So, Norway, eh? Norway. Mmm. It’s snowy there, and they, er, well, there’s sheep there, that’s for sure. Also maybe trolls and Vikings. Oh, and ex-mobsters hiding out, according to that fine documentary, Lillyhammer. But there are sheep. I’m not sure quite how many sheep there are, but there’s definitely more than 5.
Oh look, a wool review, isn’t that lucky! *Breaks out into a cold sweat*
Flippity Felts Category – Thin and Straggly
- Responds better to a 36 triangle
- Soft and silky end results
- A bit tough going at times
- Leaves very few creases or needle marks
- Doesn’t wire-wrap particularly well
- Good for hair or long animal fur
- Not the easiest when felting small features or ‘carving’ facial structure etc
About the Wool
- Micron – 29 – 36
- Staple length – 8cm – 12cm
Available colours – natural white, grey, black-brown
We’ve established that I know very little about Norway – don’t tell anyone, will you. However, in keeping with the general theme of not knowing (Jon Snow is an Oxbridge scholar in comparison to me right now), I can’t actually tell you much about the origins of this sheep – mainly because I can’t tell if the ‘Norwegian’ is actually an actual proper actual sheep or if it’s a generic ‘descriptor’ name because the sheep come from… Finland or somewhere. I lose track.
You guys… you still love me, right?
This is what I’d consider a ‘thin’ fibre, in that the lengths of roving themselves feel light, thin and almost scraggly (this is absolutely not a reflection of the fibre’s quality, but merely an indication of how it feels to handle/ pull apart. It’s almost rope-like.)
The Ball Test
The Ball Test is my comparison test between the different core wools to help determine suitability for purpose (i.e. dry needle felting), versatility and speed. I start off with approx. 10 inches of fibre and felt using a 36 gauge triangle needle for five minutes (recording my progress at both the 3 and 5 minute marks), then I spend another 5 minutes using a 38 gauge triangle, recording my results at the 10-minute mark. If I feel that the ball is still unfinished at this point I continue until it is completed to my standards – a tight, firm, even ball that is relatively smooth and as lump-free as possible.
So, this is what we’re starting off with:
0-3 minutes, using a 36 triangle needle
This is actually easier to felt than I thought, considering how silky the fibres are. As you form the ball the fibres do slip against each other, which means that the fibres tend to spread out as you felt. This can make it a little tricky, but it’s easy to get used to.
There isn’t much of a crunch when felting this wool but it’s neat to work with – no sticking-out strands and no shedding. I like it, although I have to admit that the ball at 3 minutes is a little bit pathetic…
3-5 minutes, using a 36 triangle needle
At this point I find it’s starting to tighten up and harden in some places, although it’s still loose in others. Some of the wool hasn’t quite been tucked into the ball shape yet, and it’s an oval shape with lots of fold marks. There are also several loose patches that are quite fuzzy. Ideally I would like to use the 36 triangle for a little longer. Ah well.
5-10 minutes, using a 38 triangle needle
The ball is starting to get rounder but still isn’t spherical. It’s squidgey in places and a bit fluffy, but now has very few needle marks or seams. Still isn’t completely finished though.
Finishing the ball (10+ minutes – ball finished at 12 minutes)
For the finishing steps I revert back to the 36 triangle for one more minute. The ball makes a great deal of progress in that one minute alone and now becomes spherical. I switch back to the 38 triangle for one more minute to tidy the ball up and I’m pleased with the final result – it’s a little squidgey but ok, has a crunchier feel and is soft, if slightly fuzzy.
A pretty standard piece of fibre – it works quite well for most tasks but struggles with some of the more detailed work. I like the oatmeal undertones to the natural white colour, and the finished result feels softer than I first thought it would be. It wasn’t the quickest fibre I’ve felted with, but it wasn’t the slowest either. I’d definitely recommend using a 36-gauge needle for as long as possible before switching to a 38 or upwards as the felting process definitely slowed down and made less progress once I had changed to a 38 triangle. Using a 40 or 42 gauge needle seemed the very epitome of pointlessness at times, possibly because the fibres are quite long.
When I used this fibre in my own felting afterwards I found that it wasn’t particularly good at being wrapped around wires or even pipe-cleaners. Similarly, I found it quite tricky to be precise when creating very small parts, such as noses, cheeks etc. What it did excel at was adding mass to larger projects – it definitely performed well when being used to layer on top of a core shape that had been made using a different fibre.
Would I buy this again? Probably not. It’s a good-enough fibre, so if this is one of your only options, or you know someone who sells this and you want to support them, don’t feel too put off by this review. It does have its uses – particularly as hair/long fur, and adds great mass to the larger project. It has a very nice, soft finish, and it is possible to get a lot of use out of this. However, there are a lot of other fibres that do all this better, and with more versatility. Long-stapled fibres are not the best fibres for 3d needle felting.
Would You Create a whole model using this wool?
Honestly? No. Don’t get me wrong – there is a good deal to recommend this fibre, but whilst my experience was overall OK there are far easier fibres to felt with. Creating a ball was a little harder than many other fibres I’ve used, although not so difficult as to put me off, but the biggest challenge (as I found when using the rest of this fibre up) is that it’s trickier to create your smaller details – hands, cheeks, noses etc. I also found it tough to carve out facial features such as eye-dents and the other bumps and grooves that give faces or limbs their ‘life’.