Needle Felting Dictionary

A B C D E F G J K L M N P R S T V W #



This is used as a replica of natural wool. It is manufactured to mimic the fibres at a lower cost and higher quantity, These yarns are versatile, durable, and hypoallergenic however it is not environmentally friendly, and can be notoriously more difficult to needle felt, however works well as a tops option.


This is a pointed tool used for piercing holes. It is good for making holes for eyes.


An armature is a ‘skeleton’ usually made from bendable wire. Once you have formed the basic skeleton shape of your animal you then wrap wool around the wire, so you have something to felt onto to build the animal up. 


Barbs/Barbed Needle

These needles have tiny notches along their shaft. The barbs serve the unique purpose of catching the fibres so that they move with the needle, locking and tangling them together. Most needles have barbs in a one way design to that when you withdraw the needle the fibres stay in place. However a reverse needle is designed to do the opposite.


Carded wool that comes off the carding machine in a thick sheet or pad. You can pull this wool off in ‘strips’ and ‘sheets’ and manipulate into the desired shape.


This is medium-course wool that allows for fast felting with a ‘hairier’ finish.


 If you didn’t know already, just like pedigree dogs, there are many different breeds of sheep. The important thing to know in relation to needle felting is that different breeds of sheep produce different thickness (micron) of wool. 



When the word carded is used in our website, we are referring to wool that has been brushed so the fibres lay in all different directions making it much easier to needle felt. Carded wool can come in the form of ‘Batts’ and ‘Slivers’


Carding is the process of brushing wool. It can be used to lay the fibres in either the same or multiple directions (both of which affect the outcome of your needle felting project).

Carding Machine

Also known as a drum carder, is a mechanical machine to help with the carding process. These are either manually turned, or the less labour intensive and more expensive option is an automatic electric one.

Carding Brushes

Also known as Hand Carders, are a pair of wooden paddles covered in a pin cloth.

Coarse Needle

This needle is thicker, as it grabs hold of the fibres more easily it is good for needle felting fast, or leaving a more textured finish.


We use this term in relation to our carefully curated selection of wools that we bundle together in collections of colours or wool type. This gives you an easy way to buy multiple wools at a discount.

Core Shape

When you hear needle felters refer to the core shape, this is usually the beginning stage of a project. A cheaper wool is used to bulk up their 3D project as this part is often unseeable by the end of the project if a top coat of finer or coloured wool is applied.

Core Wool

This is carded wool that is usually undyed in its natural colour therefore should be cheaper. It is often used to create the base shape of larger projects, that is later cover with a top coat.


A breed of sheep with medium thickness wool – it is highly recommended for needle felting 3D shapes. It is a slightly cheaper wool which makes it a fantastic choice for creating the core shape.


Much like with human hair, often sheep’s wool has a natural texture and movement to it, which when not carded gives the wool a curly/wavey finish.



The Dyeing House Gallery of Tuscany that produce world renown wool in it’s many forms, including the fibres we stock in order for you to make your creations.

Drum Carder

Also known as a carding machine.


This means that the wool has been artificially coloured to create the phenomenal shades available on the market.


Eri Silk

This shimmering silk is the product of the domesticated silkworm and very strong due to it's natural density compared to other silks.


Flat Sheet Felt

If you ever owned a Fuzzie Felt kit when you were younger, you will know exactly what flat sheet felt is and how much fun it can be, Whether you call it ‘Flat Felt’, ‘Sheet Felt’, or even just ‘Felt’, it all means the same thing. It is a flat textile material made of wool (or its synthetic siblings) that is produced by matting, condensing, and pressing fibres together until they form a sheet. You can get it in a variety of thicknesses, colours, and textures.


No, we’re not talking about the stuff you’re supposed to eat. In relation to needle felting, it’s the tiny little individual hairs that make up your wool bundles. Fibres can be either natural or man-made.

Fine Needle

This needle is thin, and so is good for putting in tiny details such as eyes. It is also good for smoothing our your work at the end.

Finger Protectors

Your new best friends! These are made from sturdy material (usually leather) to protect your fingers from those sharp needles. (Top Tip: when using the finger protectors place on your thumbs and finger that are holdingthe project.)


Felt is a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing, and pressing fibres together. Felt can be made of natural fibres such as wool or animal fur, or from synthetic fibres. When you stab at your fibres with your needle, you are creating your own felt!



This is used in relation to the needles thickness. In this case the lower the number the thicker the needle e.g. 38G needle is thicker than a 40G needle.



