Needle Felting: Finishing and Embellishing Textiles

Skill Level


Required Skills:

  • No prior experience required

Class Length

  • 2.5 Days
  • Friday: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • Saturday: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • Sunday: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm


Needle felting is a useful and fun technique that can be used to both embellish fabrics and construct items. This workshop focuses on needle felting techniques for creating pictorial panels that can be used on garments, accessories, and furnishings and goes beyond to construction techniques. The use of handwoven, knit, pre-felted, and commercial fabrics as backgrounds will be discussed and samples made. Samples and a finished pictorial panel will be completed that can be mounted for display or sewn into a finished pillow, purse, or garment.

Methods of blending fibers to make custom batts for felting wool, silk, and metallics will be shown. Incorporating yarns, mohair locks, pre-felted sections, and other elements that enhance the final work will be explored. Learn needle felting techniques used in sewn items for binding seams, reducing bulk in seams, making darts, shaping armholes and hatbands, and more. Exploration will also include designing with handwovens for garments, hats, etc.


Registration Fee $425 Members; $500 Non-members
Materials Fee $15

Materials Fee includes: Wool fiber, yarn, silk, and other novelty fiber, sample backing fabric, handouts.

Students to Bring

  • 1/2 yard fabric or two 18 x 18 inch fabric squares. Light-weight wool, woven or knit is best (Recycled is great!)
  • Wool felting needles: 5-10 each of small, medium, and large
  • Single felting needle holder
  • Multiple felting needle holder (often holds 5 to 8 needles)
  • Needle felting pad
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Pictures of scenery, e.g. sunsets, mountains, flowers, trees
  • Garment to embellish (optional)
  • Finger cots (protectors) (optional)

Instructor Bio

Barbara Cabral received her MA from the University of Akron researching the use of madder in Ohio coverlets. She has taught Contemporary Needle Arts at the University of Akron and in Tallin, Estonia, where she collected Estonian and traditional card-weaving textiles. She lectures on textile topics including Pictorial Needle Felting, Khmer Hol (Ikat), Natural Dyes, Sewing with Handwoven Fabric, Working with Lotus Fiber, and Estonian Knitting.

Since the early 1980s, her work has been exhibited in Ohio and in Florida. In 2020, she received 1st place in the HGA fashion show Seasons of the Smokies for a woven and needle-felted cloak. In 2022, her woven and needle-felted vest and hat were also included in the HGA Convergence fashion show. She now shares these award-winning techniques in workshops and lectures.

Raising silkworms since 2013 led her to travel to Thailand and Cambodia where she visited textile venues and met with weavers, dyers, golden silkworm farmers, and conservators. She continues to travel to Cambodia to study Khmer Hol (Ikat) and enjoys presenting workshops & lectures on Khmer weaving.


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