I've been wanting to have a go at needle felting for a long time, in fact, Mick bought me a kit for Christmas 2014 which I haven't yet got round to using, but I remember having my interest aroused when I visited Yarndale that year and saw all the lovely creations on display. When I was recently asked if I'd like to review The Natural World of Needle Felting by Fi Oberon and published by Jaqui Small Publishing, I jumped at the chance. I'm so pleased I did.
The first thing I want to say about this book is that it's absolutely beautiful. It has a hardback cover and the title is embossed. It certainly looks as though every detail has been well thought out and the photography by Brent Darby throughout the book is fabulous. Even the inside covers are made use of, depicting delightful autumnal scenes with fallen leaves, pine cones and pretty little needle felted acorns in an assortment of colours.
As a newbie to needle felting, I feel this book will be a great help to me. The first part starts right at the very beginning explaining What is felt? The first chapter is entitled Tools, Equipment & Techniques and has various sections about Wool, Needles, Getting Started, Adding Colour and Wirework, amongst others. It takes you right through everything you might need to know.
It's then on to putting what you've learnt in to practice. There's a page right at the start of the book titled Nature & Nurture, it's about what it was like for Fi Oberon growing up in The Cotswolds. It explains some of the things she encountered on a daily basis, the things she saw and experiences she was exposed to. It's not surprising that she's chosen The Natural World as the subject for the projects in this, her first book. The projects themselves are divided in to four different chapters, Farmland, Polar Regions, Uplands and Coast.
For each project, a list of Equipment and Materials is provided and there's also suggestions for Creating the Set, using a combination of crafts as well as bought and found objects, to reflect the natural habitats of the animal you're going to make. The instructions are given in a step by step way with plenty of clear photographs for guidance.
I'm absolutely enamoured by the little animals that can be created, I think my favourite in the whole book is this Cotswold sheep. How cute is she with her curly fleece.
There's instructions provided in the book to make more than twenty animals, everything from an Ayrshire cow to a polar bear, or what about a red squirrel, an oystercatcher or a rabbit.
Reading through this book has given me the confidence to have a go at needle felting myself. The projects are graded from one dot to three by level of difficulty and there's plenty here for a beginner to choose. This hedgehog is graded at two dots, a project to have a go at once you're a little more confident. Who knew that there's specialist hedgehog fabric which can be sourced online.
A project for the more advanced is this owl which has been given three dots for the level of difficulty.
Wait a minute, I've seen that owl somewhere before. Yes, I'm right. Looking back at my Yarndale 2014 post, I'd admired Fi Oberon's owl there.
I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and it's given me lots of inspiration, I shall definitely have a go at needle felting myself. Eleanor's done a bit in the past and she's also expressed an interest in having a go at some of the projects in the book. If you've ever thought you might like to have a go yourself, I can thoroughly recommend this book. Even if you've had a go in the past, I'm sure there'd be lots of projects in the book that would appeal to you.
I received a copy of this book to review, however, all opinions expressed are my own. The book retails for £20 and can be purchased direct from Quarto.