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Needle felted pipistrelle; Species Champion award

This week has been an exciting week. The needle felted pipistrelle bat I created was mounted and given as an award at the Palace of Westminster to MP Helen Hayes as she is the species champion for the common pipistrelle and won best parliamentary species champion at the Species Champions Annual awards ceremony. Well done to Helen for all her hard work!! It was presented by BBC Journalist Frank Gardner.

I am so happy that my artwork became something so special for an amazing project. The project is run by the Rethink Nature partnership, a group of seven wildlife organisations working together to make a difference to species conservation. (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and the RSPB).

The little bat took many hours of sculpting through the art of needle felting. His body is made of core corriedale wool. His wings, legs and tail are wool wrapped over wire.  His beautiful brown coat is made of a blend of corriedale and merino wool. His eyes, nose, ears and tiny feet are made of wool too.

The common pipistrelle as its name suggests is the most common bat that you might see flying in your garden on a summer night! Yet like all our bats in the UK they need our help and protection to ensure their numbers don’t decline again. They are so important to our environment! I love bats but some people don’t and this is usually as they don’t know much about them and bats are so misunderstood.

When you look at a bat close up they are actually very tiny and many times smaller than the size of my needle felted one. In fact a real pipistrelle bat weighs about 5g and their forearm length is less than 35mm in length. One of these tiny creatures can eat around 3 thousand insects in one night – how amazing is that!? Due to destruction of their natural habitat many bats now need to roost in houses and churches and rely on people to preserve these roosts.

Each bat usually has only one pup each year and too often that little pup will become lost or get caught by a local cat and so many each year don’t survive. The Bat Conservation Trust has a fantastic helpline if you find a bat in need of help. You can also find out how to support their work ūüôā

Here are a few work in progress photos of my needle felted bat…

Having worked for 12 years at the Bat Conservation Trust I have quite a good knowledge of bats but it was still a challenge to get the anatomy right. Bats are so fascinating and detailed with their tail membranes and wing membranes! I wanted to give the illusion of fully formed wings that could spread out but tucked in as if it has landed. I hope I did it justice.

As with all my needle felted animals I used lots of photos of the real animal at every angle for reference. Thankfully no needles were broken but I did remake his face at one point and a good deal of patience and chocolate rewards were needed along the way!! This aside I really did enjoy making him and I was so overjoyed to see the smile on Helen Hayes’ face too when she received him as her award !

How to needle felt long animal fur; the video!

Would you like to watch techniques for creating a detailed and realistic long fur look on your needle felted animal?

You have likely seen my photo tutorial with basic techniques for adding long wool fibres onto a badger. Well here is a video for those who¬†learn best by watching¬†how it’s done. This is far more in depth with more techniques and tips along the way!

‘In this full length (1.5 hour) diary-style tutorial, I demonstrate how to add layers of wool to a miniature donkey. These techniques can be adapted for any long furred animal. Join me on my journey from preparation to finish; starting with carefully ‚Äėneedle brushed‚Äô leg fibres, then fluffy tummy and long textured back fur. You will also see how I create a middle parting on the donkey‚Äôs muzzle, add a long fluffy fringe and a beautiful flowing mane.‚Äô

Watch the preview below 

 

The full length video tutorial is available toBuy now

buy for just £3.75!

(Watch live multiple times or download it- it’s up to you!)

 

Difficulty ranking: Intermediate level or beginners looking for a challenge.

The result: Amazing detail; the look of a real animal with layers of fur.

Needle felted donkey (9)

Skills you will master:

  • Simple hand blending of wool roving for natural, textured colour tones
  • Preparing wool lengths and a test/sample piece
  • Knowing how firm to felt your core base
  • Two easy methods to firmly attach various lengths of wool fibre
  • The art of layering and trimming fibres
  • Specific skills for adding fur to various body parts including legs, tummy, back, ears, tail, face and mane
  • How to prevent over felting or flattening of long fibres
  • Finishing techniques for defining strands or fluffing them up

 

Chapter start times for easier video navigation.

0:00        Introduction

1:00        Overview; what techniques will I learn?

2:07        Where to start?

3:35        Preparing and blending wools

12:03     What tools do I need?

13:25      Shorter fur Рlayering on the legs (the basics of the two techniques)

28:28     Soft tummy fur (technique 1)

34:05      Continuing the tummy (and a few ways of blending colour)

38:10     How firm should the core wool be?

