Lately, I've been researching various crafts and hobbies to learn what is involved in them. Finding helpful information for beginning needle felting proved to be a bit more of a challenge than originally expected. Fortunately, Amazon offers interesting collection of sellers who provide products for needle felting, and a few do have some items to guide the absolute beginner. I happened upon this book, and it looked quite friendly, so I purchased it hoping it would give me insight into the craft... something besides twee flowers and appliqué for clothing, something closer to sculpting with wool rather than flat design. I also wanted something that described basic tools, materials, and techniques. I wanted Needle Felting 101! :) And I got it with this purchase!
I was pleasantly surprised. This book was much better than expected--and yes, it works best for beginners (responsible, mature teens to adults) and for those who want to work in miniature. Those with advanced needle felting skills may prefer more challenging projects like Silver Penny's "Needle Felted Wizard" or other larger, holiday characters. Needle felters who are into more "realistic looking" animal styles may not enjoy this book. // The clues for the content are really on the book's cover: "LITTLE Felted Animals: Create 16 Irresistible Creatures with SIMPLE Needle-Felting Techniques." The operative words here are "little" and "simple."
For a beginner, this book offers an excellent collection of starter projects that can foster tool appreciation, build skills, and spark creativity, providing that the person is willing to spend time with the book and practicing shaping. [I've discovered that needle felting is not a craft for the hurried, frazzled, irritable, or impatient! LOL :) ]
The Book's Sections...
Supplies & Tips: For me, this was worth the price of the book. At last, here was a source that not only explained what was involved in basic needle felting, it showed the needed items in very clear, well-planned photographs (Tools & Wool Roving Color Palette). There was also a little lesson on how to add glass eyes to felted pets.
The Projects of this book are well illustrated also, and they give the beginner a fighting chance at making a fairly decent product the first go around--if one follows the steps and pictures carefully. [Remember that all craft making goes though an ugly stage where you look at your creation and cringe! The trick is to keep moving forward pass that feeling and moment; don't censor yourself too early in your felting attempts or projects. Needle felting is a total process from start to finish, and this book clearly teaches that concept. You cannot learn or improve if you give up. So, don't give up! Give yourself permission to experiment and to make mistakes. ]
The Primer Part in Process & Shaping...
This sections teaches the learner to start visualizing shapes in wool and how they can be combined to form bodies.
Shaping A Black Bird
Shaping A Short-legged Animal / Bunny
Shaping a Long-Legged Animal / Cat
The Projects... Great photos and helpful instructions!
Penguin / Polar Bear/ Baby Seal / Blackbird / Bunny / Chartreux Cat / Welsh Corgi / Koola Bear / Turkish Van Cat / Robin / Brown Bear / Fox / Mice / Sheep / Dalmatian / Jack Russell Terrier /
Making felted animals is a fun way to spend a rainy, cold afternoon.
MORE NOTES: Because needle felting requires the use of sharp needles and coordination, these type crafts (and perhaps even the resulting products that have glass eyes) are not meant for very young children. Update: As other reviewers have suggested, and I agree with them, people who learn best by "seeing it done" rather than just "reading how its done" might want to use some supplementary "video / audio" materials in addition to this book. Video lessons allow viewers to see how felters hold and move the needle to achieve shapes. However, there is no substitute for just getting in there are trying it yourself. You learn a lot in your first project believe me--what to do and what not to do. :) The Silver Penny website does offer some video / image help for beginners. To get there from here, just Google this: "The Silver Penny" and needle felting. In your search, you should see something like this: Needle Felting Tips and Techniques - The Silver Penny.
People who are totally new to felting might enjoy this product in addition to the "Little Felted Animals" book: Felting Needle Starter Kit. At this writing, this kit is available on Amazon! :)