In order to prevent the needle from breaking,a felting matt or pad is used in case the needle is pokes through your felted wool project, and out the other side. If you poked through your felted project on a table, the sharp tip of the needle would break off.
Foam blocks are the typical solution used as a felting surface, but they definitely have some major negatives. For one, foam is not sustainable in the least! It doesn't breakdown in landfills, and when you poke it repeatedly, bits of foam breakdown and start to get stuck in your needle projects. Yuck! These foam blocks are affordable, but break down requiring replacement every year or so.
In order to be a more sustainable company, we decided to switch to a more sustainable and long term solution for our felting pads. a zippered re useable bag.