I have been needle feting for quite a while now and always looking for new challenges and new subjects (because I get bored very, very easily!)
So, I make different things, such as this Elf Doll walking her Dachshund. She is all needle felted and is attached to the log slice plinth she stands on. Her hair is dyed lambswool, her dress and knickers are wet felted and her little elf shoes are needle felted. She has pointy elf ears and a sweet face. She is taking her little miniature wire haired dachshund for a walk on a rainbow cord lead and holding her flower head garland in her left hand. All the dachshunds are needle felted using a range of wools. Once the body shape is firm, I mix 4 or 5 colours to get the variegated colours in the wire haired coat.
I follow a very talented Russian felt artist who does lots of mice dressed in clothes and doing “human” things. That got me thinking about Dachshunds and how they could be used in the same way. My first project was this “father and son”, both wired onto a plinth, with the youngster looking up at daddy. I knitted a little jumper for the boy and wet felted scarves for both of them. I then added some doll’s house accessories – a top hat and an umbrella for daddy. They are quite dinky, 6 inches and 5 inches respectively.
Next, I made a “girl” dachshund. I knitted her a tiny woolen sleeveless jumper with a roll neck and used a pretty quilting square to make her flared skirt. Her balloon is bright pink Perendale wool needle felted and attached to a wire that looks like string that she is holding in her hand. She is also wired onto the plinth. I felted her around a wire frame and drilled the plinth to insert the wires into 2 small holes so she “free stands”. She is about 6 and a half inches tall.
The final one for this post is one of 2 little boys, one on a winter sledge and the other one pulling him. I knitted 2 little red scarves, to keep them both warm. I glued some glittery white pre-felt onto a plinth, drilled the plinth for the standing boy and glued the sledge on to the white pre-felt. The one on the sledge is sitting with his tail hanging over the edge of the sledge ……. This has a real winter / Christmassy feel – I might take the photos and use them on my Christmas cards this year!
I am carrying on with a tiny doll’s house size pram, which will have in it a needle felted blanket and a sleeping dachshund baby ….. with a “mum” stood up pushing the pram ……..
So – this is a Wire Haired Dachshund Head study and I thought it would be fun to share the stages of the picture being made – so here they are! I started with a piece of blue plain felt and used 3 different browns, white, grey, black, tan and ochre coloured wool batting.
I put the top, middle and ear first so I could see if the proportions were going to be right.
Then I started to fill in some of the blanks
I concentrated on a small area at a time, building up the layers to replicate the blend of hair and mix of colours on the face
The nostrils were tricky because although they are black, the light reflecting gives them a white / silver sheen
By now I was starting to feel happier with it – not totally, but I felt I had a grasp of what still needed to be done
And Finally ……… the picture was complete – I will probably glue it onto a greetings card, or put it in a small frame. Now, onto the next!!!
So, the felting continues. I am blessed that people seem to like my creations and purchase them so I can continue making more! They are great fun and absorbing to make and a change from making functional items like dog show leads and beds! My latest three are:
a little mouse in an apron, holding a piece of cheese
a trotting wire haired dachshund
a new witch to replace the one that is now in her new home!
The mouse was great fun to make. I needle felted her around 2 pipe cleaners to keep her legs straight and used a pipe cleaner for her tail, which also keeps her standing steady! I machine sewed her little apron, felted a flower in front of her ear and felted some bright yellow Perendale wool batting for her cheese …… I used pink nail varnish to colour her black polymer clay nose and I used a long doll needle to stitch her whiskers through, then dabbed them with a bit of glue to keep them in place. The whiskers are Icelandic Top Wool.
Mt trotting wire haired dachshund has been in my mind for a long time but every time I tried it, the leg positions looked all wrong. So, after several attempts I completed this red, which I am moderately pleased with. I looked at lots of videos and pictures of dachshunds moving and found a really good video of a European Champion that helped me finally crack it!
The witch was a pure indulgence. She literally took weeks to make. Her body, arms and legs are all sculptured from Shetland wool batting and her face took a long time as I knew how I wanted her to look ………….. she had several heads before I settled on this one! Her skirt is beautiful – wet felted merino wool. Her top is fine gauge tulle with purple merino wool nuno felted on. Her cloak is black velour with a purple satin lining and has a hood, purple ribbons and 2 Pentagrams embroidered on. She wears a crescent moon bracelet and a moon and stars necklace. Her hair is needle felted in and is a mix of Icelandic Top Wool and synthetic hair extensions. Her broom is twigs from our garden, bound with brown plaited leather.
Well my 2 Green Dachshund Bags are winging their way to their new home in New York
…………………….. so of course I had to make another one! For this one I used bright summer colours. I wet felted the bag from 2 layers of Perendale and 2 layers of Merino wool batting. Then I shaped it, dried it and hand stitched a braided leather handle (bronze) all the way around. I wanted a big, bold front, hence the Dachshund on the move, a bright yellow sunflower, some tiny white Aubretia and a leaf. I needle felted these …………………. it took forever – the sunflower was particularly time consuming as each petal was done individually. I added the white heart to balance it and then turned it over.
On the other side I needle felted a dachshund holding colourful balloons, again all needle felted individually. Along the bottom I needle felted more flowers blue, pink, white and purple – completing my colourful, summery bag!
