The Shapes of Felting Needles
Last Sunday we covered one of the confusing labels on felting needles, so today we will cover the second label: shapes. Typically when you go out and find felting needles the pack will say that they are “triangle point“. This refers to the sides of the needle that you will find the barbs on. The points of the needles are circular to begin with, but will switch to flat sides that hold the barbs. So, in the case of this triangle point needle, there will be three flat, stable sides.
Triangle points are one of the most common needles you’ll find, but there are other shapes out there and each have their own benefits. Let’s take a quick look at them.
The next type you will likely find is called a “star point“. These needles have four sides instead of three, but rather than being flat these sides are concave and can break a little more easily. Despite being a bit fragile, star point needles do very well when it comes to bulk work and creating a smoother top to your piece because they’re able to cover more surface area. They’re pretty awesome!
Now, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) needles are going to leave visible holes in your work. They do have to push into the fiber to felt it, after all. This is where “twist point” or “spiral point” needles come in! Rather than having the barbs on straight sides, these needles actually do have a twist to them. Not only do they felt quickly and create a smoother finish, but they also can create smaller, less visible holes in your work. I haven’t had the chance to try them out, personally, so here’s a photo of them in the wild on a majestic Unibaa.
The last needle that I’m going to talk about isn’t so much of a needle shape as it is an abnormality in the barbs, themselves. Usually on felting needles the barbs are facing downwards so they push the fibers together; However, there are needles called “reverse barb” or “inverted barb” that face the other way. Instead of creating a firmly felted surface, these barbs will take your felt and pull it outwards to create a more fluffy finish.
So now you’ve got your needles, your fiber, and your excitement to get started, but hold on a moment, friend! There’s still something you’re missing! What is it? Don’t worry, we’ll talk about it next Sunday.