40:05     Lots of thick fur layers (across the torso) (technique 1)

45:00      Tips for preventing fluffing up and positioning animal whilst felting

46:14      Adding fur on rump (techniques 1 and 2)

49:45     Long fluffy back fur (technique 2)

57:40     Ears and tail (brief overview for ideas)

59:12     Fluffy textured muzzle and fringe (very long fur pieces) (technique 2 plus other tips)

1:12:50  Making a mane (another method)

1:19:25  Attaching the mane

1:25:50  Finishing off your animal; defining etc

1:30:20  Final donkey photos (what a cutie!)

Why not get your own copy today? 

More needle felting tutorials can be found over on my tutorials page 

Don‚Äôt ever miss out on my latest tutorials! Insert your email address and click the ‚ÄėFollow‚Äô button on the right hand panel to receive notifications of when the next post is up..:-)

Don’t have time to make one but would love a one of a kind needle felted animal by Fit to be loved for yourself or for that special someone? Visit my Etsy shop today to see my latest creations. Or like my facebook page to see what I am making next.

 

Needle felted animal vote

Hi everyone.  I have set up a fun poll to help decide what to make next.

I have chosen 5 animals which I think will be quite a challenge to needle felt.

Which one would you like to see me make next? ūüôā

I will take photos as I go to show progress as usual on my facebook page and will blog about it once finished.

Whatever I make will be one of a kind and available in my Etsy shop.

So please vote here:

https://fans.vote/v/ACjrxdvd3l4

Miniature donkey

Miniature donkey

I can now reveal my latest creation, a miniature donkey!

I was sent some photos of an absolutely gorgeous real miniature donkey and asked to needle felt her as a surprise Christmas present for her loving owner. It was an absolute pleasure to create her as I looked at those cute eyes and wonderful fluffy coat.

As she is a hoofed animal I quickly realised that to stand up she would need some stability so I wrapped core Corriedale wool over a wire armature. She soon started to take shape!!

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I made her as a young fluffy donkey with long fur rather than when she was a bit older after a summer moult but this meant I really had to think about how to get the right colour and texture for her fur. I ended up buying 4 wool colours and mixing them carefully by hand with other brown and cream colours I had to get the right shade.

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Once I started adding the long fur I had to be so careful not to let the strands fuzz up when laying the animal down to reach all sides. I therefore had to start on the legs and tummy and do the back and face last so the fur was looking its best in these areas and I didn’t end up squashing her ears.

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Thankfully donkey fur is slightly matted so I didn’t have to worry too much about it having to look silky smooth! I just love doing faces so this was hard for me to have to wait til the end but it was definitely worth it ūüôā

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How to add head and limbs onto needle felted animals

“How do I felt body parts onto my needle felted animal? How can I make them stay secure and not easily pull off?”

Today I want to show you some more basics of needle felting animals. In my other tutorials you will see how to make various animal parts e.g a badger head, bunny ears as well as the various stages of felting a full guinea pig, bunny etc. However one of my followers commented that it would be good to do a tutorial showing how to felt the head and limbs onto your animal. It is not so easy to demonstrate with photos but I have done my best by using the shots I took along the way when sculpting Chestnut; the little red squirrel I made.

There are many ways of felting one piece to another so you may have already found the best way for you. The method I will show you is just one way and was the easiest for my squirrel at the time. ūüôā

Please note that the following tutorial will assume you know a little bit about needle felting already. See basics here.

Adding the head

01-Needle felted squirrel (5)

At this point I have felted the head more or less to completion.¬†The body has its¬†shape but no fur yet…

I have sometimes only got as far as the shape of the head when joining it to the body but I quite often find that it’s the¬†head of an animal that gives its unique soulful character (especially once it has eyes).02-Needle felted squirrel (8)

I often don’t decide on exactly how the body will look until I have the head sorted. Being delighted by the cute nature of the face (as is what happened¬†with Chestnut) often inspires me to continue on with the rest of the body.¬†

1) To join two felted objects together leave enough loose fibre on at least one of the objects where the join will be so that it can be felted into the other.

14-Needle felted squirrel (27)

It is a lot harder and perhaps impossible to join them if the wool is felted too firmly and the fibres cannot mix and bind with the fibres on the other object when you stab with your needle. 

As you can see, the neck at the top of Chestnut’s torso has been left loose and soft. The base of the¬†head¬†is soft to medium¬†felted rather than firm to allow¬†plenty¬†of further stabbing..

2) Fluff the fibres up a bit before putting the head into the position you would like it to be. 

15-Needle felted squirrel (28)

3) Stab at the wool from a 45 degree angle under the chin of the animal. In effect what you are doing is poking the loose wool from the neck into the head. Insert the needle as deep as it can go and on all sides of the neck. This helps to anchor the head to the body. Remember (particularly at this stage when the head will just fall off the body if you try any other way) to lay your animal on a felting pad/brush and stab away from your fingers!

