Needle Felting Machines
I don’t know if this is the place to post this but here it goes. I have been thinking about
I don’t know if this is the place to post this but here it goes. I have been thinking about
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Just bought one for use in school - easy to use - albeit I haven't had much time to use it yet!
you just put fibres over fabric and needle punch them together - works best on felt background - but i am in process of seeing how successful on other fibres/fabrics.
You can punch in any direction.
The needles are encased in a sleeve - so little to worry about H and S wise.
Cheap to buy - see http://www.JSM-DistributionDirect.com at £170 pounds - sorry dont know what currency you use.
I saw this on Sewing With Nancy on PBS here. (Nancy Zieman from http://www.nancysnotionscom) I am hoping it can be done on denim, wouldn't it be cool on jean jackets? I look forward to learning more about it. Mary
Hi, Jan. Thanks for the reply. I can't access your link but I suppose from your currency you are in England. I know that here there is a babylock and a janome machine and brother has an attachment. I wonder if anyone out there has any of these?
Pfaff has the new little Smart 350P machine.
I never know if everyone can access these posts - but in case u haven't seen it a recommendation( via someone else) for http://www.nancysnotions.com will link you through to a real video of a woman using one - and looks cheap enough to buy for US (I think - don't know exchange rate at mo!)
Looks as if she's working on denim too - so I'm hopeful of most fabrics being ok.
A thought for me is that on woollen fabrics the felting would stay in place longer than felting into ordinary fabric. Ive no basis on which to say this - cos not done it yet - but I can imagine that fabrics might part eventually 'cos true felting needs the wool scales to "felt" together - but fashion being the way it is, i don't think anyone will wear an item to death anyway! So I'm with u and here goes!
Try anything once I say!
She left out the dot, it's http://www.nancysnotions.com Try that. Can't remember if there a hypen after the y.
I seem to remember a felting needle that could be used on a regular machine. I think it went on a Bernina.
I am glad for this thread as I too have taken interest in this machine..
I am patiently waiting for your Sewing Expo I believe Janome, Pfaff will have theirs displayed..hopefully I will get to play with it!!I to have seen that you can do this type of felting on Jeans!! And they say you an not only use the wool felt but other materials like trim and such..At least that is what I have read and heard. So am anxiously waiting till Thursday March 1st to see what I can see about this type of machine...That was on my agenda ladies!And as Jan said I know they are quite inexpensive!! Might be just the thing for my sewing room!! Another free motion free form embellishing technique!! for those of us like me who still doesn't have an embroidery machine!Connie
Have you tried bobbin work on your machine yet? You can slowly fill your bobbin with 12 weight thread. Skip the tension on the bobbin insertion. Regular or embroidery thread in the needle, increase needle tension slightly. Pull the bobbin thread to the top when you start and end. Lay your fabric upside down on the machine, might need a stabilizer like Sulky tear away on top. try straight stitch first, then play with other decorative stitches. When you turn your fabric right side up it is so cool to see. This also works for free motion embroidery but takes practice.
I NEVER adjust bobbin tension but bought a seperate bobbin case that I do adjust inside a ziplock bag so I don't lose the screw. The extra bobbin case for my machine is white so I don't haveh to worry about mixing them up. I bought it because I use such a variety of thread sizes.
Funny that you mention bobbin work..No will admit that is something I have been kinda scared of trying...I don't want to mess up my bobbin so I too would want to get a different one for that. However I just haven't as of yet..I have seen it done and I do love the look and thought how cool it that... I like you Mary love all different kinds of threads you know just like I do with my Trims.Ha ha haI have done the couching and such but just been gun shy on the other. I may have to put a new bobbin on my things to get list..Thanks for letting me know that you are a wiz at this and When I get the nerve guess who I will be letting know...You..Smiles
Maybe someone at the show will be demoing bobbinwork. Also you can check out http://www.bonniemccaffery.com. I think you would like her books, the next one I hope to get from her is on Portrait quilts. She teaches and travels alot and seems to have a poetic heart. I would love to take a class from her!
The shop where you bought your machine could probably show you on a machine like your own. Most machines can do it as well as free motionwork.
Have fun at the show! Wish I could come too! I hope to take a trip to Oregon this summer if all goes well. I love that part of the country and would love to see the ocean again. Mary
Could u clarify this thread for me? Mainly because the felter I have does not have any bobbin in it - it doesn't need one or any upper thread either - it just works with the needles on their own!
What u appear to be describing is, I think, just another variation of free motion work, being another way of working quite freely with the usual sewing machine - both with the feed up or down?
Oh! Just read that back and not sure I understand myself what I was trying to describe!!
