Needles, Wool, Mistakes, Advice and the One Tip - Louise Tebbett of Felt Beautiful
1. How did you discover needle felting, what inspired you to have a go, and what was the first thing you made?
Around 5 years ago, I was asked by my sister to make her first baby’s cot mobile. When she sent me pictures of the designs she liked, most of them were needle felted. At this point, I hadn’t even tried needle felting and was unsure as to where to even start! Hours of YouTube videos later and the purchase of a cheap starter kit, I had made a start! The finished design was a fairy standing on a hoop holding stars and in fact, it changed the direction of my career completely.
2. Do you have a favourite needle felting artist whose work you follow?
I’m not sure I have a favourite and follow many needle felting artists but if I had to choose I do enjoy seeing new work from Petruska and Lydia Scade Fox.
3. Which projects do you find the trickiest and what has been the hardest thing to learn?
I find animals the trickiest and I still have so much to learn. Luckily, the animals that I make accompany a fairy and I purposely give them very little detail as the fairy is the focus.
4. What are your favourite needles to use?
I use a 38 or 40 regular the most. However, I’m starting to experiment with 2D felting and wet felting so I expect to be using a range of needles very soon.
5. What is your favourite type of wool to work with?
I work a lot with Merino wool. It’s perfect for the fairies’ tutu’s and comes in many different colours, textures, and with effect fibres helping to make each fairy unique. I also adore the viscose fibre that gives them their silky soft hair.
6. What is the worst piece of advice you keep hearing for needle felters?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve heard it advised that you should purchase decent equipment and wool before you start, but I didn’t – I bought cheap (as I didn’t know whether I would like it) and I learnt as I went along. Over time I found out what I liked or disliked working with, which is not necessarily what others like and I believe makes my work unique and identifiable to me.
7. What common mistakes do people make when they start out?
One of the mistakes I made when I first started, which may be the experience of others too, was using a little too much wool and not holding it tense whilst wrapping it around the fairies frame, forming her arms and legs. Some of my first fairies looked like they had been to the gym a little too often! Mistakes are good though! That’s how we learn and improve.
8. What is the one thing a beginner could learn today that would make a difference to their work?
I would say, when you think you have stabbed the wool enough – you haven’t! Don’t get disheartened, persevere and probably with the same amount of stabs again you will notice a marked difference and improvement.
About the artist:
Louise Tebbett is the owner of Felt Beautiful based in Birdlington, East Yorkshire.
You can see her work on: