Reported by Deja Jetmir
The Clover Felting Needle Tool is an innovative and easy-to-use instrument for anyone who has ever wanted to try needle felting. The particular tool I am reviewing is the 5 barb felting needle that is used for appliqué work.
Quick lesson on how this thing works: felting is the interlocking of animal fibers to make a dense woven fabric. Wool, alpaca and just about any other natural animal fiber can be felted.
The most common way of felting is through agitation – either vigorously rubbing it with your hands or using a washing machine. The other way of felting is using specially-designed needles. These needles have numerous barbs along the shaft that help the fibers interlock as the needle is punched through it.
Clover designed a tool with 5 barbed needles which not only makes fast work of you project, but also helps secure it that much more. As a crocheter by trade, I picked up the Clover tool to try adding felted crochet appliqués to finished felted crochet articles. There is nothing I loathe more than sewing a finished crochet project and I thought this might help with adding final touches without all of the work. So, not only am I reviewing the main purpose of this tool as a needle felting implement, but I am also reviewing it on how well it works for the purpose in which I chose it.
Fair warning before we go on: I never claimed to be talented in constructing needle felted appliqués in anyway. The projects you are about to see are purely for the ability to review the ease of use and quality of product, I apologize now for the poor representations of the flower and butterfly.
Before beginning, I needed to compile the needed accessories to be able to create my projects. You not only need the needle felting tool and felting implements, but you also need a base to put your project on for the needles to be able to pass through the work completely and not damage any furniture you are working on. I am a thrifty person, so before purchasing the recommended needle felting brush mat from Clover to use with my new tool, I chose to purchase a block of foam from the flower department of my local craft store. Then using wool roving and an already felted piece of wool crochet I began designing.
I placed the roving into the simple shape of a flower, then releasing the lock on the tool, I began easily punching my design into place. The five barbs are stationary in the tool. The outer clear plastic sleeve retracts with each push allowing the barbs to be exposed and pushed into your work. This is a great feature Clover has that other needle felting tools do not. Most other needle felting tools are a single barb with no protection. Though I wouldn’t let my child play with this tool, I feel much more comfortable having this one with its safety lock in my house rather than a stray piece of needle barb laying about.
The tool worked very smoothly, and within a minute I had finished the first layer of my flower. I took other colors of roving and placed them around my completed base, working them in the same way as the first. It was very easy to manipulate the roving with the edge of the plastic sleeve before pressing down to secure it with the barbs. Before long my flower was complete. I could make out the holes from where I was punching through, I was able to cover it up by rubbing the top of my work with my finger. So far the block of foam is working well as a base.
Next, I decided to try a simple piece of store-bought felt with the wool roving. My sad attempt at a butterfly was easy to complete, but the block of foam has decided to vomit on the back of my project. I’m guessing because the piece of felt was much thinner as compared to my crocheted felt piece, the needles dug deeper into the foam causing it to come apart and stick to the roving that was pushed through. Unfortunately, the holes made by the barbs are more apparent on this piece, also because of the thinness of the felt, but that is not readily seen from a distance.
Back side of project with foam vomit
I broke down and bought the recommended Clover Felting Needle Mat for the next project:
Photo of brush mat from manufacturer’s website
Now I am ready to try the intended use I wanted from this tool. Felted crochet appliqués on a felted crochet background. Using the same technique as the other projects, I simply placed the base material on top of my mat, then laid the appliqué in the desired location. I was quickly able to add the crocheted tree appliqués with no problem at all. There is no drag even though both pieces of the project are quite thick, the needles moved smoothly and attached all the pieces with no trouble.
This product is well-made and well-thought out. It really makes needle felting appliqués an easy and fun task. The only drawback I see to needle felting appliqués as opposed to sewing them is the fact that you cannot use this for small children’s projects. I know this because as soon as I turned my back on my newly finished crochet project, my young daughter pulled all of the trees right off. I tested the roving to see if it was more secure and it too can be pulled off. This is of course helpful if you make a mistake as you are working, but not good for the busy fingers of a young child.
- Works smoothly and quickly
- Great safety features in the plastic sheath and locking mechanism
- Needles are easily replaceable and come in two thicknesses
- Finished appliqués can be pulled apart easily
- Extra cost for recommended and needed brush mat
- Visible holes from needle punches in some of the finished work
The Clover Felting Needle Tool is available at Amazon.com
Have you tried the Clover Needle Felting Tool, or any other similar product? We’d love to hear your feedback about them.