I have purchased a felting machine -- the Babylock Embellisher. Very impressive, after several years of doing needle felting by hand. The ability to cover lots of ground quickly and thoroughly is mind boggling. My machine has 12 needles, and includes the ability to feed yarn directly into the needle path, for felting linear patterns.
Here are two quick samples to share:
This is from scrap ends of yarn. I know it looks like a pile of yarn, but it really is a flat, tightly felted piece of fabric now. The 100% wool of course felted into more of a flat mat than the acrylic, but all yarns worked.
And the back side
Note the lines on the front side -- I flipped to the back, ran the felter, giving a change of texture.
This example uses lint from the dryer!
While not as sturdy, it is certainly fabric. This example was then layered with batting and backing fabric, and then machine quilted and embellished. The nature of lint makes it pretty low key, colorwise, and as an individual piece, not as outstanding. Until you know is is merely lint!
For both the yarn scraps and the lint, I used a piece of netting, giving something for the fibers to mesh onto.
Here is a diagram of the machine:
It looks like a sewing machine, just with a cluster of needles, no thread and no bobbin!
Here is a review of several felting machines, that I think is very informative, and as the woman at the store concurred, given her experience with a few felting machines, I bought it without a test.
Review of machines
Machine motor strength and speed, as well as the number of needles and the ease of changing them are the main qualities to look for. I had to special order my machine through a local sewing machine store, as they do not have enough demand to stock them. I could have done the order on line of course, but preferred to give my business to a locally owned shop, and the price was competitive.
The possibilities for fiber art are endless with a machine like this!