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To join body parts I use a medium width barbed needle (I find these are stronger than the finer ones for this purpose but do try out various ones to see what you are comfortable with and what works best for the wool and size of animal you are felting). If possible use one with many barbs along the length to help bind the fibres and as the needle will be inserted quite deep.

4) Once it feels like the wool fibres have attached so much so that the head no longer topples away, you can try felting at other angles at various depths. Here I laid Chestnut’s head over the edge of the felting pad as it made it easier to get the angle I wanted and also prevented me from squishing her carefully felted nose ūüôā

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5) Carefully stab a few times from the top of the head to ensure it is firmly secure. NB this is easier if the head has no fur yet but if you have (like I have) you just have to take care not to leave stab marks in the face (as you are using a slightly thicker needle).

…and there we go, head on …looking more squirrel-like although much like a shawn sheep at the moment with lack of fur ūüôā

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Adding limbs

This is achieved in much the same way as joining the head in that you need to stab deeply in all directions to ensure all the fibres bind to each other.

For Chestnut I started with the hind legs so that it would be easier to see how her forelegs would be positioned once she was sat upright. Note the thigh part of the leg for my squirrel has already been sculpted as part of her body shape which ends up in a sitting pose. So when I refer to adding the hind leg, it is in fact the section below her thigh bone. 

1) Needle felt each leg onto the body by stabbing the wool at the fluffed up end of the leg into the body.

28-Needle felted squirrel (41)       30-Needle felted squirrel (44)

For Chestnut I had formed her feet using wool wrapped and felted over wire (see my tutorial on tiny feet and toes here) so I had to take extra care not to break my needle by hitting the wire when stabbing.

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2) Continue at all angles for both legs until firmly and securely in position.

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Once in place I added more wool round the joins as fur and then decided to felt some of Chestnut’s back-fur too.¬†Aw she is looking very happy and mischievous already!

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3) Then do the same for the forelegs.

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04-Needle felted squirrel (13)  03-Needle felted squirrel (12)

As the shoulder part needs to be attached along the side of the torso it is not sufficient to merely stab from the outer side at the shoulder blade to keep the limb in place.

To felt at an angle under the ‘armpit’ and also to ensure the leg cannot pull away at the join, stuff some extra(fluffed up) wool into the join and stab it securely into place (not too deep to push the lighter coloured wool through to the other side of the shoulder).

36-Needle felted squirrel (51) 35-Needle felted squirrel (50)

Tip: To get the correct positioning and symmetry when adding the second foreleg(as quite often you will want to play around with this until you get it right)¬†you may find it easier to stab the second leg into place only a tiny bit at first; enough to hold the leg in place but not so much that you can’t alter the position if you need to. You can then step away to view your animal from a distance, then adjust until happy with it.

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….then secure into place.

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Once all limbs are joined onto your animal you can then felt over the joins with fur. You wouldn’t even know your animal started out as separate appendages.

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Here is Chestnut as she looks now! ūüôā

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Happy Christmas everyone!

Happy Christmas everyone!

I  just wanted to say a very Merry Christmas to all my followers!

May this coming year be full of wonderful surprises for you and hopes truly becoming reality!

I have had a little go at making a Christmas poster from a photo of my original badger for you all.

Enjoy the festivities, have fun and watch out for a new year of more lovable creations from Fit to be loved! ūüôā

God bless you all

Amanda xx

 

Ps If you haven’t already added your email address to receive updates of new exciting posts please just click on the ‘follow’ button on the right hand side of my ‘find out more’ page.

Beside quiet waters (landscape felting ideas)

Felting is relaxing and fun especially when shared!!

Last week I travelled back to where I grew up; Grantham in South Lincolnshire, to spend a week with my family and catch up with old friends.

I had a relaxing time away from my office job, walked the quaint streets of Stamford and visited the home of the Bakewell pudding in the Peak District. And… you may have guessed ¬†– ¬†(as I am quite addicted to my felting)- ¬†that I also took some of my wools with me to get on with my latest creation.

I also had the opportunity to spend one of my days showing my mum some basic needle felting techniques. Felting is not just for times alone just you, the wool and needles and your imagination but is so much fun to do with others – especially for friendship craft days, and in my case family time! for me and my mum, together sharing quality time. ūüôā

Haha, my dad peered in from time to time and watched and enjoyed the artistic flair (claiming I got it all from him). They are both artistic!    I think we all can be in so many different ways!

My week was sooooo relaxing and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city and work. Home cooked food and love and hugs and then some felting (of course)- all I could wish for in a holiday.

