle or to become felted.

Some felting methods require wetting of the wool fibers then agitating to cause the fibers to felt. In this simplified method of needle felting, no water is required. Instead, a simple burred needle is inserted through the fibers. Small burrs on the fibers catch on the burrs of the needle and are drawn through so that the fibers become "mechanically entangled."

You can easily create these unique artisan-style felted pillows that are sure to become a favorite accent in any decor.

Materials and Tools:

wool sweater or 1/2 yard wool fabric
100% wool roving or yarn
pre-made pillow form or polyester filling
foam slab for work surface
felting needles
sewing machine or needle and thread
scissors
washing machine and dryer
1/4 cup baking soda
quilting pins

Steps:

1. Remove any buttons and trim from the sweater. Wash in the machine in a hot/cold cycle with 1/4 cup of baking soda and then dry in an automatic dryer on high.

2. Remove sleeves and/or collar at seams and cut open body of sweater to create large flat pieces.

3. Trace and cut out front and back of pillow, adding 1/2" seam allowances all around.

4. Place pillow front onto foam slab and pin in place with quilting pins.

5. Arrange roving or yarn on pillow front in desired pattern, keeping in mind that areas of color will appear smaller once they are felted to the surface.

6. Hold felting needle vertical to fabric surface and pierce repeatedly to attach roving to pillow front.Repeat as necessary until desired effect is obtained. Colors may be added and layered over previous layers if desired to create texture and more complex designs.

7. When design is complete, arrange pillow front and pillow back with right sides facing and sew together, leaving an opening for turning. Turn right side out.

8. Fill with pillow form or polyester fiberfill. Sew closed by hand.

9. As a finishing touch, apply wool roving or yarn around seam using same felting technique.

Felting needles, tools and supplies are available from the guest via the information below.

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