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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 🙂

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 !

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Needle felted tabby kitten

Finally after many weeks I have finished “Paws”, an adorable and realistic looking Tabby kitten, looking up at you with those big green eyes and in need of a forever home. His little paws playfully protrude out of the picture.
He has been lovingly hand-made and is ‘fit to be loved’. As you can see from the photos he is in a black frame with green insert to compliment his eyes.

The frame measures 9 inches wide by 7 inches tall perfect for fixing to a wall or standing on a table/chest of drawers. It has taken many hours of hard work and love to give him his playful character through the art of needle felting.


His beautiful soft fluffy fur is a blend of merino sheep’s wool (non-mulesed) from South Africa and British Corriedale wool. His nose and eyes are made of wool too, so no glass or plastic. He even has cute brown wool paw pads when you look underneath! His core is made of undyed mixed rare breed sheep’s wool from Scotland with a wire frame inside his legs for extra support. His white whiskers are made from horse tail hair for a realistic finish. He has a little collar with gold coloured heart pendant.


He is a cute and unique gift for the animal lover in your life. Or why not treat yourself?
Paws is now for sale in my Etsy shop. FREE UK delivery. Will also ship internationally.

Here are some photos of the needle felting process.

With real cat photos as reference, I started sculpting the core wool to make the head, then filled in the eyes and added layers of grey, black, brown and white wool to resemble cat fur. I added nose and mouth detail along the way. Once the head was complete I wrapped more core wool over a wire armature and sculpted the legs and torso. After attaching the head I layered coloured wool over the top of the body and legs to give that soft fluffy cat fur look as well as the paw pad detail. Finally after tying a collar round its neck with a gold coloured pendant, I threaded the horse hair whiskers. As with all my long haired sculptures I went over all the furry layers with a tiny needle to separate fibres and ensure no fluffing or matting and then trimmed any excess fibres that stuck out.

For more info about how to add long fur to needle felted animals, please do follow the tutorial here.

Needle felted dormouse

May I present to you ‘Hazel’ the sleeping hazel dormouse. She is snuggled up on her needle felted leaves in a wool nest I crocheted.

She is a mix of merino and corriedale wools with a wire in her tail and has horse hair for whiskers. Her tiny toes are all wool – I think they are the tiniest I have made yet and were very fiddly but certainly worth every minute of the process.

Hazel was such a joy to make while I have been recovering from a life changing operation. Curling up into a little ball just like she is doing in her cosy nest is something I have felt like doing a lot the past few weeks as I have needed so much sleep.

I hope you like her. I will be posting more about how I made the leaves soon too.

Needle felted bumble bee

needle felted bumble bee (33)

Here is my first attempt at a needle felted bumble bee. I gave it to my sister for her birthday last week. My sister’s name Melissa means ‘honey bee’ but she loves bumbley bees as they are so fluffy looking! I was brave enough to let it sit on my hand without any worries about being stung. Good job as it is much larger than life size!

 

I started off using black pipe cleaners as legs and antennae.  I twisted them together in the middle to form the base for the body. I trimmed the pipe cleaners with small angled nail scissors to accentuate the leg segments and added tan coloured wool..

I tightly wound yellow, black and white merino wool tops over the middle section to form the head, thorax and abdomen and added more and more of the merino on top to build up the height. I needle felted the body with a barbed needle to sculpt into a bee shape. To create a furry bumble bee look I then used a reverse felting needle to pull out the fibres and added a layer of rusty orange over the yellow to give the colour more depth. (Note I didn’t use a cream colour core wool for this piece to ensure that only the pure colours I wanted came through when I used the reverse needle not any underlay of core wool fibres).

I had to get really creative for the wings. I searched my stash of crafty bits and ended up cutting out wing shapes from a silvery coloured organza bag and then hand sewed the pattern on each wing by hand with white embroidery thread.

Here are a few photos of the work in progress of how I started.

I am so pleased that my sister adored him!!

