When my sister came to visit one of our objectives was to learn as much as we could about needle felting and working with roving.
I had bought two mini roving kits from Dimensions. One Dimensions Needlecrafts Needle Felted Character Kit, Snowman for making a snowman (shown above) and Dimensions Needlecrafts Needle Felted Character Kit, Penguin for making a penguin (also shown above) that I thought would be a good introduction into working with the fiber so we started there.
We just wanted to get the feel of the fiber and how easy or hard it would be to work with before we embarked on our free style hand creations and working with the molds we had bought. I took the snowman and my sister took the penguin.
The snowman was a no felting mold necessary kit that came with the wool roving (white, black, orange, and blue), felting needle, felting mat, embroidery needle, thread and step-by-step instructions. It called for twigs for arms which were not included.
The instructions were easy to follow and warned that the single felting needle was sharp, which it certainly was as evidenced by the two photo's below where it actually drew blood on my finger. This is definitely not a kit or craft for small children. The needles are just to sharp and when you prick yourself it really hurts.
Basically, the idea was to form three felted balls for the snowman and felt the three balls together. To felt the balls you rolled the white roving into a small ball using the guide they provided for their size and kept inserting the single felting needle into the ball until it was firm, round and the size required. This is accomplished by holding the roving in your fingers and inserting the single felting needle into the roving while trying not to prick yourself or inserting the roving into the felting while rolling the ball on the enclosed foam board. Again, the objective is to not prick your fingers which is easier said than done.
To felt the balls together you keep inserting the single felting needle through the top ball into the ball below it until the roving is felted together and will not pull apart. It's quite amazing how strong the roving gets and how well weaved it is when you've done this.
The next step was to form the orange carrot nose using the roving provided and trying not to prick yourself. I ended up creating several noses before I got one small enough to fit my snowman's head. Then you position the nose on the face and using the single felting needle gently felt the nose into the white roving of the head.
After this they wanted you to thread the needle and embroidery floss to create the snowman's eyes and mouth. I opted instead to roll tiny balls of the black roving and then gently needle felt them into the head for his eyes and mouth. I thought this would look better than the thread.
Next they wanted you to roll the black felt between your fingers to create two tiny buttons for his chest and then needle felt them into the middle ball. I created three black balls for this and needle felted two into the middle ball for his chest and one in the center of the bottom ball.
The blue ear muffs came next. Again, you rolled the blue roving into a small ball the size shown on the snowman pattern and needle felted them until they were firm. I pricked my fingers several times doing this.
Once they were firm the instructions were to needle felt them into the sides of the head for the ear muffs.
Following this the instructions called for using the enclosed embroidery floss to create the ear muffs band. I opted instead to roll and needle felt the blue roving until I got a flat band that was long enough for the band. Then I gently needle felted the ends of the band into the top sides of the ear muffs that I had already felted onto his head.
The pattern suggested using twigs for the arms and gluing them to the sides for arms. I opted to use small cinnamon sticks for my snowman's arms and glued them into the sides for arms.
I was pleased with how my needle felted snowman came out. It didn't look exactly like the Dimensions picture, but it looked good none the less and I was happy with it.
Both my sister and I felt that the two Dimensions kits were a good introduction into needle felting, getting used to using the needle, and working with roving. Everything came with the kit so there was no need to buy anything else just to give needle felting a try.
As mentioned, my sister needle felted the penguin from the Dimensions Needlecrafts Needle Felted Character Kit, Penguin (also shown above) so she'll have to blog about her experience with that.