So, they are 22 days old today. They have moved from upstairs secreted away in our bedroom, down to the hustle and bustle of the dining end of the kitchen, so they can see and hear all the comings and goings of the house. Dogs barking, postman knocking, pans clanging and banging and the super smells of Bernd’s cooking – that got their noses twitching! Only 22 days old and already on their feet, eyes open and wolfing their little raw nuggets down. Mum Missy has been really sensible, knowing just how much to be in with them and when they can be left for a few hours – unlike their human counterparts, they have no torn emotions – they always put themselves before the offspring. Even if the babies are screaming, if it is dinner time for her, they do not get a second glance! Clever dog, she knows she needs to feed herself first. As a mother, I know I could learn a lot from her …….. here she is 22 days after giving birth to 4 lovely puppies, a bit skinny but otherwise shiny, happy and rested.
Now the fun begins. Watching them develop, making sure they all look well put toegther, with good coats, happy temperaments and above all, healthy. They provide hours and hours of fun and interest. Seeing them experience grass for the first time, watching them interact with 14 year old Matriarch Libby, seeing how rough their mum is as she plays and teaches them manners ….. it is fascinating and never becomes boring. Already, dad Aldo is peeping over the wooden side of the whelping box for a closer look, until Missy spies him and chases him off.
For now, they sleep a lot, eat plenty, still suckle and just look squidgy and gorgeous. They provide the subject matter for my felt art and that adds another dimension to owning them.
And here is daddy, Aldo, showing off his achievements!!
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!
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:
Ah the satisfaction of completing my little replica. I watched our little mini wire Aldo sleeping and thought – that would be good to needle felt – so my needle came out and I started.
The base was pink – really harsh wool that enabled me to get the shape easily. I made the legs and head separately and before I attached them I covered his tummy in brown Shetland combed top. I then dressed the legs with a mix of Icelandic and Shetland top – cut into tiny pieces that I hand mixed to get the wild boar look of the coat. I left the tops of the legs un-felted so I could attach them to the body and I used a long doll needle to stitch through the front legs so they stayed in the right position whilst I felted them on. I then attached the head – still in its un-dressed state and looking really odd – the pink made it look like an alien! It took a while to cover the body in its mixed wool coat and once done I added the tail and started on the head – that was very fiddly – adding eyebrows and a beard, felting on the black nose and doing a fine line for the closed eyelids.
When I was happy that he was in the correct sleeping position and his beard was well needled in, I put him aside and made the basket from Green Perendale batting. The banket came next, a small piece of doubled Sherpa fleece (that I use for my real dog beds) I embroidered a small paw print on one corner and overlocked it.
I finally had my mini miniature – 5 inches long in a basket 6 inches wide!