This is a breed of sheep whose wool is naturally dark and textured. Perfect for natural projects.



We use this term to describe the parcels we sell that include all the equipment and ingredients needed to create a project. We have kits exclusively designed by either by ourselves or renown Fibre Artists.



Small bunch of untreated wool, often still with the natural curl. This is perfect for adding effect and texture to a project.

Lincoln Longwool

This is a breed of sheep whose wool is long in length, strong, lustrous and with beautiful flowing crimp (wavy curls).



In relation to needle felting the word Maori is used by DHG to name their iconic blend of carded sheep’s wools from New Zealand. It is lovely soft wool (approx. 27 Microns), that has quite short fibres so is perfect for shallow felting. Used to create a smooth ‘top coat’ on your 3D makes, or on your 2D felted pictures. It is a little finer than carded Corriedale (for realistic pictures/portraits you need lots of different shades of colour in small quantities). We stock the full range from DHG in 79 different shades.


A breed of sheep whose wool is particularly soft due to its fine fibres (approx. 19 Microns). This is good for adding fine details, or a VERY smooth top coat. [Top Tip: Merino wool really needs to be carded when used for needle felting! Trust us, we learnt the hard way.]


The measurement used to describe the size of very small objects, such as the thickness of individual wool fibres. The higher the micron the more coarse the wool.


This is a breed of sheep whose wool is naturally soft and full of character. Perfect for natural projects.



This is usually in reference to the colour of the wood, and means completely natural colours just as they come off the sheep!

Needle Felting

In a nutshell, needle felting is the process of transforming wool fibres into a solid textile using a barbed needle. When you felt wool, you agitate, matt and condense the fibres so that they bond together.


Thin pointed tools made from metal. The right type of needle is essential to the needle felting process. It needs to be one with barbes on its edges, otherwise the felt process won’t happen, you’ll simply be punching holes with a sewer/knitter’s needle. These come in many different shapes, lengths and sizes, so picking the right gauge for your project is important.


Pen-Style Holder

Ergonomically designed to sit better in your hand. This tool allows you to hold your needles like a pen.


Raw Fleece

Straight off the sheep’s back.

Reverse Needle

This needles barbs face the opposite direction from regular felt needs, so that it is able to pulls fibres from inside to the outside. They are used to create a fluffier finish.


Another word for tops.


Stab Mats

These provide a surface for you to needle felt your creation on, that both protects your furniture and your needles. There are many different types, made of multiple materials, catering to varying budgets. Needle felters know only too well the impact a good mat can have on the finished product, as well as the overall experience whilst making it.

Star Needle

The needle has barbs on four sides and close to the tip. It is perfect for shallow felting and smoothing.


This is a breed of sheep whose wool is naturally soft and full of character. Perfect for natural projects.


When carded wool is processed into long rope-like pieces making it easier to work with.It is particularly good for knotting and wrapping round shapes, or armature wire.


Triangular Needle

The needle has barbs on three sides. It is good for needle felting 3D shapes.

Top Coat

This refers to the visible, outermost layer of wool. [Top Tip: Dependent on the desired final affect, will impact the choice of wool you choose. E.g. furrier finish for animals would use a coarser wool (Corriedale) or smooth finish for portrait pictures, would use a finer wool (Maori or Merino) – the choice of needle will also go a long way to help either fluff up, or smooth down your creation.]


Washed wool which is carded into smooth lengths with long fibres, all following the same direction. (These are also sometimes called Roving) This is more difficult to create 3D shapes, however is good for creating a top coat of fur/hair.

Twisted Needle

The needle length is twisted, which allows for fast felting and leaves less needle holes in your work.

Twisted Star Needle

The needle has four barbs close to the tip and is also twisted which means it felts fast.



This can sometimes be found as small, dry bits of matter in your wool. It’s nothing to be worried about as it just goes to show you how natural this product is.


An artificial silk.



This is a breed of sheep whose wool is the finest of the long wool breeds (however is still fair coarse). Perfect for natural projects.

Wet Felting

In the wet felting process, warm soapy water is applied to layers of wool and other fibres, while repeatedly agitating or rubbing the fibres so that they knit and weave together into a single piece of fabric.


A textile fibre obtained from sheep.


World of Wool based in Yorkshire is one of the suppliers we use, they have a phenomenal range of colours, wools and fibres.



Two Dimensional. Our 2D kits help you to create your own picture.