I feature dogs and Dachshunds in lots of my felt work. So, I wanted to do something different ….. but I wasn’t sure what.
I sat in the garden watching the dogs play (and making sure they did not knock 13 year old Libby off the ramp in their excitement). And the little birds visiting the garden kept my attention for a long time. So busy, so pretty. I recognised the Blue Tit and the Long Tailed Tit and there were plenty of others, some that I did not know. They were busy little things, gathering the hair that I had earlier stripped off the dogs when grooming, stealing the moss from my hanging baskets and troughs for their nests and seeking out insects from the plants and trees.
So I set to work on a new bag. I used Cerise and Mulberry Perendale for the bag. I cut a resist from some cushion-floor vinyl. I used 4 layers of wool strands, wet felted over the resist. I cut the handle holes in when the bag was well felted and continued fulling and shaping with soapy hands. I left to dry for 3 days while I thought about how to complete it. I used nappa leather to hand stitch around the handle holes, both as decoration and to strengthen the handle area. I decided on a Long Tailed Tit on one side with some Primroses and a Marigold. These were needle felted on from a range of Merino, Shetland and Perendale batts.
One the other side I decided on a colourful Blue Tit with some leaves to decorate the bottom, again using a range of wool batts to needle felt them firmly on.
So, I think I probably have OCD. I cannot just do nothing. Ever. If I am not cleaning I am crafting, or grooming dogs, or gardening …… sitting still makes me jumpy. I think this is rooted in having 6 children and never having enough time to get everything done. Now they are grown and gone, and I am not racing up and down the motorway doing business consultancy, I get bored ……………… so although I do lots of crafts, I am always looking for different things to do and to make.
Felting, both needle felting and wet felting have occupied me for a while and I am not yet getting bored ……. because there are so many different things you can do with them. Having started with hats, I carried on with dogs, then pixies and witches, some felted bowls and yesterday I started on a felted bag.
The inside is 2 layers of rust coloured Perendale Batting, the outside is 2 layers of Shetland Undyed Batting and the middle section is 4 layers of the Rust Perendale. I wet felted the bag around a plastic resist – just a shape cut from a plastic file. I used bubble wrap and ordinary washing up liquid, rubbing each side for 5 minutes, and repeating this 4 times before rolling up in a bamboo mat. I then rolled it 50 times, turned it a quarter turn and carried on until all 4 turns were completed. I then turned it over and repeated the process until it had been rolled 400 times. By this time the resist was starting to bend and the wool was well felted. I carefully sliced open the top and removed the resist. Then carried on soaping and working the wool until the bag was firmly felted. I then rinsed (adding some essential oil so it smells nice!), left to dry overnight, before needle felting the embellishments on, braiding the handle and hand stitching that completely around the perimeter of the bag. I am now starting my next bag …….. the dogs are groomed, ironing done, cleaning done …… See my items for sale here:
So for this post I thought I would share my Magical, Mystical Felting, piece by piece …. I have been making lots of felted dogs as people had ordered them and I was itching to try my hand at felted dolls and mystical items …… Finally, I grabbed some time and started firstly on my Child of Pan. She took a while as her face would not behave as I wanted it to! I sculpted her body, arms and legs first, then her hands and fingers (which took ages and were very fiddly) then her head and face, complete with eyelids, eyes and freckles!!. I added her tail, horns and elf like ears and then dressed her. The hair I wanted was not available within my considerable stash of wool so it was off on a trawl of the internet to find what I needed. I found a fantastic artist selling some doll hair seconds made from Tibetan Lambs Wool – she was so kind and sent me extra to make sure I had enough. It was exactly what I wanted – curly, wild, soft and bouncy.
Next I stayed on the “other worldly” theme and started on my little Pixie / Elf. He is sitting cross legged, with his hands on his knees, his wild mop of blonde hair standing up around his elfin ears and a cheeky grin on his face. His long, skinny legs are comfortably crossed, his hat sits by his side and he rests his hands upon his knees. He is dressed in a felted Lichen Green top and Forest Green trousers, with a jaunty cotton bandana loosely tied around his neck. The black and purple psychedelic magical mushroom stands next to him. I made this next and after felting the patterns in I stitched tiny little pearls all over it for that extra bit of magic! I wet felted his little hat and added a braided leather band with a feather for the finishing touch!
My witch took many, many hours and incorporates felting, sewing and embroidery – all of which are my passions. I wanted her to be voluptuous but tall, elegant and slender – after lots of hard work I achieved the look I wanted. Her face is detailed and mysterious. She has a wonderful half smile and a shock of luscious black hair. Her body is made from natural coloured Perendale Batting. Her top, boots and leggings are beautiful, soft Merino wool. Her skirt is black tulle with purple Merino wool nuno felted around the bottom and black ribbon bows stitched on. Her purple top has a Triple Goddess felted into the centre of the front. Her cloak is beautiful – made from black velour with a purple satin lining. It has a full, lined hood and I embroidered a Pentagram on each side of the front. The cloak is a replica of the ones I make for real witches. Her hair is from a Manchester wig shop – I needed it to be thick, black and straight – this hair piece did the job perfectly!