DIY Stab Bag
Creating your own needle felting stab pad from recycled or sustainable materials will help you to craft with more environmental responsibility. The polyurethane foam pads commonly used in needle felting are petroleum based and are not post-consumer recyclable. The foam is treated with fire retardant chemicals and breaks down to create dust that is inhaled and also irritatingly gets into your fibre work. A safer, more sustainable alternative is to make your own stab pad from more environmentally friendly materials such as recycled or biodegradable fabric, or of course, wool. The example shown in the photo is about 30cm long and was knitted in the round from left over hand spun and commercial wool yarns. To make your own version, knit a square or rectangle in stocking stitch to the size required, then fold it in half and stitch up the edges leaving a small gap. Wash the knitted pad in the washing machine a few times to felt it. [This ensures that the contents don’t leak out] Then fill three quarters full with dry rice, and stitch up securely. To add a touch of fragrance you could include some dried lavender inside the pad or perhaps a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Old woollen items could be recycled as stab pads too. A felted sleeve or body of an old sweater would make an ideal stab pad.
To keep your stab pad clean and to avoid fibre transfer, keep a few pieces of recycled cotton fabric to hand. Lay them over the pad whilst you work then lift off to remove unwanted fibres.
Remember, if knitting your own, to use 100% wool that is not super washed. Super washed wool doesn’t felt. A version of this blog post appeared as an article in issue 10 of British Fibre Art magazine.