The Woman Who Loves Felting


Martha’s needle felted bird and grandmother.

Kara McGeehan, Staff Writer

Martha J. Kane has lived in Goffstown, New Hampshire for a total of twenty years. Martha is a Juvenile Probation Officer, but she is not all tough and strict. Martha, in her free time, enjoys felting; although she doesn’t have much free time being a Probation Officer. Martha likes her job as a Juvenile Probation Officer; specifically she enjoys the diversity and change of scenery. Her job takes her to a variety of places like courts, schools, police departments, mental hospitals, and directly into homes; this leaves little time for her hobby. She has more time in the winter, because she is in her house all day after her job.

The first time she needle felted, she was in Hillsboro after a court case. She was visiting St. Lawrence Church to look for cool buttons. St. Lawrence Church’s had a list of classes they would be teaching, she decided to come back and do the class. When she was a child her family had a sheep, she had maintained an interest in wool, especially when she got her spinning wheel. Now she sells her art if she has enough time to mass-produce objects.

One of Martha’s favorite things that she has felted. She used needle felting to create this little guy!

When Martha describes needle felting she said that the needle felting uses ramni wool and a sharp needle with barbs. She described the needle as being sharp with barbs to help the felt compact. This makes the whole process quicker. To make an object, you need to poke into the felt for a small amount of time, this makes the felt stick together and create an object.

She now participates many different types of felting: needle felting, machine felting, washing machine felting, wet felting, and felting on crochet. The wet felting uses merino wool. The felt absorbs the water and helps join the fibers. “Wet felting is good for making slipper, hats, gloves…” she said, “It is not as course.” She says that to get the fibers to stick together, you wrap, rub, throws, and bang it onto the table. Washing machine felting is like wet felting, but a lot easier because the washer throws it and rubs it for you. Machine felting is a lot like needle felting, except there is a row of needles with barbs that are on a board. The board makes it a lot faster to make flat thing, like sweatshirts and socks.

Her favorite is needle felting, but will enjoy doing any felting. She mostly does 3D objects; pins, flowers, and holiday items. “The melted snowman takes about 45 minutes,” Martha estimates, when asked about how long it would take to do a project. “It really depends on how much effort and time you’d like to put into the project.” Later she talked about the different types of felting and how to do each of them.

When asked what her last project was, she replied “Does it count if it isn’t finished?” She laughed and proceeded to explain “I had found a sweatshirt, cut it up and needle felted a bird onto the sweatshirt. I’m not sure I like it, so I need to find a way to cover the birds.” Martha has done two church fairs, but unfortunately declined the last two opportunities. She said that she did not have enough items to sell.

Betsy has not ever felted, or tried to felt because she “Didn’t think that it would maintain her interest.” Martha admits to not felting with people, because there is no one who she knows felts. She continues to felt in her free time, but her free time is sparse. Her life as always been as diverse as her action-packed, adventure-filled job. She has moved all over New Hampshire, but she likes observing different cultures all over, even if they aren’t that far apart. Martha enjoys felting because it is diverse and a great stress reliever, but mostly because it brings joy to her.  It also relates to her childhood because she had a sheep when she was a child. “I crocheted for many year,” Martha states when asked about her love for wool, “and this was an opportunity to take up wool to another level.” She now doesn’t just stop when she puts her crochet hook down, she continues to her needle to felt in her free time.