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!
Well, the needle felting bug has really got me. I have been busy making wire haired dachshunds and decided I was fed up with them “posing” so I wanted a bit more “action”. Hence I made a little needle felted mouse with a dachshund crouching ready to pounce, eyes shining, tongue out ……..
The mouse is felted from Shetland wool with brown merino ears. Its little black eyes are plastic beads on wire and its nose is black Icelandic sheep wool.
The dachshund was tricky as he needed a sloping back, crouching forward, open mouth and tongue protruding. If you look very closely you will see he also has little white teeth felted into his bottom jaw. I made his bottom jaw and tongue separately, needle felting the teeth and tongue into the black Icelandic wool, then attached it the rest of his face. His neck needed to be a bit longer than usual because he is stretching to reach the mouse, his front legs are drawn back a bit under his body and his back legs are straight to provide the propulsion he needs to pounce ……
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:
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!
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!
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!!!
He is tired of posing now!!!