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Felt Food 101 – Lesson 3 Needles, How to make felt food.

8 Jun

felt food how to fall veggies

Please stop into our store sometime and take a look around. And as always if you have any questions I am just an email away and I’m happy to share my knowledge and a few of my favorite patterns with you!

Felt Food 101 – Lesson 3 Needles:


Differences in sewing needles:

There are a ton of different needles out there so I just thought I would take a minute to cover the bases. The first and most important thing to note about needles is that they are all sized in the same manner. The smaller the number the longer and thicker the needle.  I agree that this is misleading and annoying, and yes I think they do it that way just to mess with people.

smallerlargerNeedles are sized in numbers from 1-12, guess which is the smallest? If you guessed 12 then your obviously a quick study, a cheater or you already know a little about needles. If you guessed 1..see I told you it’s really annoying.  Now that you know a thing or two about sizing lets get down to the knitty grittyfudgedesserts

Types of Needles

130x13-SharpsNeedlesSharps– These are you everyday standard needle. When one refers to a sewing needle chances are this is what they are referring to.  These are your standard Joe sixpack  needle, their tips are sharp (some needles aren’t so don’t make that face at me!) and they are middle of the road on length. Available in sizes 1-12

150x6-MillinersNeedleMilliners Needles– These are very long needles sometimes called Straw needles they most often used to make pleats, sew  ribbon embroidery and embellish hats, hence the name.  They are usually available in sizes 3 to 12.

150x8-EmbroideryNeedle Embrodiery Needles(s0me people call them crewel but I find them to perfectly lovely and very likable…sorry couldn’t help myself there) These needle have the same sharp tip but are a bit longer since the eye of the needle is longer to accommodate thicker threads. Available in sizes 1-10

beadingneedlefeltfoodBeading Needles– beading needles are the needle you should use when, you guessed it placing beads onto fabrics, the eye of these needles are skinny (we should all be so lucky) to accommodate beads sliding over them without getting caught. In sizes 10 – 15

feltfood101Quilting-BetweenQuilters needles or betweens– Since these little babies are used for hand quilting you’d think they’d be the perfect choice for hand sewing felt, you’d be wrong. They are very short and thin, making them easily lost in thick felt and can feel a little clumsy in the hand when working with tough material. They are however great for making very even small stitches. They are usually only available in sizes 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 (medium short to Danny Divto short, love ya Danny!)

DarnerNeedleAFCDarning Needles, sometimes called Darners- A Darning needle is a larger big eyed blunt tip needle. The larger sizes are often used in wool work however for felt food purpose’s a sharp or embroidery is probably your best option.

150x8-EmbroideryNeedleDoll Needles– If Quilters are the Danny Divito of the sewing needle world doll needles are the Arnold Schwarzenegger of needles. (Twins was on a lot when I was growing up) While like any needle they will vary in length and thickness they are usually long strong needles, useful for sewing through very thick felt food, such as felt Pumpkins, apples etc…

* I am not getting into the felting needle in this post since they aren’t used for sewing.

Gee thanks but I just want to know what to buy!

Just plain old sewing needles will do just fine when sewing felt food i.e Sharps.  I however like to use embroidery needles because I am a rebel and because they are a bit longer and easier to thread plus if I decide to do any embroidery onto my project I don’t have to dig out another needle. I find that for sewing felt you’ll want a thicker longer needle, I have actually bent one or two of the smaller sharp needles. I would use anything from a 3 to a 6 (remember the smaller the number the larger the needle) You will want to avoid too thick of a needle since it can leave a noticeable entry hole in your felt, although these will disappear after time or you can just gently rub at the surrounding felt and it will usually blend in better. I also use  a doll needle for sewing into thick objects and beading needles for you guessed it, beading!

Can I sew felt food with a sewing machine?

Nothing beats the easy and versatility of hand sewing when working with something small or thick however you can also use a sewing machine for most of your sewing applications involving felt food, this is very nice if you’re making a lot of something. The Majority of the time I think just loading the bobbin and thread takes more time than hand sewing and hand sewing seems to add a charming personal touch and can be done while watching re-runs of Bewitched because your BFF thinks the Tony’s are dumb, yeah I am talking to you Amelia! When using a machine there will be draping and curving issues that are unworkable since most machines are really limited in the kinds if stitches they can create.  Another downside to using a machine is that if you should make a mistake the stitches can be hard to remove and since you can no longer use cross stitch threads finding the right color of thread and then winding a matching bobbin can be a nightmare.

