Needles, Wool, Mistakes, Advice and the One Tip - Alyson Merrall from Feltsewsoft
1. How did you discover needle felting, what inspired you to have a go and what was the first thing you made?
I discovered needle felting when I was looking for a new hobby. Arthritis in my hands meant I could no longer knit or sew and I hoped needle felting would be easier on my joints. I bought a small dog kit and broke all the needles in one day! Thankfully, needle felting has been kind to my joints and I rarely break any needles now.
2. Do you have a favourite needle felting artists whose work you follow?
I admire lots of other needle felting artists, especially those like Mikaela Bartlett who can create amazingly realistic animals.
3. Which projects do you find the trickiest and what has been the hardest thing to learn?
I find it tricky to create realistic animal legs and paws. I have avoided them for a long time but am now challenging myself to perfect them and am seeing some good results.
4. What are your favourite needles to use?
My favourite needles are Groz Beckert. I use their purple twisted (spiral ) #38 - I just change the angle I stab at to work core, top coat and finishing.
5. What is your favourite type of wool to work with?
My favourite wool is NZ bergschaf Maori. It is great for core and top coat. Unfortunately, it is only available in a few colours so I also use NZ bergschaf and corriedale batts.
6. What is the worst piece of advice you keep hearing for needle felters?
There is a lot of help online for needle felters and some great social media groups whose members are really supportive of new felters, giving great advice.
7. What common mistakes do people make when they start out?
My biggest mistake when I started felting was buying merino wool when carded batts/ slivers were what I needed for 3D sculptures.
8. What is the one thing a beginner could learn today that would make a difference to their work?
The best advice I can give to new felters is to not compare yourself to other felters. With experience you will learn and develop your own style. If you are a perfectionist like me, you will be critical anyway so don't make yourself feel worse!
About the artist: