Felting needles come in three basic shapes: spiral, star, and triangle
The number of barbs on felting needles varies: the more barbs the quicker the felting, while less barbs will give you more accuracy in fine detail work.
The gauge refers to the diameter, the higher the number the finer the needle.
Needle felting is a fibre art that uses small barbed needles which, when pierced through wool roving, catch the scales of fibre matting them together.. Piercing repeatedly and from different directions, the fibres matt tightly, eventually turning the wool into felt. When formed and pierced the result is a felt sculpture. I use a variety of needles and techniques to create sculptures, add texture, colour, and decoration in my work.
As a horticulturalist I’m somewhat obsessively interested in plants and watching things grow. It makes sense my gardens find their way into my felting (hopefully not through dirty hands!). Flowers, birds, bees, and leaves, and of course using fallen branches from my oak tree as mobile hangers – it all inspires me.
Star felting needles have barbs on four sides.
36 gauge – used with coarse wool for joining, firming, and sculpting
38 gauge – much like the 36 but used with fine wool, and for more detail – generl use needle, good for both larger sculpting and fine details
Spiral (Twisted) felting needles have barbs that wrap around the needle.
38 and 40 gauge – for finishing work, best for smoothing the surface, a quick felting needle
Triangular felting needles have barbs on three sides.
32 gauge – sturdy needle good for working with coarse fibres and firmly attaching pieces
36 gauge – used for attaching pieces and working in larger pieces, or attaching parts
38 gauge – for sculpting and detail work, use with finer wool (not good with coarse fibres)
40 gauge – a fine needle for detail work and surface smoothing
42 gauge – a super fine needle used for adding fine pieces of wool (wisps, hair, lettering, decoration)
Wool fibre is measured by its diameter in micrometres, or microns. Fine, super soft fibres have a smaller diameter and therefore a smaller micron count. Finer fibres have lower numbers, coarser fibres have higher numbers.
I source my wool from some of the the best suppliers in North America. My retail wool comes from Ashland Bay and is gorgeous superfine 21.5 micron top merino. This is the wool found in all my felting kits, as well as wool only complimentary kits for those who already have the instructions, and tools. I have wool for sale at my fibre arts supply store in Thunder Bay, ON in just about any colour and any weight. (Price list coming soon.)
I use fine and superfine merino wool between 16 and 21.5 micron for beautifully soft creations.
My needle felting kits in Thunder Bay, ON include everything you need to complete the project. Each kit has a variety pack of felting needles, a foam work surface, leather finger protectors, and a generous supply of superfine top merino wool.