Felting needles are used for needle felting (does this sound like one of those circular dictionary definitions? “knit.ting, noun, the craft or action of knitting”), which is how you make those adorable felted creatures found at gift stores or yarn shops or, as the case may be, on the desk of Press Herald assistant features editor Wendy Almeida. A cute-as-a-bug’s-ear, inches-high felted sheep, made by her daughter Lucia with the family’s own wool, sits on the base of her computer screen. The basics of needle felting are simple: Roll the wool into a ball or tube, place it on a foam base and stick the needle in and out of the wool – over and over again. The needle’s agitation makes the fiber ever firmer until it’s the density you want (unlike wet felting, needle felting does not require water). Needles come in different sizes, depending on the fineness of wool or the detail work you’re creating. The needles have barbs and those little teeth grab the interlocking wool fibers to compress them. “Felting is super fun,” Almeida says. “Needles don’t last long because you break them when you get a little too enthusiastic. There is some element of surprise and a lack of accuracy when you wet felt; with needle felting, you can be more precise. Felting is easier than spinning wool, so a lot of natural fiber fans choose this hobby. It’s especially fun to teach older kids. But they can get excited: ‘I just want to get this one little thing!’ And then the needle goes right through and stabs a finger.” Ouch. You’ll find fiber supplies, including these felting needles, and many, many more fiber-related displays and artwork –not to mention sheep dogs – this weekend at the 15th Annual Fiber Frolic in Windsor on Saturday and Sunday. Details at fiberfrolic.com.

— PEGGY GRODINSKY