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Felting is a embellishing technique which allows wool to be woven into the fibers of almost any base fabric. This adds sturdiness, warmth, and water resistance to the fabric and allows for artistic expression. Basic felting techniques are relatively easy to learn, but needle felting books can supply different methods, patterns, and ideas that may not have been apparent before. The best needle felting books depend on your skill level and what type of project you are looking to complete.
Needle felting is usually done with dry materials. It may also be done by using a felt needle or a needle felting machine, which normally holds several needles at once to make the process faster. Wet felting is not normally done with needles, as the needles may rust from contact with the water.
There are many needle felting books, and some cover the hand method while others focus on the machine method. The needle felting books chosen should focus on whichever method you chose to use and give detailed, easy-to-follow directions. As a beginner, it is usually a good idea to look for needle felting books which have very clear instructions. Depending on your particular expertise level, it may even be beneficial to find books which contain plenty of images displaying technique steps to follow along. Books with glossaries and simple patterns to follow may be helpful when learning terminology and technique.
Those with more experience may only be looking for needle felting books which can show them new techniques, patterns, or project ideas. In this case, clear instructions are still important, but images may not be. There are also felting books entirely dedicated to patterns which you may use.
While choosing the right needle felting books depends on your preferences, style, and skill level, it may also be a good idea to look for books with good reviews. Impartial reviews may come from those who've bought the book or from professionals. At times, professional reviews may not be as impartial as reviews from previous customers, so if the latter is available, they may be a better indication of the book's quality.
Learning to needle felt can be fun and relatively inexpensive, but having the right tools to learn from is almost always necessary. There are sometimes local classes, videos to purchase, or online lessons to follow when learning to needle felt. Having a stash of books, however, is handy when you want to look up information quickly in the middle of a project or get one started quickly.
Needle felting is quite satisfying, although it takes a while to make anything substantial.
Good quality wool can be fairly expensive too, although I have a friend who keeps a few sheep, so I generally get it off of her.
You can also get some pretty good, beautifully dyed wool off Etsy.
If you're just starting out, though, you might want to go to a craft shop and get a kit. They'll often come with needle felting instructions as well. Wool felting can be quite tedious and it's not for everyone. I would definitely give it a good go before buying a lot of supplies for it, or even an expensive book.
You'll probably want to get books which have really good photos of the process as well as the finished product. I like craft books that have a picture for every step, rather than relying on words, because it's easy to get confused.
If I was going to learn how to needle felt, I would check out the library first, before going to the bookstore. That way you know what you want, and you should be able to order almost any book at a decent bookstore.
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