Do u mean that u work upside down and texture forms on the underside of the work because u r using thicker threads on the spool?
This to me is the sort of work i would probably put under an umbrella term of creative machine embroidery.
Just goes to show how things quite easily cross over disciplines!
I brought up the bobbinwork and freemotionwork on the sewing machine because Blondie to Sew mentioned not having an embroidery machine yet. I am blessed to have a sewing room full of expensive machines and the works. I don't find it nearly as fulfilling to use purchased embroidery designs that are copywrited as coming up with our own ideas and sharing them.
I love to encourage people to try lots of different techniques with the equipment that they have on hand or that may be a less expensive alternative. I don't think you have to have the top of the line, latest expensive equipment to be incredibly creative.
I am sorry if it seemed out of place in this discussion of needlefelting machines and hand needlefelting. Please excuse my indiscretion...Mary
I liked reading your information on the bobbinwork and freemotion ( i admire from afar). If you have discussed this elsewhere I haven't found it yet. Thanks for putting it in this discussion.
Poor Blondie, she feels she may be the only one who doesn't have an embroidery machine.. One day.. Keep a look out she is hoping to post all her news about the expo she attended this weekend.
I hear you when you speak of copyrighted designs, i'm just not creative enough at the moment so I choose to use the machines designs.
All good things come to those who wait. Plenty of years left in me yet (touch wood).
Keep up your creative spirit Mary.
I enjoy using the copywrited designs in addition to other things. I just think that everyone should understand this when they purchase thier embroidery machines. I have spoken to many people who thought they could sell things right away to recoup the cost of the machine. Not so unless they take on the digitizing of thier own designs. It seems unfair that few are told this up front. Mary
Thank you for starting the copyright discussion in the machine embroidery thread. I have my response over there. I hadn't realised you started it until i finished typing it all here. So i deleted my message here so not to cause 'spamming' or 'clutter'.
Edited 3/3/2007 8:29 pm by Cherrypops
If u want to check out the thread I started called Cretive stitchers ( it was supposed to read Creative but obviously i slipped with the keyboard!)Here there are a few thoughts on free motion etc.
ok thanks, i will. CherryP
This is so right!
I appreciate how inventive anyone could be by using ready made embroidery designs - once you've got the hang of positioning etc.
(Oops perhaps the words "setting in place" might be better than "positioning"!)-
and although pupils in school use a CAD/Cam machine to do this if they want to - I find most children actually like to be able to create their own ideas and free-motion work gives them an edge I think!
That's not to say that there isn't a place for the "ready-made" logos, Disney characters etc that awash the market place, because certainly in school the quick, professional appearance appeals to a lot of them too.
I think in another thread I might have already said that its "horses for courses" and what appeals to 1 person, others will dislike or can be dismissive of.
I know I can be a little biased towards a more freer use of the machine - I like to design ideas as I do - someone else might see me as a bit too "slapdash" in my free design work depending which way you approach it I suppose!
By the way I wasn't wondering why your answer was on this thread - I was wondering if I'd missed some other skill I could have a go at!
As if I haven't got enough to already try - I'm off now to experiment with the school's felting machine - bought it home to have a longer time with it and hubby is off out researching a new car - to me once you've seen 1 car (at 9am !!)- there is a limit to how many tyres you can kick or how much interest I can inject into my voice when the sun is shining and its Saturday!
I am anxiouse to hear what you come up with on the felting machine! I bet you are gonna have fun fun fun! I envy that you get to work with it without having to jump in and buy one for yourself. There are perks to teaching beyond watching those minds expand and become creative. It sounds as if you are an inspiring teacher and your students are blessed to have you.
Well - so far so good!
Found out it will felt fabrics into denim - a big plus for me at school!
It completely obliterates metallic fabric!
Gives a brilliant effect on fleece with gauze type fabrics on top - but totally unpredictable as to how it will distort!
It will be brilliant for anyone doing arty/pictorial type of work, 'cos so free in its working - you can stitch anywhere.but!!if you want to wear anything you make you will have to do something to the back of the fabric!
a)possibly coat with a weak solution of PVA or something similar cos i was right - the stuff will pull out under stress - so washing will be a problem if you haven't done something to the back to keep the threads in situ
b)line your garments - it creates lots of wispy bits at the back of the fabric(obvious really if u think about it) -[this depends on the fabric types that u r trying - denim isn't so bad 'cos its own strength and weave allows the punched threads to "bed" in - but synthetics leave a fine "pile" at the back]
Me being a "sensitive little flower" will be irritated to death with the wispy bits - probably come out in what I think you Americans might call hives!!
