Monday, 15 April 2013

Embellishing / Needle Felting Machines

Following our introduction to 3-D needle felting in March we decided to continue with that theme and do some form of flat felting in April. For those of you who are not aware, (and I was one of them) there is a machine, similar to a sewing machine, called an Embellishing Machine (Needle Felting Machine,) that makes life a whole lot easier to do needle felting over a large area. Many companies make them and the main difference between models seems to be the number of needles they use – some have 5 needles and others have 12. They use no thread, have no bobbin and have about the same amount of space inside the arm of machine. You can see in this picture of Jan at the machine what it looks like.

Diane has a HuskyStar by Husqvarna Viking and she brought hers along to FOG on Tuesday for us to try. After having used it I can’t imagine doing this by hand, even as small as a piece of felt.

Using a backing piece of felt or other fabric, you design your piece by lying down and overlapping almost any items that you can think of – as long as the needles can penetrate the item. We used yarns, paper napkins, silk flower petals, wool roving, thread waste, ribbon, lace and all types of fabrics. Once your design is completed you overlay the entire piece with organza, tulle, netting – something that you can still see your items through, but will enhance the piece. We used an article by Rebekah Meier from an issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine as a general guideline.

Then you take it to the machine and start to move the piece around under the needles that are moving up and down quite quickly. For those of you who free motion quilt, the process is about the same. We found that with some of the overlays that it was helpful to lay down wisps of wool roving to help the needles penetrate and hold all the layers together.

Now that our base pieces are completed we will spend time doing some hand stitching and embellishing with thread, beads, sequins and other items. As our pieces are completed we'll post them on the blog.


  1. Have you washed the fabrics after embellishments? I think this technique would be a terrific tool to add unique interest to a sweatshirt or a carry bag. Perhaps I could also make a place mat. How much does one of the machines cost and can I purchase from a local retailer or only on line? Terrific ideas - thanks so much.

  2. Avery, at present I would consider myself a rank beginner in this technique but will keep you updated on my progress. Many sewing machine companies make these machines and yes they can be purchased locally in Calgary. Prices do vary, but $200 - $300 seems to be the average price.

  3. Hi, I'm wondering if Diane can tell me where she purchases her needles. I can't find any online or at stores. Thanks.

    1. Are you looking for needles for the same machine as Diane's? If not, there are generic ones available that will fit most machines. Where are you located?