Move over adult coloring books there's a new stress reducing craft in town — needle felting. Needle felting has been rising in popularity. Just a simple YouTube search pulls up pages upon pages of needle felting instructional videos.

What is Needle Felting?
Needle felting is a process which uses barbed needles to interlock wool fibers to form a more condensed material.  Wool fibers have scales which when rubbed against each other catch and lock into place to create this denser material called felt.  Felting needles are used to entangle the fibers.  As the felting needle is moved up and down, the barbs on the needles catch the scales of the wool and entangle them into place.

It takes thousands of pokes with a barbed needle to turn a fluff of wool into needle felted art.

Robyn Ryan, from Claremont, Minnesota picked up the craft after talking to a friend in Canada about a needlepoint project she was doing. Robyn said she was joking around showing her a needlepoint project she had made just so "I could stab something 3,000 times.” Her friend laughed and said "If you really enjoyed stabbing things so much you should start needle felting." Robyn said "It takes thousands of pokes with a barbed needle to turn a fluff of wool into needle felted art." So she started watching some YouTube videos to get an idea of how needle felting was done, decided it looked like fun and had to get started as soon as she could.

Courtesy of Robyn Ryan
Courtesy of Robyn Ryan

Robyn said "I think my favorite creation will always be the first project I did. I got a little Frog needle felting kit from Michaels in Rochester to try it out without having to invest a lot into supplies. I followed the directions, and in about 4 hours, I had a cute little finished frog! I was really amazed at how easy it was to get started, and the sense of accomplishment when looking at the completed project is really satisfying.  Since then, I’ve invested more money into more wool and needles. It really is a kind of addiction, but one that is productive at least."

Adult coloring has been quite popular for reducing stress. Knitting has made a major come back creating cult like gatherings at local coffee shops. And now we can add needle felting to the list. If you're curious if it really does reduce stress, Robyn adds "Needle felting is an amazing stress relief for me! At least it is until I start accidentally stabbing my fingers. That barbed needle is super sharp, and hurts both going in and coming out. I can just kind of zone out everything around me, and just focus on making the wool do what I want it to."

If you're wanting to try needle felting out, here's what Robyn suggests:

Watch some videos online, or take a local community education class to get a bit of an idea of what needle felting is all about. It is definitely a craft for visual and hands on learning.

Here's a video to get you started:

And of course, I asked Robyn my favorite question and I loved her response!

DT: Who's your role model or what's your favorite inspiring quote?

RR: I’ve had the good fortune of meeting several people throughout my life that I would consider role models. If you are a kindhearted person, willing to take time out for others, and have a good laugh with a stranger, then you are my kind of people, and someone I would look to as a role model. The world really could use more kindness and caring, and I hope that I can one day be like those who I respect and look up to.  My favorite quote is probably “Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”



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