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Needle Felting Soothes the Soul

posted in: Felting, Fiber Arts | 4

Amidst the many spring chores that needed tending to, my daughter and I crept away to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival a couple weekends ago. I had not been to that festival in several years, and my husband was game to tackle the “to do” list on his own for a day. My daughter and I spent our day sitting in talks about pasture nutrition and parasite management, visiting with shepherds near and far, and being inspired by some amazing fiber artists.

Needle Felted Sheep Rug Design
Rug Design by Neysa Russo


By the end of the day, we found our arms full of fleeces and a new project to work on, a needle felted rug. Neysa Russo, a Vermont fiber artist, had a lovely display of amazing hand felted wool rugs and tapestries of all sizes. She had kits available, and patterns of her custom designs for sale. I could not resist this sheep pattern.

Needle felting is one of those calming activities where you can work and allow your mind to wander, or you can work alongside another person and engage in conversation while your needles do their magic. With the use of a special needle which has barbs on the end of it, the wool is transformed into 2 or 3 dimensional felted art through poking and stabbing. With the insanity around springtime on the farm, I had a need for a project to work on that required no head space, just the joy of my hands at work, soothing my soul and calming my mind.


Needle felting a design by Neysa Russo.
Needle Felting Soothes the Soul


Inspired by Medieval art, Neysa custom designs each of her rug and tapestry patterns. Through the years, she has graciously shared her designs with other fiber artists. Some artists use her designs for rug hooking, or crewel needlework. Neysa outlines her figures in black as she needle felts them. This makes each detail pop on the tapestry. I find that pre-drafting the black fiber speeds the work of outlining.


Needle felting a sheep rug.
Pre-drafting for outlining.


Last night, at 9:00 pm, I looked at my daughter and said, “want to go do some poking?” Her eyes lit up and the two of us headed out into the dark of the night to the art studio in the barn. There we poked and stabbed our wool until late in the night, soothing our souls from a busy day of farm chores.


Sheep Needle Felted Rug
Sheep Needle Felted Rug

Sharing with Keep Calm Craft On.


4 Responses

  1. Nicole Spring

    This needle felting work is stunning!! My children and I were just needle felting some honeybees yesterday after a beekeeper came and rescued a swarm behind our home. It really helped to connect them to the bees while calming them down and soothing them after all the excitement.
    I bet working with your wool is even more soothing!! I can NOT wait to start my rughooking project from you. I just need to find the time 😀

  2. Ginny

    I have never tried needle felting, but it does look fun, and the end results are beautiful.

    • Kim Goodling

      I think you would love needle felting! You could use it to embellish your knitted items too!

  3. Mary Piontek

    Wow that is an amazing pattern! It will be stunning when finished! Needle felting is perfect for stress-releasing!