So¬†I wanted to show you some pictures of my mum’s very first landscape piece. My mum is a painter and loves going to her art class each week and produces some beautiful water colour paintings. She loves using colour and really appreciates nature just like me which is illustrated in her work!

So here we go, she needed no help from me after I showed her a few basic hints. I think it is really great. My mum used soft luxurious merino wool from World of wool.

I have named it ‘Beside quiet waters’ as it reminds me of David’s Psalm 23 in the bible and really sums up my week with them. Thanks mum for our time together!

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Mum then painted the sky onto her canvas and stuck the felted piece onto it…. beautiful!!

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Of course on leaving to come back to London I left some wools and some needles with mum.. can’t wait to see what she makes next…

How to needle felt long animal fur

How to needle felt long animal fur

Ever wondered how to get those luscious layers of long fluffy fur on your needle felted animal? more importantly how can you get them to look natural and stay put!?

Whilst making a badger I took some photos of him along the way to show you. It is fairly simple to do but does take quite a long time although once done it does give you a real sense of satisfaction and the fur really does feel soft and fur-like. Of course the end result texture does depend on the type of animal you are felting and the type of wool you wish to use.

For the needle felted badger I used corriedale wool for the core and then merino wool with a few strands of some of the corriedale mixed in for the top coat. Merino wool is easy to felt and is very soft to the touch. If you would like to you could use other luxurious fibres such as alapaca, angora or even rabbit fur.. (I wouldn’t chose the latter though if allergic to rabbits like I am)

If you are new to this amazing art form then before you get started – check out my tutorial ‘what is needle felting’ for basic needle felting techniques.

What tools will you need? ; – very simple you just need barbed needles, foam pad/needle felting brush base and small scissors (you can also use a small sewing needle to fluff up fur at the end).

How to needle felt long animal fur (30)

NB I didn’t want to completely flatten my fur down but allow it to stand out with some volume so only used one needle at a time rather than a multi-needle tool and changed the width of needle depending on detail and thickness of wool being needled. I tended to use the thinnest as this was far easier.

As you can see I have completed my badger except for his back fur and tail at this point. For how to make a badger head please see my tutorial here.

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I love the fur on a badger’s back, it is greyish in colour but with flecks of black, brown and cream. For this badger I used grey and black merino wool and natural undyed corriedale wool

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Now you could use carding brushes or dog brushes to blend the colours of wool but I wanted to keep the fibres all going in one direction as much as possible at this point and with block strands of full colour in black / cream/grey so not fully blended.

To achieve this lay lengths of each colour on top of each other and then using your thumb and first finger of each hand at each end of the wool lengths, pull your hands apart pulling the wool away from each other. Lay each layer again on top of each other (fibres all in same direction) and keep going until all the wool is blended as much as you want it to be.

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Then take narrow strands of the mixed wool the width of one or two fingers

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… and cut these into small pieces, roughly the same length. The length will vary as we felt as some areas will have longer fur than others…

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They don’t need to be perfect as no badger will have its own hairdresser with a perfect hair cut. ūüôā

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I will now demonstrate what you will do with each piece..

Take a piece and slightly pull in the centre in a bow-like shape

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To layer the fur we need to felt from the back end of the animal layer over layer until reaching the head… so place the first piece at the very bottom of the badger’s rump.

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Felt using your barbed needle along the centre parting of the wool piece in various directions, the depth should go down to the first few barbs but the aim is to felt shallow but in many directions for the wool to stay put.

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You can also felted slightly below the centre line onto the bottom half of the piece to ensure it is in place.

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Now carefully pull down the top section

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… and ensure there are no stray edges by encouraging the wool in from both sides..

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Now felt along the top folded edge until it is firmly in place.

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Felting along the centre and then on the top edge in this way helps the wool to stay in place. Give a tiny tug to check it doesn’t easily pull out. NB a really good tug will likely pull fur out hence why these cute little animals are not meant to be toys to be pulled around…they should take cuddles and some handling though so ensure you felt well.

Again ensure you felt in many directions and then continue on to the next piece…layering the wool to create a fur look..

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When moving up to the next layer, position the wool just above the last layer – you don’t want gaps in between of core wool showing so don’t leave too big a gap…

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Don’t worry about the fur being too long or tufts sticking out, as you can give the end of the fur a trim as you go (time to use your hairdressing skills :-))

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By the way this doesn’t need too much skill and I am definitely no hairdresser, just trim in various directions for a more natural fluffy look.

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Any bits you trim off can be used for other felting projects or even for any areas you wish to fill in later at the edges so don’t waste them just put aside in a neat pile for later..

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Optional; For the back end of the badger I wanted this to be extra fluffy with the fur standing up slightly on end so to achieve this, run fingers through the strands of wool to fluff up and stab the wool all over between the strands, not to felt down but to fluff up…(

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As you can see we have a way to go but we are on our way !!

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Aw look at him waiting so patiently to be finished ūüôā

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You may find it easier to turn his body as you go – work with whatever position you find comfortable and whatever means less squishing of his cute little nose into the felting mat..

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As you reach the main length of his body you may now decide to cut the lengths of wool a bit longer

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For a more realistic look vary the colours so that you sometimes get more black or cream in the strand you felt…mix it up a bit..

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Keep going…

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Almost there… take a breather – have a hot chocolate !!

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Specifically for the badger- when reaching the neck line, overlay some strands of black wool at the base of the ears …

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Then finish off with some more of the cream at the base of his head..

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You can use a normal sewing needle now if you wish to carefully fluff up the fur where it may have flattened slightly..

And there you have a gorgeous badger! fully furred waiting to be cuddled and fit to be loved!!

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I added his tail after this which also had several layers of wool as fur…

Here he is all completed !! so playful !!

Needle felted badger latest

 

 Long Animal Fur video!

Find it easier to learn by watching how it is done?  

Long animal fur videoMy¬†full length ‘Long animal fur’ video tutorial can be downloaded or watched live- stream as many times as you like for only ¬£3.75.

<<<Click the donkey picture to watch the 1 minute preview clip. 

¬†You’ll learn even more techniques for¬†adding long fur (as¬†demonstrated on this adorable¬†miniature donkey).

 

Did you find this tutorial helpful? What would you like to learn about next? Please leave comments. Why not post a photo of your own creations?

For more tutorials like this please visit my Tutorials, tips and ideas page.

Don’t ever miss out on my latest tutorials! Insert your email address and click the ‘Follow’ button on the right hand panel to receive notifications of when the next post is up..:-)

Don’t have time to make one but would love a one of a kind needle felted animal¬†by Fit to be loved for yourself or for that special someone? Visit my Etsy shop today to see my latest creations. Or like my facebook page to see what I am making next.

Needle felted guinea pig!

My good friend Emma recently turned 40 and she absolutely loves guinea pigs so it was very easy to decide what I should make her as a surprise present for her party..

So here he is … a cute bundle of guinea pig fluff!Needle felted guinea pig (38)

As usual I took a few pictures along the way to show you how I made him. With some time, some love, some wool and a barbed needle you too can make a felted guinea pig just like him!

If you haven’t tried needle felting before and would like to know what it is all about and see some basics first, feel free to jump to my ‘what is needle felting’ page first before trying the guinea pig..

Or if you don’t have the time but would love me to make one for you or as a present for a loved one, let me know what colour, fur length etc by sending me a bespoke order at my Etsy shop.

So, to get started you will need:

  • Foam pad or felting brush base (so not to stab your knees and to provide a firm base to work on)
  • Felting needles of various sizes; wider for initial shaping and finer for detail later on
  • A needle holder; this is optional but for making basic shapes it saves time to use 2 or 3 needles at the same time. I use the 3 needle holder pen by Clover.
  • Wool to felt with; I used natural corriedale wool to make the guinea pig’s core as I find it felts well and ends up nice and firm. I then used merino wool as the top coat as it’s soft and comes in some lovely animal fur colours. I buy my wools at a very good price from World of Wool.
  • Small scissors
  • Carding/dog brushes to blend wool (optional)

I hope the pictures will explain what I did at each phase so I haven’t gone into too much description for each picture. Feel free to ask me any questions if you are unsure of how to do anything.

Start with a basic egg shape by rolling tightly a nice length of the corriedale wool and then felting it into shape with medium firmness. This will become the torso.

Needle felted guinea pig (7).

Felt more at one end and use hands to carefully sculpt one end slightly narrower (to become the head end)Needle felted guinea pig (8)

Roll two equal sized pieces of woolNeedle felted guinea pig (16)Needle felted guinea pig (9)

Fold and felt them into doughnut shapesNeedle felted guinea pig (10)

Then felt them well onto the sides of the torso at the bottom end to become hind legs

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Make sure they look even both sidesNeedle felted guinea pig (12)

Add and felt over some small tufts of wool to make the edges softer where the limbs join where neededNeedle felted guinea pig (13)

… especially around the rumpNeedle felted guinea pig (14)

Then turn over and do the same underneath for an even well blended finish.

