Needles, Wool, Mistakes, Advice and the One Tip - Penny Irvine - Fibre Artist

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 on Facebook. I saw a beautiful creation that someone had made and decided to have a go. 

I got a kit from Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts and made a hare and a fawn as my first pieces.

2. Do you have a favourite needle felting artists whose work you follow? 

One of my favourite artists is Lorraine Turner. I saw some of her 2D felted pieces and that is what inspired me to work in 2D rather than 3D. 

3. Which projects do you find the trickiest and what has been the hardest thing to learn?

Animals are generally harder than landscapes. The hardest thing to learn, particularly with animals is patience. It takes time to get the blending right and to bring life to their eyes and their faces.

4. What are your favourite needles to use?

My favourite needles are 40 and 42 twisted and spiral needles.

5. What is your favourite type of wool to work with?

I work with all types of wool but I particularly like to use natural, undyed fibres from British breeds as they add texture and work so well for both animals and landscapes.

6. What is the worst piece of  advice you keep hearing for needle felters?

I think the worst piece of advice would be to just buy cheap fibres to start off with. Even when you first start out it is worth getting some good fibre from a reputable supplier or a kit that comes with good fibre and instructions. You will get a better result and will be more likely to continue with felting.

7. What common mistakes do people make when they start out?

I think the most common mistake is comparing your work with whoever inspired you to try felting. It takes time to learn and progress so don’t be disheartened if your first attempt isn’t what you expected, just keep practicing and learning the skill.

8. What is the one thing a beginner could learn today that would  make a difference to their work?

One thing for a beginner to learn is to go over their finished piece with a fine needle such as a 42 spiral. Use the needle at a 45° angle to help get rid of needle marks and give a nice smooth finish.

About the artist:

You can find her works on her Facebook page or website.