I have said before how much I enjoy trying out something new, and today was another one of those lovely learning days.
Today I spent the day in picturesque Petworth learning how to make a 3D animal using the technique of needle felting. The course was hosted by the lovely little Haberdashery and fabric shop in Petworth – The Cotton Wool Store (www.facebook.com/thecottonwoolstore). I admit that I was a bit nervous to start with that I would not be able to ‘sculpt’ an animal shape, but these fears were quickly laid to rest by the charming and knowledgeable tutor Emma Herian of Sew Recycled! (www.sewrecycled.blogspot.com)
Emma (on the right) demonstrates how to make the body of a 3D animal
It is incredible to think that the animal starts life as a lump of sheep’s wool and that by simply stabbing it with a super-sharp needle you can sculpt virtually any shape you like. At the start of the day we were all given the opportunity to choose what sort of animal to make, and the day saw six dogs, one cat and a polar bear grow from the soft fleece. Sitting round the table conversation flowed readily and I found myself sitting next to the delightful Jen of The Make Box (www.themakebox.com) who chose to make a cat modelled on her own pretty tabby cat.
Within the first 5 minutes I had managed to stab my finger, the needles used for felting are very long and exceptionally sharp with small barbs on the end (it is these which cause the wool to felt), and it really hurt! Still, the pain was short-lived and I manfully stabbed away at my fleece sausage to get the body shape started. I had not realised how simple it is to make each of the body parts, the real work comes in when you attach them to the body and start to shape and sculpt the body into a recognisable shape. My dog started out looking like a slug with a bloaty head, then transformed into a sort of weird camel, before finally taking on the shape of a small dog.
Above from left: Wool Roving; stabbed sausage body shape; attaching the legs
Above from left: Camel dog; adding coat colour; taking shape
Making the dog look like, well a dog is simply a matter of adding more wool fibres and stabbing with the needle to matt them together to form a solid mass. To finish the dog some dark coloured areas were added as highlights, a nose and mouth sculpted from black wool and two shiny black beads added for eyes. Suddenly…. TA-DAH! A little felted puppy was born!
My needle felted puppy
All in all I had a great day, met some lovely people and learned a new skill which I am really keen to practise. Even better, this one is very portable and can be done pretty much anywhere, so great for those long winter evenings watching Downton or Poirot!
The finished puppies and kitty