Needle felted guinea pig (15)

Take two more pieces of wool but this timeNeedle felted guinea pig (16)

…fold to form two triangles

Needle felted guinea pig (17)

Felt onto the sides of the chest end and mould to form fore legsNeedle felted guinea pig (18)

Again check the legs are equal or you can position one slightly in front of the other to provide a more natural pose.Needle felted guinea pig (19)

Put the body to one side and roll another piece of wool and form a smaller egg shape. Felt medium firm again and then sculpt to make into a head shape. Score a nose and mouth using two needles at one time

Needle felted guinea pig (20)

The shape is fairly similar to a rabbit head shape…add any wool where needed to accentuate the jaw line and cheeksNeedle felted guinea pig (21)

Now attach the head firmly to the body. I felted a good piece of loosely felted wool to the bottom of the head first so when attaching there were lots of fibres to help attach it and this helped to form a neck.

Needle felted guinea pig (24)

Needle felted guinea pig (25)

Needle felted guinea pig (26)

You now have a guinea pig base!!

Now comes the fun (but tedious at times) of adding some wool colour in layers to give him his character.. I mixed some wool together to get the colours I liked, one part corriedale wool and two parts light chocolate brown merino wool. I used two dog brushes to blend the wool (so much cheaper than carding brushes and they work just the same!).

Needle felted guinea pig (27)

Start from the tail end (although guinea pigs don’t have tails)and work towards the head. Felt some wool in the same direction but some in other directions and with different lengths too to get a more natural look!

Needle felted guinea pig (28)

Needle felted guinea pig (29)

When you reach his head add two small doughnut shapes of coral coloured wool for his ears and felt them in well to fix to his head. I decided to give him a cream coloured face with cream tuft on top of his head but you choose whatever colour you fancy. For the head start at the very top with the fur layers and work down towards the chin.

Add more detail to the nose with the brown and a tiny bit of black for his mouth opening. To make him look like he has rummaged around in the hay felt a tiny fleck of brown under the cream fur on his muzzle . For any layers that are too long or for shaping the fur on the face, used nail scissors to carefully trim the wool.

Needle felted guinea pig (30)

(I went back and added a strip of the cream across his middle taking care to pull back the layers of brown already felted..)

Needle felted guinea pig (7)

Here you can see his eyes; brown overlaid with black and a few tiny white dots to give the illusion of light reflection.

Needle felted guinea pig (31)

You could leave him with no feet but I decided to give him some. Remember guinea pigs have 4 toes on each foot at the front and 3 at the back!

To achieve this use short lengths of pipe cleaners for his toes and wrap the coral coloured wool over each toe binding the pieces together at one end. Then wrap several layers of the wool over the end to form the ball of the foot. Wind more wool over the length of each foot and felt tightly to ensure all fibres are secure.. then felt them to the legs!!

Needle felted guinea pig (5)

Needle felted guinea pig (1)

Go over the entire surface of your guinea pig with a normal sewing needle if needed to liven up any flattened areas of fur!

Squeeeeeeeeeee!!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!! it was fun to make him and my friend Emma almost cried when she saw him at her party! ūüôā

Watch out for more tutorials and creations and follow my blog to receive emails of when new posts are up so you don’t miss out.

Check out my other tutorials; how to make a bunny and how to make a badger head and view other Fit to be loved felted creations at my Etsy shop.

and please do get in touch if you have any ideas of what you would like me to make next!

Needle felting a bunny; Photo tutorial

Needle felting a bunny; Photo tutorial

Today I just want to share some photos with you to give you a taster of the various stages that went in to¬†needle felting my latest bunny. I haven’t photographed everything but stopped at various times¬†along the journey to take a shot. Please also see here for more detail of how I made his ears. It doesn’t matter too much about what order you add each limb or ears or facial features. It is fun to experiment with different ways of doing things. You will soon find out what works best for you.

I have found though that whenever you add the eyes your creation immediately gains personality and you also get a tiny break from all the time consuming needle action. I love doing the eyes and ears best.

imageBasic ball to start for bunny head. Core corriedale wool.

imageAdding cheeks and face shape

imageAdded torso.

imageAdditional layer in mink coloured merino wool to form base fur.

imageShoulders and thighs firmly felted

imageBlue and grey merino wool mixed then shallow felted to become bunny fur.

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imageLeaving his tummy in mink.

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Preparing feet

imageCute bunny paw detail

imageFeet firmly attached

imageMore Wool added to give shape and smooth contours

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Nose and mouth coming to life

imageComparing with my original bunny to check size and proportions, angle of feet etc

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Forming ears.  See more about making ears in a tutorial here.