However - this was only a half days experiment - and in the true way of any design technology teacher - I will now give it to my class for them to do as many experiments as they like - enough for them to analyse fully their trials/testing, fully evaluate and adapt working methods to alleviate the "problems"!
Why keep a dog and bark myself?
I'll try to let u know what solutions they come up with!
I still think it will be a great addition to my own workshop!
Thanks for the information. Hope to see some more photos of your students' work as in the photo section. It would change the texture, but I guess you could use invisible polyester thread over the top and channel stitch or stipple to hold the fibers in place? Underneath, would the soft and sheer stabilizer sewn after felting help with the scratchy surface? I am thinking jean jackets or outerwear might work.
I love your dog comment...
I think anything attached to the back to stop threads tickling or pulling etc. would need to be bonded on somehow to help with adhesion(ooh that sounds posh!!)but if u felt it would stay put(no pun intended) - just a lining might be sufficient?
I bet a few of us will come up with ideas for this 'cos we seem to be an inventive lot don't u think?
that we are
Great thanks for the info Jan!!I will be looking forward to more on this !! I too loved your Dog analogy!!Connie
Jan, I'm a little confused about the problem with the back of the garment. When we were taught, we were taught to do the right side, then turn the fabric over and then lightly needle punch again on the back side, and then go back to lightly finish again on the front. The purpose of doing it on the back was to further embed the wool fibres into the garment fabric. Was this the method you used? If so, was this not proving sturdy enough?
Do you know - I never thought about working from the back too - god how thick am I?
Mind you it doesn't show you this in the video, so I'll have to try it!
This may be a stupid thing to say - but does it not push some of it back the other way?
I'll let u know when I do the stuff again in school - nothing doing til after Easter hols - cos exam stuff till then - and boy is the stress beginning to show!
You're right - it does push it through to the other side (which is why you do it lightly on the back and then just go over the front very quickly). I wouldn't have thought about it either, but I was taught this method by Kathleen Brenne and if you can find the Vogue Patterns issue from last October, she had an article on needle felting in it (there is a jacket on the front that Kathleen did needle-felting on the collar and front panel which is just fabulous).
Hope the stress of exams doesn't get to you too much, and look forward to hearing how it all works out for you.
Got to try this tomorrow_just goes to show that for most things u need to speak to someone - or certainly get info from those who try before u!
Ill try to access the vogue site to see the article - cos it might go into more detail than ive already got - to be honest the info with the machine was fairly c..p!
Also - i definitelt feel that the old grey matter does not always catch on as quickly as it used to either!
Thanks for the advice!
Wow I am with Jan..What a wonderful thought you just gave us!! And it totally makes sense..I am excited to hear more.Blondie
I "have" to do projects on the needlefelting machine in the next few weeks in preparation for teaching/demonstrating with it next month. The main machine we are featuring is the new Pfaff; I will actually be working on the Janome since our dealership has sold out of the Pfaff models in stock after Sew Expo.
I've done a fair bit of hand needlefelting - mostly in making hats using a foam hat "block" to shape the roving/wool batt I was using to create the hat. I think that like bobbinwork and other embellishment techniques, it's a good "tool" to have in your repertoire. You can use a thick piece of foam instead of the brush for larger areas, but be very careful not to stick your body (felting needles are BARBED and extremely sharp. They draw blood quickly and easily...don't have to ask how I know). Just make sure to lift the fibers from the foam (run your hand between AFTER you've set your needles down) every so often or you will permanently attach them to the foam. This isn't an issue with the brush.
Yes, you can needlefelt into denim - really, any natural fiber will work well but it depends on what you are needlefelting *into* the fabric. Roving (long strips of combed or carded fibers), yarn, felt, batts (nonwoven sheets of fiber) can all be used with success. Angelina fibers are also popular right now. I also spin, so I take the leftover bits of roving and such and needlefelt them into balls for my cat to play with. You can make interesting free-form flowers and such as well. With the machine, you use a water-soluble stabilizer to create these (with the brush or foam that's not necessary).
Sorry to be so long-winded but it's a topic very much on my mind these days. I haven't yet decided whether I'll invest in a machine. I'll have a better idea by the end of the month, if anyone is interested in my opinion.
Best wishes - Katrina
Hello Katrina,Thank you for all the valuable information.Marcy
You're welcome. :)
For those who are interested: I've just finished working with the Janome Xpression needle felting machine, and have also worked on the Pfaff needle felting machine (which I am told by the dealer is identical to the Viking).
I enjoyed doing some demo work with the Pfaff at Sew Expo so I was really looking forward to using the Janome, thinking there would not be much difference between the two. Unfortunately, I did not care for it - too bad I had used the new Pfaff/Viking machine first. I probably would have liked it more if I hadn't that experience.
There are several differences. First of all, the Pfaff/Viking model has an automatic needle-up stop position (the Janome does not). This is really handy, as you can "baste" your material in place before doing the real needlefelting. Just one punch here and there can hold the felt/roving/fabric in place while you felt it into the base layer. Second, the Pfaff/Viking has a sliding combination needle guard/foot. It's easy to slide up and down to accomodate the thickness of the layers (and keep you from running over your fingers) yet still offers 360 degree eye protection against broken needles. The Janome has a foot which you need to undo a screw to adjust, and a separate eye guard that flips up. These work well but it's just a little less convenient. Third, the needles in the Janome must be replaced as a unit. Well, you can replace the single needle (it has a separate holder) but if you are using the 5 needle attachment and one breaks... tough luck. You have to replace the whole unit! This cramped my creativity a bit as I was afraid to push it too far to the tune of $13.00 for a new unit. You can, of course, cut off a broken needle and use the remaining needles to work.
The biggest beef I had was the diameter of the needles. This is a guess - that the Janome needles are larger in diameter than the Pfaff/Viking. It certainly seemed to be very hard on the materials used. Rather than just felting, it wanted to shred and tear. In my experience with hand needle-felting, this is what happens when the needles are too coarse for your project. This would not likely be an issue with heavier weight fabrics. But when I was doing an applique project using flannel on flannel, it really made a mess of things. I managed to get through it but the end result is significantly more "shabby chic" than I intended!
I haven't used the Embellisher or other brands, but here is a good article talking about the Embellisher:
Of course, none of the above is meant as an endorsement. I know there are plenty of people out there who love their Janome Xpression machine. Try before you buy with any new machine!
Thank You for taking the time to give us your input. Mary
That was a wonderful review. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
Immediately after leaving you yesterday at SewExpo, I went and purchased the Pfaff Embellisher 350p . . . As you know, they had such a great introductory price . . . and I really like the ability to change individual needles rather than the entire needle unit . . . and it also has the automatic needle up feature.
My previous needle felting was done by hand and only with wool. . . slow and tedious (Yuck!) . . . Yesterday, I felted a heart onto denim is less than two minutes! I was amazed at how well it worked . . . and how intriguing it is to felt on denim.
I'm impressed with the Pfaff machine and look forward to using it.
Right on Robyn!! I am excited for you..I can't wait to get mine...I just put mine on layaway so my honey wouldn't have a bit of heart failure...But can't beat that price...Now take some pics and let us see all your work with the machineBlondie
All right Loomchick and Blondie. I can't wait to see your felted designs. How about taking a picture of that heart, so that we may see it, please?!Marcy
I know when I get my machine I will post pics but for now...did you hear that Loomchick...we will all chant until you post your heart!!Post that pic Post that Pic Post that pic!!Thanks Marcy...
Gotta love the new toys!! ha ha
I'm with you Blondie. Post That Pic - Post That Pic - Post That Pic, Loomchick!Marcy
Oops! I left the sample I did in the booth at SewExpo . . . It never occurred to me to save it.
Hopefully, I will be able to pick my machine up in the next week or so . . . and then I will have something to show.
Ok Loomchick!!Did you get your machine yet? Haven't heard anything lately or did I miss something?
It came in and I was able to pick it up . . . I haven't done much with it . . . yet!
Stay tuned for more adventures in needle felting!
Right on Robyn!!I for one will be patiently waiting!!
Hey everyone,I did some playing myself with the Pfaff Smart 350p machine..I get to help my dealers launch of this machine with a make and take day...so I was in playing to make some samples and suchI did a few different textiles and fibers as you will see on Jean material. you will see the front side as well as the back view..
I also used one of my husbands flight suit pockets to see how well I could felt something on this too cool..I used a cotton wide lace as you will see..I as well tried some of the techniques mentioned here on this thread to some of them to see how well they will hold up in the wash..which I am doing as we speak (washing my samples)I felted some on top and the reverse side to see how they will fair up after washing..some I did not.Materials shown...I used a woven fabric, fleece, Boucle, roving, Fibers( some different yarns I had laying around that I used for Doll hair at one time, don't know what kinda of yarn, sorry) and of course the flight suit as well as the cotton wide lace shown!I am hoping I have explained enough for you all to understand with the pics..Please ask any questions of you need to!I will also let you know how the washing held up and such
I kind of like the back side better than the front. Really cool looking. Way to go Blondie.
Yes the backside did turn out fun..so that means when you do this you want to put the orginal on the back side so you have what you want on the right side..Of course I know you know that already!! It was fun and I tell you time flew by I was at that machine for like 1 1/2 hours and it seamed only like 15 mins.
