Here is how we create needle felted balls in our home...
Material: Wool Roving, needle felting needle, foam upholstery block (you can also use a sponge), old nylons if you choose to wet felt in the dryer at the end
Start with a small amount of roving of any color. You will be adding layers as you go, so start small. Gently and tightly roll the roving into a cylinder.
Fold the cylinder into a ball shape. This shape does not need to be smooth since you will be adding more layers.
Begin to push the needle into the ball from different sides and angles. The barbed needle will catch the fibers and push them into the ball. Gradually work your way around the ball. When your ball starts to form a sphere, wrap more roving around a bit at a time and continue to needle felt.
As you wrap the roving, notice that the more you stab the needle in the same place, the more compact the area becomes. You can use this technique to shape your ball, or in the future to create different shapes. The more you use the needle, the tighter and smaller your ball will become.
If you did not start your ball with the color you desire, you can always add roving on top and change the color at any time.
Once you've created your ball shape, you can add on whatever pattern or design you wish simple by placing the roving where you want and stabbing it into place with the needle. The options are endless.
When you are happy with your ball and design, you can play with it immediately, or wet felt it to further combine the fibers. The simplest way to wet felt your ball is to put it in the washer inside a pair of nylons. You can also dip your ball in warm (almost hot) soapy water and gently rub the felt between your hands.
These balls are wonderful for gentle play, rolling, bowling, playing with baby, decorating, or even adding a small bit of yarn and hanging on the Christmas tree. Below are several example of patterns I've created recently. Two of these balls are being offered as a giveaway today over at the Rhythm of the Home, so stop by or make your own.