Category Archives: Felt & Felting Workshops

Hand made felted product made by elementals in our workshops in Dundee.

Fleece from a Gentle Farmer

Last year, I took the decision to go vegan but as I’ve always worked with felting techniques, wanted to see if there was any way I could continue.

I got talking to a friend who has a small sheep farm, who other than his pet sheep Priscilla, are part of the normal ‘meat’ system. We talked about how that wasn’t his choice and if he could remove even some of his 500 sheep from that system, he would really like to do that.

He’s not organic but he is what he describes as a ‘gentle farmer’ who looks to avoid stress for his sheep where possible. They still do get medication, etc. and they are still sheared so there is some stress there but he looks to minimise it where possible, Last year, I got a whole fleece from the beautiful Priscilla which I am still preparing.

What we are trying to establish is if there is a market for raw fleece from sheep who live in this way.
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Trying different ways of preparing Priscilla’s fleece. Most of Sam’s sheep are white but Priscilla is dark brown in colour. Once prepared, it felts and spins really well.

 

From what I can see, they have a good life with lots of space to roam and if Sam can come up with another ‘way’, they will be able to continue that life until its natural end.

Please share with anyone you think might be interested and ask them to contact me either through  this site or elementalsholisticliving on Facebook.
I know it won’t suit everyone but if we can get enough interest for him, it might mean a better outcome for at least some sheep. Imagine if we could sort something out for all 500!

 

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Dreaded Spring Pixies

Here’s some felted Pixies I’m working on at the moment. Ones nearly finished and the other was just started yesterday. They’re mainly needle felted with some flat felting for clothes, etc.

Hoping to run a ‘Shrunken Heads’ workshop soon at our workspace in Dundee to show people how to make pixie heads, hare heads and other animal heads….

Needlefelting – Alice in Wonderland Collection

Thought I’d post some updated images of the Alice in Wonderland needle felted collection I’m working on.

They’re all made using needle and wet felt techniques and so far I have The White Rabbit, The March Hare and of course The Mad Hatter. They’ve all turned out a bit spookier than I’d intended – not sure why 🙂 and I’m still working on Alice who I just started yesterday.

More images to follow soon.

Alice in Wonderland – Needle Felted White Rabbit

Here’s a preview of my needle felted White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. I’m currently working on a series of characters including Mad Hatter, March Hare, etc. and I’ll post the full collection once they’re finished.

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He’s mostly needle felted from Merino but his jacket was made from a wet felted flat piece which was then needle felted to give the patterning. This was then cut to shape using a little jacket pattern I made for him… wish my clothes were as easy to make 🙂

Still have to make his pocket watch and the pictures I have here also include a parasol so would quite like to make a working parasol from felt – we’ll see how it goes.

Mad Hatter is already complete and March Hare and Alice are on hold while we work on Craft Bomb pieces.

Felt Dog – What do you think we should call him?

Woof Woof!!!

Here’s my little felted dog – needle felted from white Merino wool and completed last month.

Needle Felted Dog

Dog needle felted from merino wool

He sits about 10cm to 15cm high and is a ‘Heinz 57’ so modelled on various dog images that seemed to work well together 🙂 and some lovely dogs that I’ve met over the last few weeks.

Needle felted dog

He was made in sections (paws first as always as that seems to set the size for me) and then the head, legs and body last. You’ll see the head, lower jaw and tongue were all made separately to give the impression that he’s panting (or just waiting for a biscuit :-))

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And now the problem…

Basically, we can’t decide on a name that suits him- we know he’s a boy but beyond that we’re stuck  so we decided to call on some help from the internet.

Needle felted dog

Have a look at the names we liked best and then maybe suggest one of your own.

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Needle Felted Spring Moon Hare

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Well… here he is as promised…. my finished Spring Moon Hare whose paws featured in the How to Needle felt Paws post. If you want to see more images, visit our Facebook page….

Dundee Felting Workshops, Feb-Mar 2013

Here’s the first quarter felting dates for 2013…..

Felt Workshops

I do my best to keep these affordable so everyone can come along but I may have to increase costs for the next round. I’m also hoping to run some workshops in Perth so let me know if you would be interested.

How to Needle Felt Paws!

Needle felted animals are lovely and the key things with getting you’re animal ‘right’ is to get the details right.

Paws have always annoyed me but after many attempts, I finally feel I’ve got a good technique for making a generic paw which can then be sculpted and shaped using the felting needle into a dog, cat, hare, rabbit, etc.

Step 1

I’ve always made the paws in one piece and then added detailing for the toes, etc. but I’ve found that if I make the piece as per the image below, I get a more defined foot.

This is just step 1 and I know it looks a bit strange. Basically take your wool and divide it into five sections, three large ones and two slightly smaller ones to the outside. Start to needle felt the ‘toes’ and join all five together where the leg would start.

Felted Paws

Step 2

Keep needle felting into the seperate toes and then start to join them together, felting and shaping the paw inwards. Add some darker fibre inbetween the toes and keep working and shaping your paw. At this point you need to decide what type of paw you’re making.

Felted Paws

Best idea is to have a look at the anatomy and good images of your animal and there are some ideas on these great sites – wolf/dog or cats, dog, birds, etc.  and hares (the Hare Whisperer has some lovely hare pictures)

Step 3

This will eventually be a hare paw so the narrower and the two side toes sit further back like the left hand image – if it was a cat, it would be stubbier (right hand image) , a dog would be wider with more space between toes, etc…

Felted Paws

Shape and finish your paws

I think it already has the appearance of an animal foot and this technique has worked so much better than my previous attempts.

Make Your Own – How to make our Needle Felted Magic Mushroom

‘Magic Mushrooms’ are one of the things that we make at our beginners felting classes.

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The Elementals ‘Magic Mushroom’ is needle felted and this one (or one like it) can be found on my Folksy page for sale. We also sell kits for these or of course you could come along to our next felting class  :-)but I thought it would be nice to show you how to make one for yourself.

1. What skills do you need?

To make our Magic Mushroom, you probably need some basic needle felting skills and to have an understanding of how the process works. This link gives you some great information and I’d urge you to practice on a few sample pieces first.

In our beginners class, we make three pieces – a flat piece to get used to using the needle, a ball to get used to working on a simple 3D shape and then a more advanced 3D piece and the mushroom works really well for this.

Needle felting unfortunately isn’t suitable for young children but encourage them to try wet felting – they’ll love it 🙂

WARNING: The needles used for this type of felting are very sharp and you always need to be careful to ensure the needle is pointed away from you at all times and safely housed in a ball of wool or its container when not being used.

Felting Tools

One thing I find really useful is one of these – not sure what they’re called but you buy them in stationery shops and for felting, I find they really help protect my fingers when working on delicate pieces. I usually just wear one on the index finger of my left hand and it just gives you a little more protection.

2. What do you need?

Needle Felted Magic Mushroom

‘Make Your Own’ kits from elementals – needle felted ‘Magic Mushroom’

You’ll need:

  • 2 x handfuls of white wool fibre (Merino is ideal)
  • 1 x handful of red, brown, orange, etc. (anything ‘mushroomy’ in colour :-)) wool fibre (again Merino)
  • A small bunch of grey or brown wool fibres for detailing the underside of the mushroom
  • Some wool nepps or small amount of white wool for adding the ‘spot’ detailing to the top of the mushroom.

You’ll also need:

  • 1 x felting needle
  • 1 x sponge or similar surface for working on
  • A table or suitable surface to work at. If you’re working on your knee then put a tray or solid object under the sponge to prevent the needle coming through.

3. Basic overview

You’re going to make the mushroom in three parts and as with all my felt pieces, I always start with the most difficult piece first – the gills on the underside of the mushroom.

You’ll then move on to make the top and once that’s complete, you’ll needle felt the top and underside together. You now know how big your mushroom is going to be so you can make the stem which you’ll then needle felt to the underside.

Lastly you’ll add the spots to the top and continue sculpting. Needle felting isn’t a quick process and you are probably looking at about 1.5 to 2 hours to make a basic mushroom with another hour of sculpting and finishing to get it the way you want it.

The great thing about needle felting is you can leave it and come back to it so you can just do a bit every night until its finished 🙂

4. Making the underside

Mushroom Underside You need to take about half of the white merino fibre (about one handful) and tease it out, making a rough ball shape.

You’re then going to use the needle to make a rough and flattish pancake shape, about 10cm in diameter.

Now start to form the gills on the underside of the mushroom by ‘pinching’ small sections of wool in a cross shape and needle felting below your fingers. This is quite tricky so take your time and be careful to pinch the fabric up and using the needle below your fingers to ensure you don’t catch them – as per the image below, finger protectors are ideal for this.

Once you’ve completed the cross in one direction, you need to continue with the diagonals adding the darker grey or brown wool fibre detailing as you go so you have eight diagonal lines radiating out from the centre.

Your finished piece will have reduced slightly in size and should be about 8cm in diameter.

Needle felting gills on underside

Be careful to point the needle below where your fingers are

Needle felting gills on underside

Finished underside with raised gills

WARNING: you need to be really careful when doing this and really attentive to where the needle and your fingers are.

5. Making the top

Mushroom Top

Starting size for mushroom top at beginning of felting

Mushroom Top

Finished size for mushroom top after felting

You make the top in a similar way.

Take a handful of the coloured wool fibre and tease it out, making a rough ball shape.

Use the needle to make a rough and flattish pancake shape, slightly bigger than your mushroom underside and slightly raised in the middle (like a mushroom).

You’ll see the starting and finishing size in the images so you need to remember to take the ‘shrinkage’ factor (the fact that as you needle felt, your finished piece reduces in size and increases in strength and structure) into account.

You now need to join the top and underside together.

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Carefully needle felt along the darker lines

Mushroom Top

Carefully needle felt around the edges

Place the coloured mushroom top on the sponge and the white piece on top as per the images above. You’re going to pull the top up slightly and almost wrap it around the white underside.

The idea is to needle felt the two pieces together by using the needle along the dark lines of the gills, starting at centre and working outwards and working around the edges of the coloured top. The idea is to retain the 3D effect you’ve created on the underside by using the needle on the non raised parts.

Keep needle felting until you’re happy your two pieces are joined and keep an eye on the top to make sure it keeps its ‘mushroomy’ shape.

6. Making the stalk

To make the mushroom stalk you need to take the rest of your white merino and form it into a cylinder shape. You want one end thicker than the other as that will form your base. Felt the wool until you’re happy it can be attached  – leave some loose fibres at one end for attaching to the top.

You’re now ready to join the stalk and the top together.

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Push the stalk into the centre of the mushroom top and needle felt towards the centre. Work right round the mushroom and make sure its properly attached at all points.

Mushroom

Join the top and stalk by needle felting them together

8. Sculpting

Sculpting your mushroom

Draw and sculpt the base using the needle

You now have a basic mushroom which you can strengthen and mould with your needle.

Find natural lines in the wool and work to create structure and shapes around these lines with the needle. Be creative and see what happens but you’ll see your mushroom becomes much firmer and more solid as you work.

9. Decoration

Decoration

Add the wool nepps with the needle, pushing in to centre and using small amounts of wool fibre to help them fix into place

You now have a moulded and very firm mushroom. You’re now ready to add some spots or other features to your mushroom.

This mushroom has been decorated using some wool nepps I bought ages ago.

Use the needle to attach these to the top – some of them were quite hard to fix but I used a few strands of merino around the wool nepp and that worked perfectly – if you don’t have these, some spots of merino would work just the same. Create a random pattern of shapes and sizes to give the appearance of a natural mushroom and your piece is finished.

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10. Why not take a photo and send it this blog

Please send us a photo as a field of lovely and magical mushrooms would be great…  🙂

Remember if you don’t have the things you need to make your own ‘Magic Mushroom’ from scratch, you can buy a kit from us as well which contains all the items mentioned in Section 2 of the post.

If you buy before the end of March, we’ll throw in a finger protector as well. Contact us or buy via Folksy….

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Needle felted ‘Magic Mushrooms’

Needlefelting Workshops

Here’s some photos of the great mushrooms the class made at Saturdays needle felting workshop – the group made these in the class and they’ll finish them at home so I’ll update this post with finished pictures once I have them.

I’ll also post a description of how we made these mushrooms later as there is an easy way to make sure you get the 3D effect to the white gills on the underside.

More photos on our Facebook page and here’s a link so you can make your very own ‘Magic Mushroom’.