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imageEars fixed

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imageEyes alert

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Can’t resist a cuddle

imageFront paws and holding a carrot.

imageMy sister in law popped by, bunny made her smile ūüôā

imageAdventure for bunny in the garden for¬†nature’s backdrop!

To see more pictures of this cute bunny and to order one as a gift just like him for someone you love, please visit my Etsy shop.

To follow my blog and receive¬†email updates about latest fit to be loved¬†creations and tutorials, simply¬†enter your email address on the top right panel of my ‚Äėfind out more‚Äô¬†page.

How to needle felt bunny ears!

How to needle felt bunny ears!

See here for more pictures or to order one just like him

See here for more pictures or to order one just like him

Now that I have revealed my latest needle felted bunny in my most recent post, I can share with you how I made his cute bunny ears. The real bunny, owned by Pete and his wife, had the most incredibly gorgeous long ears and I really wanted to take the time to detail their every curve and beauty. As I created them I took pictures at each phase to document how I made them for my own reference when making other ears in future and also to share with you now on my blog..

For those of you who¬†have some experience¬†of needle felting I am sure you have your own preferred¬†technique but please do take a look – your ideas are very welcome as I am still fairly new to this and so far it has been trial and error but most enjoyable. For those who haven’t tried yet , I hope this inspires you to have a ‘stab’ at it!

This is specifically to show you how to create ears for the bunny I made above, but some of the methods are very similar for other animal ears so feel free to follow them for other projects..

To get started you will need:

  • Foam pad or felting brush base (so not to stab your knees and to provide a firm base to work on)
  • Felting needles of various sizes; wider for initial shaping and finer for detail later on
  • A needle holder; this is optional but for making basic shapes it saves time to use 2 or 3 needles at the same time. In the pictures you will see¬†I use the 3 needle¬†holder pen by Clover.
  • Wool to felt with; I used natural corriedale wool to make the basic ear shapes as I find it felts well and ends up nice and firm (especially to keep in alert¬†bunny position). I then used merino wool as the top coat as it’s soft and comes in some lovely animal fur colours.¬†I buy my wools at a very good price from World of Wool.
  • Finally… ¬†¬†some time, some love, some patience, a drink and bar of chocolate¬†for long sitting periods, perhaps some music (not tv as you may be distracted and stab your finger) and don’t forget a photo or drawing of what you would like to make…

So…. on to the tutorial!

By the way….. the point at which I am about to felt the ears I will already have my head sculpted, I can then at any¬†time measure up the ears to the head to ensure I am getting¬†the right proportion.

Step 1: take two equal lengths (and density) of your core wool (corriedale in this case). Bear in mind that you will need the two ears to end up the same size so keep comparing them. I find it works better if I do a bit on one then do a bit on the other as I go along rather than finish one and then start the other afterwards.

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Step 2: fold the piece in half in an oval shape (you can see already this is forming a long  ear shape before you even use the needle!)

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Step 3: using the thicker felting needle/s start stabbing the wool to go through to the other side as well as shallower stabs to the first few barbs of the needle in many directions (ensure you lift the needle in the same direction as you placed it so not to break any needles). Then turn over and do the other side

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Step 4: now you have a basic flat shape you need to make it more 3d and ear-like so roll the sides in to form thicker edges and stab at 90 degrees but also inwards at an angle keeping the edges rounded where the ear edges need to curve. Do this on both ears as you go..

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Step 5: Use fingers to knead the wool and stab¬†with your needle/s and give shape on both sides. NB I have left a long unfelted end at the bottom of my work to make it easier to fix my ears on to the bunny head later on…

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Step 6: keep pulling edges in and hollowing the middle section with your needle/s

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………and turn over to felt the other side as you go…

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…. remember to turn your work and use various angles¬†to insert your needle/s to¬†mould the wool into¬†the desired shape.

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Step 7: Keep felting and keep checking your photo or drawing to see how big the edges are and which areas should be flatter.

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On a real bunny one edge of the ear is thicker than the other so I had to make sure this was the opposite way round on the other ear (as it is in real life) for a mirror effect. You may want to use one needle or just two needles to make more defined lines..

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And there we have some bunny ears (err… minus some colour and texture!)

So then comes the exciting part …..have your finer needles and bunny fur colours at the ready for the final step….

Step 8: carefully shallow felt the ears with your coloured merino wools (just¬†to¬†a depth of first 1 or 2 barbs on your finer needles) to fix the wool¬†in place but not allow the wool to go through to the other side.¬†You don’t want the darker colours to be seen through the lighter colours on the other side! and vice versa ¬†(it would be a medley of pink and grey in this case).