BEfore you invest in an actual machine you may want to try the needle felter made by Clover. I saw it in the latest Keepsake Quilting catalogue. It is simply a tool with several of these barbed needles in it, a block made for stiff bristles to put the fabric on. The needles retract and have some sort of safety, not sure what but it was alluded to in the catalogue. Seems like a much more reasonable investment for something that could just be a passing fad. Will we all be felting 5 years from now?
Hi, Solosmocker, that sounds like a good idea. Thanks for the suggestion.
My grandkids have used those hand needle felters in school and enjoyed it. I think they practiced on felt squares that are available at most chain fabric stores. I actually bought one of those tools from either Clotilde or Nancy's Notions online. Thanks, I had forgotten all about it. Now I can play with it and some denim scraps. Will let you know how it works out. I didn't get the brush thing, just plan to use a tension embroidery hoop. Thanks for mentioning it.
You are so right with your reasoning. I went with the hand version because I couldn't see myself doing enough to justify the cost for the machine/foot. Did try the machine and did find it faster and is very easy to do. It is a lot of fun to do either way.
BTW, there are individual needles that you can use to do this, but the hand machine with its 5 encased needles is a lot faster, less tiring, and safer for those of us doing it by hand.
Have fun whichever you choose.
Yes ... those of us that are felters will be felting ... making the real thing using wool, water and hard work. The machine "Needle Felting Machines" are I hope just a passing thing. But please don't confuse what they do with real handmade felt. They embellish a surface and that's all.
You are exactly right!! Yours is a true art form!! I just want to make sure that you know I totally am in tune with that..I however love the embellishment aspect of the machine!! Just like the embroidery... embroidery is a true art form where as machine is a fun way to get it done fast and easier I should say. So You Catherine have my total respect and admiration of this craft! I have watched many in action at our local fair and I am in awe!!Thanks for your input some may not know the difference and there is one!
I however love the fun and conveniance of the machine and all that it will give me to what I want!Blondie
The felting machine is actually sold over here as an embellisher - which is really the correct term don't u think? - I'm fully aware of the difference - cos true felting is a lot trickier to do - I think - but really rewarding. As I keep saying - its "Horses for Courses" and at the mo' quick embellishing suits me fine - and allows me to get a different look to things.
I wish I had more time to do proper felting - I do small pieces at school so the kids see the principle etc. but it is actually very time-consuming, a problem when I have to work to a timetable!
Do you think it would be worth having a special posting heading in Gatherings - for all u true felters -
even if its for people like me to pick ur brains???
You are so right. True felters will always have their artform and my respect and appreciation for it. I think these "tools" allow those who are not particularly career fiberartists to dabble in a medium that is very intriguing. Personally, I can't wrap my head around felting on "hard" fabrics like denims. Wool to wool would be a better place to start if I were going to attempt it. It is pretty enticing. I saw some beautiful and expensive hats and scarves in Lake Placid recently that were clearly made out of felted repurposed sweaters, cut and reassembled. This really intrigues me. Wish I had more time.
Many of the Bernina sewing machines have an attachment that you can purchase separately that allows you to do needle punch on your sewing machine. I believe that you have to have an oscillating hook system, a special foot and a special needle plate. I have the needle punch attachment and have made several wool art pieces that I want to add some beads to and make into purses. It is more economical to have a sewing machine that does needle punch rather than purchasing a separate machine that you would only use occasionally. I always ask myself, "Do I really want to find a place to store another sewing machine?"
Hi there, I have a needle felting machine and I love it. Great to poke wool, silk, nylon, tulle, ribbon, you name it through canvas, felt, wool, denim, and so forth. I have even needle felting wool roving (loose fibers) into felt. Very cool.
Here are some links I found helpful. The first is a a website reviewing the pros and cons of different manufacturers' machines. After that come some of the manufacturers' sites and one from Nancy's Notions website.
I'm relatively new to these boards so I may be able to figure out how to post one photo of a felted profile of a woman I did on canvas using Yak down and black tencel fiber. All fibers were new to me so I just played!
Happy surfing and needle felting! ~ Christina
I went to a needle felting class (wonderful teacher, hilarious class!) put on by a woman from Kansas http://www.crawforddesigns.net/needle-felting.htm and she makes an adapter for an old sewing machine that will do needle felting. You have to remove the lower assembly, so cannot use the machine for sewing again..BUT! It is cheaper than buying a new felting machine, especially if you only do it occasionally. I have a friend who wants to get rid of an old machine, so when I have the (approx.) $90 I will get one
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