Inspirational Birds

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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.

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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.

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Inspirational Birds

O.C.D.

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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.  

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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:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SuesEclecticMix

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/sueseclecticmix

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O.C.D.

Making The Miniature Pinscher

Well ….. the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down.  The dogs were all asleep so I started needle felting a Miniature Pinscher.  Not an easy task when it is only going to be small …. 11cms (4 and a half inches) long and the same high.  So I got out the wool and a range of needles – thicker ones for the body felting and finer ones for the legs and face.

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 Usually, I make the body first but as the legs are quite fiddly, I did the front legs first, using fine chenile sticks to felt the wool round, making sure the outsides were black and the inside of the legs red (as observed via Googling lots of Miniature Pinscher pictures!!)

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Once the legs were eventually felted, I made the body from black roving and felted the legs on.  To make sure they are secure, I stitched through them and the body with a long doll needle and black thread, then used black wool to felt over the stitiching.  The body needed quite a lot of felting as the tummy tucks up and the dog actually looks like a wedge shape in real life so I had to slope the back down and the tummy up.  I then felted over the black chest with a band of red brown roving with a fine black line down the centre.  I left the neck mostly unfelted because it needed the head making and attaching.

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Next for the tail, which was felted around a small piece of a fine chenile stick so that I could bend it appropriately.  The under side of the tail is the red brown, the same  as the inside of the legs and the chest.

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I felted the tail on, making sure it was firmly attached and bent at the right angle.

Next for the head.  I rough felted the shape which was incredibly complicated because the breed has a full face, finer muzzle and eyes that are sort of facing forwards.  I messed and messed with this – starting over at least 3 times!

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Finally, I added the eyes – small black beads on wire, which are glued into the head after making a hole in the felt with a Bradawl.  I then felted around them with a fine line of cream batting to give the impression of eyelids, which are slanting upwards from the corners.  Next I added the red brown colour to the face and under the chin, glued on the polymer clay nose and felted a fine black mouth line underneath.  I felted a flat piece of black and overlaid it with a fine layer of pink, which I used to cut the ears from, attaching them so they stood high and pointed on the back of the top of the head.  A little more felting and a bit more wool added to give the neck the correct width and strength and he was finally finished.

He took about 5 and a half hours to complete.

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Prior to making him I made a pretty Chinese Crested, using the same methods as above

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Making The Miniature Pinscher

More Dachshund Needle Felting

Well the long winter days have to be filled so I carried on felting ……….. in-between sewing, making leads, quilting, making trolley covers and embroidering!  So – here they are:

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The pink one featured in my previous post.  The next one I did was the green one, with his coat and hat on.  I rough felted some polyester toy filling to get his shape.  I then covered it in Perendale batting.  I used Merino for his eyes and nose and was itching to try and felt over to make him a coat and hat.  I worried about that as I did not want to ruin him but once started, there was no going back so I ploughed on and was pleased with him in the end!

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Next I wanted to sculpt the “sitting pretty” dachshund.  That was a challenge!  Getting the back legs to look right (and look the same) was tricky but nowhere near as difficult as the front paws and the head leaning to one side!  He is made completely of Perendale wool which felts well and leaves a fairly smooth finish.  I added a colourful scarf to give the whole figure a bit of fun!

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Now I had done a few I wanted to try my hand at a little “wirey” person.  I bought some wool roving in different colours and mixed it a few strands at a time in short pieces to give the “wild boar” look to the coat.  It was painstakingly slow but to do it any other way would have looked “stripey” so it was a case of plodding on …………….  I covered him all over in a brown undercoat and felted the top wire in 10cm strips ……. lots of coffee was consumed during this part!   With the finished shape completed I enjoyed adding his eyes, beard and eyebrows and am pleased with the finished piece.  Am hooked and will be starting another one soon!!!

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He is tired of posing now!!!

 

More Dachshund Needle Felting

I Have The Felting Bug!!!

So, following on from the fun I had wet felting the Pixie Hat, I thought I would try a real size hat!!  I started with a pile of Merino Wool Batts and some Perendale Wool Batts and got cracking on the felting ………….. just like with the Pixie Hat.  For my first “real” hat, I am very pleased with the final piece.  Still some tweaking to do but not bad at all!

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The flower is also made from wet felted wool.  The petals are Perendale (hence the stiffer, more robust feel)  The centre is from dreamy soft Merino that is so beautiful to touch.

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I Have The Felting Bug!!!

Wet Felting Merino Wool – or Crazy Pixie Hat Creation!!!

Well – what else is there to do on a rainy weekend at the beginning of July?  I have tried my hand at most crafts but always been a bit scared of wet felting ………………. it looks sooooo  complicated!  As I sell fairies, elves and lots of other worldly stuff on my stall at Festivals I thought it would be fun to have a go at wet felting a Pixie Hat!  Now I have done it I shall certainly make more – I really have the wet felting bug!  So, inbetween sewing, embroidering, making leads and trolley covers, soft toys for the grandchildren and snuggle tunnels for the dogs …………. I can be found making a mess of the kitchen with my wet felting.  Here is how I did it – hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

First, I started with a pile of Merino Wool Batts.  I chose the colours and placed them in the order I wanted to use them.

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I cut out a “resist” shape from 2 old plastic file covers.  This stops the 2 sides of the hat from felting together during the felting process.  I laid some bubble wrap on the table, then a layer of net, then the resist.  Then I laid my first layer of wool on the first side

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Then I sprayed it with hot soapy water and gently pressed the fibres down to start the “felting” process

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Then I covered that side with a net and turned it over

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I carefully smoothed the overlap over the edges of the resist so that we don’t get a bulky seam when it felts.  Then I covered the second side with 3 layers of wool and soaped it.  Both sides had 3 layers.

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When the overlap was smoothed, I set about “felting”.  The action of making the fibres rub together and become enmeshed to form a strong felt.  Now you can see how the net is useful in keeping the wool in place while I rub the surface, wet, rub, wet some more, rub, riub, rub ……..  drink some coffee, rub some more ….

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Then I rolled the whole thing round a rolling pin and started rolling on the bubble wrap to further felt and shrink it …… see the coffee cup?  That kept me going.  25 rols and turn, 25 rolls and turn, 25 rolls and turn ……………….

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Finally it is in a soft felt state which you can tell by pinching it.  It was now ready to be rinsed and to remove the resist from inside so I could rinse and shrink it further.  See how big it still is?

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Then for the fun – hot water, cold water, hot water, cold water – rinsing and shocking the fibres to make them felt and shrink, felt and shrink.  Then throw it hard in the sink a few times to shrink it even more

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Finally it is ready to be shaped and dried.  I do not have a pixie sized hat block so the plastic measuring jug provided the perfect model.  I tied it on with some old ribbon to keep it in place

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And then placed it on a towel in the back of my car to dry for 24 hours

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When dry, it was ready to be shaped further and trimmed

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Starting to shape up

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Then, as is usual in our crazy house, it dried out a bit more with the bread cooling ……

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Finally, it is COMPLETE!!!!  Tada!  Just waiting for a Pixie to come along and steal it ……..

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!!

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Wet Felting Merino Wool – or Crazy Pixie Hat Creation!!!