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……..where needle holes can be seen – you can use¬†fingers or a normal sewing needle to gently fluff up fibres

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…. add different shades of colour to give a more realistic look. I mixed my greys and blues to get the bluey-grey colours.¬†Then I ¬†used a mink colour for the middle of the ear with lighter pinks around the edges. Finally¬†a strand of grey down the very centre for light and shadow and 3d effect…

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Then your ears are ready to fix on to your bunny head for full bunny character!!

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I hope you found this useful. Let me know what you would like me to write about and what you would like me to make!

My next post will¬†be a¬†photo gallery of how I made my bunny creation from start to finish….so you will get to see me fixing the ears in place…!

Please¬†enter your email address here for notifications of new posts to my blog and follow me on facebook, twitter, pinterest to see what I am up to next! ūüôā

What is needle felting?

Are you new to this amazing form of art?

So was I back in 2013, but we all need to start somewhere. Once I started I just couldn’t stop and no doubt you will feel the same way too as it is very addictive.

You have probably seen some of my needle felted animals in my Gallery but what is it that I do to get from a piece of wool to a detailed sculpted animal?

Here I will show you the basics..

Have you ever had a woollen jumper? … loved it, worn it ..and then oh dear..washed it in too hot a wash and failed to read the washing instructions properly? or maybe you have heard of others doing that…Well that happened to me when I went to uni and didn’t have my mum to show me how it should be done!. My new favourite jumper shrunk to about a 5th of the size it started out as!!. Lets just say my teddy bear (I know I took a teddy to uni!) had his very own jumper which fit him perfectly… sadly though it would never reshape back to my size..

Needle felting felting is not putting wools in the machine or adding soapy water (although there is a technique known as ‘wet felting’ which does just this!) but the concept of how wool fibres latch on to each other and don’t want to let go is what I am trying to demonstrate here.

With needle felting you use a single barbed needle or several at the same time to cause the wool to felt..

First of all you choose your wools. These are some of the delicious coloured merino wools I used to make a fox.

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You pull off a piece (pull sections with hands far apart rather than too close).

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Roll or fold your wool tightly to form the shape you need. Here I am forming a spherical shape to demonstrate. You can take the wool off of the foam pad (used here to ensure I don’t stab myself) and roll in a ball in your hands too if you like – just like a piece of play dough as the ‘squishing’ action helps bind it into the shape you need as well.

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Then using your barbed needle you stab away at the wool hundreds of times in various directions, turning as you go (avoiding your fingers as the needle is extremely sharp) and as you do the wool fibres hug each other tight and don’t let go ūüôā

Make sure the needle exit at the same angle as it entered so not to bend to bend or break it. start off slow at first until you get used to it and you will speed up in no time.

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The more you stab (which is quite therapeutic by the way after a hard day at work) the firmer and more compact the wool becomes so you can sculpt shapes. 2013-07-29 14.22.13

It is like modelling clay but with wool and a needle. Instead of moulding an area with your fingers you work it with a needle.

What I love is that there is no sewing involved (all the facial features such as eyes and noses can be needle felted too!) you just stab wool into shapes and add shapes to other shapes… and hey presto!! you have an animal.

There is of course a lot more to it than this. If you take a look at my Tutorials, tips and ideas page you will find further techniques.

Some animals can be made by simply needle felting basic body parts and felting them together.

For some you could felt the wool onto a wire armature to give the animal more structure and poseability (is that a word?). For example for the fox, cat, dog and donkey I  wrapped the wool tightly around wire which I had first prepared (after looking at photos of skeletal structures) and used my needle to fix the wool in place, firm up and blend in loose edges. Then I added more wool shapes to build up anatomy parts onto the base structure.

Here I have just started to give the fox his shape before adding his head and fuller tail and torso.

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I tend to start off with core wool (usually corriedale batts) using my thicker needles to get started. Then for adding layers of realistic looking fur and to get the colours I love¬†I use a blend of soft merino wool roving. Thinner sized needles are used for needle felting the details especially for the face and ears. I use no beads or buttons for eyes and noses…. just beautiful 100% wool!!

Did you find this tutorial helpful? What would you like to learn about next? Please leave comments. Why not post a photo of your own creations?

For more tutorials please visit my Tutorials, tips and ideas page.

Don‚Äôt ever miss out on my latest tutorials! Insert your email address and click the ‚ÄėFollow‚Äô button on the right hand panel to receive notifications of when the next post is up..:-)

Don’t have time to make one but would love a one of a kind needle felted animal by Fit to be loved for yourself or for that special someone? Visit my Etsy shop today to see my latest creations. Or like my facebook page to see what I am making next.

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