If you are looking to buy a sewing machine I would highly recommend talking to friends and family to see what they like to use. My favorite resource in this area is the sewing machine repair shop, these are usually listed in the phone book as sew and vacs, a good place will be able to give you some tips on what’s good, what’s not, what needs the most repair and maintenance and most importantly what costs the most to maintain. 99 % of the time they will also sell used machines, and generally offer a guarantee. You can also try Craig’s list or eBay although the cost of shipping can be prohibitive and it’s hard to know if something is in good working order until it’s too late.

Last Week : Thread              Next week:  Putting it all together, stitching and glues

Felt Smackdown, 4 felts will go in only one can emerge victorious!

4 Apr
The number one question I am asked is, what is the difference between types of felt although I go into this in detail on the Posts Whats the diffrence 1 wool , 2 Acrylic and eco-spun & 3 wool felt blends, sometimes you just need a basic visual reference. With that I proudly present the moment you’ve waited 3 posts for…  the Felt Smack-down a grudge match in which 4 felts will be tested but who will come out on top? Insert theme from Rocky here….

These felts will be put through the 6 tests and a winner will be declared after each round.  But first the details;  Each felt square will be cut into a 5×7 squares, both the wool and wool blend are from American Felt and Craft and the acrylic and eco-spun (now called eco-fi) are from my local craft store.

Challenge #1 Appearance


OK well this one is tough since it’s largely dependant on what your looking for personally I love the bouncy loft of the 100% wool but you can declare your own winner….

Challenge #2 Transparency


This is a very basic challenge each felt will be placed on the above scrap booking paper to see the level of transparency.
Acrylic $0.25

Acrylic $0.25

Eco-Felt $0.30

Eco-Felt $0.30


Wool/Rayon Blend $0.75

Wool/Rayon Blend $0.75

Wool 5.00

Wool $5.00

Winner: Wool Blend  with 100% Wool in a close second.

Challenge #3 Stitching

Each of the felts were cut into smaller strips and machine sewn together (wool to wool and so on) with red thread, I gave them 1 good  tug and here are the results.


ecosewn Blendsewn


When I placed the sewn pieces down I noticed that the act of yanking them distorted some more than others so I thought I’d show you that too.


Winner: Tie Wool’s loft almost completely hides the stitches but blend holds a nicer looking seam and wasn’t easily pulled out of shape as much as wool.

Challenge #4 Fuzz Factor

Each of the felts was cut into a free hand circle I then pinched along the edges to see how much fuzz each felt produced:


I also wanted to see how much fuzz was produced with normal usages, I am nothing if not though, so I cut apart my stitched felt (which is why the sample pieces are a bit wonky) and placed a clear return address sticker onto each piece of felt smoothed it down and removed it VIOLA!


Winner: Blend    Second Place:  Wool     Voted most likely a waste of money: Acrylic, seriously it almost has a hole in it at this point!

 Challenge #5 Shrinkage

For this test I threw my 5×7 inch sheets from challenges 1 & 2 into the washer with a few pairs of jeans for agitation and washed them on warm, which here in Arizona means scalding hot, basically the worst conditions for felt.


Winner: Eco-felt Second Place: Acrylic

Challenge #6 The moment you’ve all be waiting for…FIRE!

For this challenge I took a small swatch of each felt equal in size and lit them on fire waited 10 seconds and took a picture of what was left,  in some cases the flame just kind of died out on it’s own but only the acrylic had to be put out before 10 seconds.  All tests were conducted outdoors in a well ventilated area, don’t try this at home.

As silly as this test seems it’s actually a serious matter. If you intend to attach your felt to clothing or make toys that a child might sleep with melting plastics can cause serious burns. Because fire can be extinguished but melted plastic actually sticks to and continues to burn into the skin, melted plastics are far more dangerous in a fire.


The Acrylic did not self extinguish and created a thick black smoke as it melted,  giving off drips of plastic. It burned surprisingly rapidly and frankly between the smoke and the quick burning I got a little nervous and blew it out, so this is it after about 5 seconds. It left behind hard plastic globules (I have always wanted to use that word).

fireEcoThe Eco-felt was a little bit of a slower starter which was surprising considering it’s composition is identical to acrylic I can only assume it was treated with some kind of chemical however once it was ignited it melted very rapidly and created the same signature black smoke. Burnt areas once cool enough to touch (about a full minute after burning) were hard solid plastic masses.


The blend felt did not create any real smoke to speak of and self extinguished almost immediately in fact the only time it seemed to want to burn is when direct flame as applied. The burnt areas created a soft grey ash which when touched fell into dust.


As odd as it sounds I couldn’t actually get the wool to burn at all. I held the lighter to the wool the entire time and this was all I was able to accomplish, there was no smoke although there was a faint smell of burning hair although nothing like the smell of human hair and what I did manage to burn created a soft ash which fell to dust on contact.

  Winner: Wool  Second: Blend

Well there it is, I welcome your questions, comments, or suggestions.



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