When I first paged through this book, I will admit, I was a little nervous. The projects looks so complex and the directions for the basic techniques you need to learn take up 15 pages. However, when I started reading, my apprehensions were slowly put to rest.
As the needle you use in this craft is very sharp and fragile, needle felting is not a craft young kids should be involved in. The author warns that you will more than likely poke yourself more than once while learning how to do these techniques. She suggests that the projects in this book are suitable for people that are ages 9 and over. You will have to keep your child's abilities in mind and decide for yourself at what age your child could participate.
The sharp needle is what makes the magic happen when it comes to needle felting. A good needle, and needle holder, is a must. A felting needle has sharp barbs that run from the tip up the side of the needle. As you poke the needle into a ball of wool, these barbs catch onto the fibers and move them. This act causes the fibers to tangle and bind together. The more you poke the needle into a ball of wool, the small and tighter it gets, just as if you were to wash a new wool sweater in hot water.
Besides the introduction at the front of this book and the index in the back, this book consists of three main sections. The first section describes the materials you need to needle felt. The second section shows you several different needle felting techniques that you will need to make all of the animal projects, which is what the third section of the book is full of (the projects).
The materials section is short and sweet. The supplies needed are so simple and few, they are covered on one page. As I mentioned above, you need a special needle and wool, along with a needle holder, a foam pad, and embroidery scissors. There are a few other items the author suggests, but you probably have all of them lying around your home. The only thing this section lacked, in my opinion, is a photo of a felting needle. I would have loved to see what one looks like without having to do an online search.
The techniques section, on the other hand, fills 15 pages of this book. It starts off by explaining, in more detail, how needle felting works and sharing a list of commonly used terms such as wefts, wisps, curling, and needling. This section teaches you how to make many of the basic shapes you need to create all of the animals in this book, including how to enlarge pieces that turn out too small and how to shape pieces to get the desired effects. It also has detailed directions showing you how to join and blend the different pieces together and how to add all of the extra details, like stripes, spots, and eyes. This section if full of colored illustrations too, to help you along.
There are 35 different animal patterns included in this book. All of the animals are adorable and the projects are broken down into four categories. You can make a collection of wild animals, an assortment or birds, some woodland creatures, and some playful pets. You can create an elephant or an orangutan, a duck or a penguin, a hedgehog or a fox, a hamster or a dachshund, plus many others.
For each animal, you will find a list of the different wools you will need, the supplies you will need that were explained in the materials section, along with any other supplies the specific project requires. The project page explains briefly how to make the different body parts, referring you also to the pages you should refer to in the techniques section. It goes more in depth on what extra details and finishing touches you should add to each animal. On the top of each project page, you will find a colored picture of the animal from all angles to help you when it comes to assembling the bodies and adding the details.
After reading through the book, I was no longer intimated. I was excited to try my hand at needle felting. The author suggests starting out by making one of the birds in this book. I think I will try making a penguin first. I do know the amazing variety of animal patterns shared will definitely give me plenty of opportunities to have fun and practice this craft technique.