We're happy to have our friend Pia Thadani writing a series of three sponsored guest posts embellishing our amigurumi crochet cactus kits. In the second project post, below, she shows you how to wool felt flowers onto the pots. This technique can be used on any of your completed crochet and knitting projects. (You might also like Project 1: Surface Crochet and Project 3: Crocheted Face Applique).
Project 2: Needle Felted Appliques Photo Tutorial
By Pia Thadani
(scroll down to the bottom for video tutorial)
Ruby and Charley are adorable amigurumi cactus kits from Global Backyard Industries. Even though they’re already great on their own, I always like to add my own little touches to things. After adding a surface crochet chevron border, I decided to add some needle felted appliques as well.
To create the appliques, you’ll need a few things that aren’t included in the kit.
Materials needed (affiliate links provided):
- Small amount of felting wool: If you’re a spinner or felter, you probably have some scraps lying around that you can use. Otherwise, look for wool roving that specifically says it’s for felting. They often come in multi-colored packs like this one.
- Felting needle: They come in different shapes and sizes. A good multi-purpose needle is a triangle shape in a medium (about 38 gauge) size. You can also get needle tools that hold multiple needles at once, which makes the process go faster.
- Felting sponge or mat: You can buy all manner of commercial felting mats and sponges (like this one). If you’re just starting out though, a thick dish sponge can work just as well! Ideally it should be at least an inch or two thick. The purpose is to give your needle something soft to poke into, so that it doesn’t hit the table and break.
- Mold of some sort for shaping (optional): Molds specifically designed for felting are available, but you can use other types, too. In this tutorial I’m using a set of cutters (like this one) that were designed for very small cookies or fondant decorations.
Creating the Appliques
Place your mold on your mat. Pull apart a small chunk of wool (enough to fill your mold loosely) and stuff it into your mold.
Using your needle, poke through the wool repeatedly to compress it. Always insert your needle and pull it out at the same angle, to avoid breaking it. Also, if you’re using a rigid mold, be careful not to hit the sides of it with the point of your needle.
Once the wool is well compressed and solid on top, flip the mold over and repeat the process on the other side. You can remove the applique from the mold to examine it, and then put it back in the mold to keep felting. If any spots feel thin or empty, add more wool in those areas.
Repeat this process until you are happy with your applique. To firm up the edges and fine tune the shaping, remove the applique from the mold and poke your needle through from the sides. Be careful not to poke your fingers!
For the flower, I added a little yellow to the center. Simply place a tiny bit of wool in the center and use your needle to felt it into place.
Attaching the Appliques to the Pot
Place the applique on the spot where you want it and hold it in place. With your needle, poke all the way through the applique and into the pot several times in different spots, until the applique is secure. For the flower, I secured only the center and let the petals stick out.
Needle Felted Applique Video Tutorial:
Pia Thadani is a knit and crochet designer, teacher, and all around fiber addict. She’s passionate about creating, and loves to share that passion with others. You can find an extensive collection of patterns, tutorials, and more on her blog at http://StitchesnScraps.com.