Needles, Wool, Mistakes, Advice and the One Tip - Sarah Cousins from Fens Felter


1. How did you discover needle felting, what inspired you to have a go and what was the first thing you made? 

I can’t be 100% sure how I discovered needle felting! I know at some point I saw the work of Simon Brown ‘The Gentleman Felter’ and was blown away that the animal art I was looking at was made entirely from wool.

Having always been an artist who has drawn and painted I was fascinated at how needle felting worked and wanted to give it a go.

The first thing I made was a hare, which wasn’t really the easiest thing to have started with!

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

I still love the work of Simon Brown ‘The Gentleman Felter’ and also Mikaela Bartlett ‘Mikaela Bartlett Felt’ and follow them both.

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

Claws and paws on any animal are tricky and take a lot of patience. Getting eyes level I’ve found the hardest thing to learn.

4. What are your favourite needles to use?

I love Groz Beckert needles as they are a lovely quality and less likely to break. They are also colour coded so that you remember which needle is which.

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

I love to work with The Felt Box’s Carded NZ Batts as they felt quickly and smoothly and also love the Maori DHG Carded for the same reason.

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

I can’t say I’ve heard of any bad advice.

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

I think people tend to try and rush the piece they are working on. It takes a lot of patience to be a needle felter. Adding big pieces of wool instead of small pieces at a time can create air pockets, which makes an uneven puffy structure.

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

Starting out with a heavy gauge needle for core work and working your way down to a finer gauge to get smooth detailed results.

About the artist:

Sarah sell her work through Etsy, and also use Instagram @fensfelter and Facebook.