******You can now order a bumble bee for yourself here******************

Mini Schubie the Sheltie Feltie

I am very excited to present to you my greatest needle felting challenge yet. He is modelled on a beautiful young Shetland sheepdog (Sheltie) called Schubert (Schubie)! The real dog is very much loved by his human mum and dad and his dad wanted a surprise gift for his wife (Schubert’s mum) for Christmas!
I rarely do commissions as I try to avoid the stress of it but having spent quite a bit of time admiring the real Schubert I had been wondering how it would be to needle felt a mini one and quite fancied a stab at it!  🙂

Schubert has so many tones to his luxurious fur so I spent quite a bit of time blending wool colours. He also has very long fur so I really put into practice my ‘adding long animal fur’ techniques.

I started off wrapping corriedale core wool over a wire armature. Then I added paw pads and then some detail on his face before starting on his belly fur and working from his tail end towards his neck with merino wool. I did his wispy feet hair and tail last. Please see the work in progress videos for more info.

In an attempt to keep him as authentically ‘Shetland’ as possible I managed to include some brown Shetland sheep wool in his coat and his whiskers are made of black Shetland pony tail hair all the way from Scotland.

As with all my creations it took many hours of needle felting and love. I am very pleased with the way he turned out and I hope you like him too 🐶🐕😆

Here are some photos and a short video. I hope to get some photos of him and the real Schubie together soon too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bon Voyage little guinea pig!

I would like to introduce you to a gorgeous needle felted guinea pig called ‘Teddy’.

As you can see he has a cheeky little face and I really tried to make sure his autumnal orange fur tones ended up looking as fluffy and soft as possible just like a real guinea pig.

6-Needle felted guinea pig (6)

He is now on his way to France to live with a lovely lady who will take good care of him.

Bon Voyage little guinea pig! You were a pleasure to create and I hope you have a wonderful life at your new furever home x

5-Needle felted guinea pig (5) 3-Needle felted guinea pig (3)

His core is made of natural undyed Corriedale wool from New Zealand. His beautiful soft fur and detail on his cute piggy paws, ears and face are of soft merino wool (non-mulesed) from South Africa (Cape). His toes have been sculpted by wool wrapped delicately onto wire.

His eyes are made of wool too, so no glass or plastic.

You can see he is life-sized from the close up of me holding him in my hand.

2-Needle felted guinea pig (2) 8-Needle felted guinea pig (10) 9-Needle felted guinea pig (8)

1-Needle felted guinea pig (1)

Hope you like him 🙂

Would you like to know how to make a guinea pig? (click on the photo to get started).

Needle felted guinea pig

Making a needle felted animal and need some help adding layers of wool to achieve a realistic long fur look? (click the photo to learn more…)

Felting long animal fur

See here for a variety of tutorials, tips and ideas to suit your project

Here are some other needle felted guinea pigs for more ideas.

Needlefelted guinea pig (2)  Needlefelted guinea pig (24)

Guineapig Guinea pig (37) Needle felted guinea pig (1) Needle felted guinea pig (38)

Happy Mother’s day

I absolutely adore my mum. She is always there for me and whatever I say in a card or buy for her on mother’s day would not even come close to showing her just how much she means to me.

Life has been extra challenging these last few weeks and she has lovingly sent me a text message every morning without fail full of encouraging words to inspire me and reassure me for the rest of my day.

Although I have been full of cold this week and tired I wanted to make something beautiful for her as a glimpse of my appreciation for all that she is.

I managed to create an orchid from a combination of crochet and needlefelt. 🙂 – something a bit different from my usual felted sculptures.

Real flowers often don’t last long and even orchids which can flower each year don’t always flourish. Wool flowers however will last so much longer and will still be there in years to come.

I followed and adapted a free pattern I found on line for the flowers, added a bit of felt to them and wired them to my own felted stem (with buds) and leaves.

I watched her open her package this morning on the ipad. It was a privaledge to see her smile.

I love you so much mum 🙂 xxx

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