Two Wooly Collie Crosses

As I haven’t done a post for a while, I thought I’d just drop in to show you my latest needle felted portraits which are both of collie cross type dogs.

The first one is my girl Flo.  She has many expressions and this is just one of them so I will probably do another one of her looking sly and another looking ashamed, the latter look generally following closely behind the former.

I bought some brightly coloured felt as a background for this one but, even though it is easier to needle felt on to, I think I prefer the more ‘arty’ look of natural linen.  I’m not completely sure though so coloured felt could still figure in future portraits.

My sister in law sent me an e-card last week which was an animated version of her new young rescue dog wishing me a happy birthday in, what I imagine is my SIL’s voice slightly distorted to sound as if she’d taken a lungful of helium. Either that or she has a rare talking dog.   As it’s her birthday in July I thought I’d take a screen shot from the card and do a portrait for her birthday as a surprise.

So, here’s my version of Callie.

I need to frame her but can’t decide whether to use a large embroidery hoop or a deep frame.  The hoop will be a lot cheaper to post as Mr. Tialys is still stuck in France so can’t be my mule for items I want taken over to the U.K.  – nor indeed items I want brought over from the U.K. – but, so far, I’ve been waiting since the beginning of May for some hoops I ordered to arrive so it might be a frame after all.

Do you prefer the felt (doesn’t need to be green) or linen look?

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  1. #1 by Mary on June 28, 2020 - 15:35

    You’re really getting good at this. Lovely.

    • #2 by tialys on June 28, 2020 - 15:48

      Thank you, I’m getting a little less heavy handed and a bit quicker. Some breeds are more difficult though and I haven’t tackled tongue and teeth yet so lots more challenges to come.

  2. #3 by Kellie on June 28, 2020 - 15:41

    I like green so maybe I’m biased, but the felt 👌

    • #4 by tialys on June 28, 2020 - 15:47

      So far I’ve only done these for myself or family but, if I was doing one for somebody else, I’d probably give them a choice of background.

  3. #5 by Ann M on June 28, 2020 - 15:52

    Both dogs look wonderful (!) and I like both backgrounds, so I’m no help at all. 🙂

    • #6 by tialys on June 28, 2020 - 19:44

      I know how you feel!

  4. #7 by onecreativefamily on June 28, 2020 - 15:57

    Such beautiful work. You want to reach out and pet her.

  5. #9 by sewsouk on June 28, 2020 - 16:06

    So beautiful and expressive. I love the green but the natural linen may go with more décor. Either way both are lovely.

    • #10 by tialys on June 28, 2020 - 20:23

      Thank you. I think I’ll give the choice to the owner of the dog if I’m ever asked to do a portrait for somebody.

  6. #11 by Laurie Graves on June 28, 2020 - 16:42

    I am crazy about both of them. The dogs are absolutely wonderful. Soulful and expressive. However, I like the contrast of the green just a teensy-weensy bit better. What a great gift.

    • #12 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:59

      Thanks Laurie. I hope she’ll like it, it’s not too large so she can always hang it somewhere not too obvious if it’s not her ‘thing’.

  7. #13 by nanacathy2 on June 28, 2020 - 16:45

    I prefer the linen look. I am sure the portrait will be treasured. Both woofs look very realistic.

    • #14 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:58

      Well, I think it will be a nice surprise for her as she has no idea I’m doing it.

  8. #15 by claire93 on June 28, 2020 - 19:22

    first, I think both dog portraits are brilliant! Eyes, nose and ears are so well done, that you’ve breathed life into both of these! I do like the green felt background for Flo, but have to say, I prefer the more neutral background you’ve used for Callie.

    • #16 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:57

      I’m surprised by that Claire – you usually go for the bright colours – but I’m with you this time I think. Nice to ring the changes though.

      • #17 by claire93 on June 29, 2020 - 19:04

        yep I should have voted for the green which I DO like! Maybe you could try on a light green linen???

      • #18 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 19:15

        I do have some coloured linen. I did one of Phoebe, my dearly departed GSD, on a royal blue linen which looks quite good. I suppose it’s because the natural linen looks more like canvas and, therefore, the portrait looks more ‘painterly’ that I like it. On the other hand, I’ve seen dog portraits against hot pink felt and they look great too.

  9. #19 by magpiesue on June 28, 2020 - 20:38

    I think giving the intended recipient their choice of backgrounds is a good idea. I can’t say which I would prefer; it might depend on the subject more than anything else (his/her coloring). Flo really pops against that lovely green ground. Meanwhile, you have really captured the essence of these two dogs. Both portraits are amazingly realistic. Well done you! (Might have to send you a photo of my Luna!)

    • #20 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:17

      Thank you Sue. I agree that some dogs would look better against a brighter background and, of course, it would depend on the décor of the house where they will hang.

  10. #21 by katechiconi on June 28, 2020 - 21:06

    Lovely Flo! You do have a knack for eyes; both the dogs have personality. I love how soft and velvety Flo’s muzzle looks, too. I think I slightly prefer the matte surface of the felt, the felted portrait seems to be more integrated, somehow, less just put down there. How much will you charge for portraits, because *obviously* you have to do this in a businesslike way? Too many people love them to just leave it as a bit of a hobby.

    • #22 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:34

      I think, once they’re framed, it helps with the grounding of the portrait in its background. How much to charge? It’s a difficult one. Unlike quilts, for example, there is not so much involved materials-wise. There is a backing, some 100% quality wool fibre and whatever you use to frame it. The value, I guess, is in the hours of work, the artistic interpretation and the personal touch of making a portrait of somebody’s pet. Our tutor gave a pricing and marketing webinar and encourages us to value our work. She doesn’t even make portraits for friends or family but then she can charge quite a lot of money for her work. I have seen others’ work for around the £100 mark for a custom portrait but, even though the tutor says that is the minimum we should charge, I’m reluctant until I am 100% satisfied with what I’m doing.

  11. #23 by Dartmoor Yarns on June 28, 2020 - 21:57

    Wow! You’re getting really good at this!
    I love the picture of Flo (BTW my daughter has named her new car Flo – no idea why I need to tell you that). The green background works really well, but I do prefer the linen look.
    A deep frame is better IMO, because a hoop will get dusty and it’s hard to keep fabric artwork properly clean – or do you know something I don’t? As you know, I lack the domestic goddess gene, so there may well be and I don’t know about it.
    All dogs can talk. Didn’t you know that?

    • #24 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:47

      My daughter calls her car ‘Helga’ – no idea why!
      Lots of the students ask about keeping the portrait clean and, also, how to protect it from moths. I lack the domestic goddess gene too but, apparently, a cool hairdryer on ‘slow’ is the way to go if you want to give it a bit of a dust and, apparently, moths can be more of a problem in your wool stash than on a finished work. I think the portraits look sweet in the hoops but I think it looks more professional both in a frame and on linen but that’s just a personal thing.

      • #25 by Dartmoor Yarns on June 29, 2020 - 18:16

        Apparently Flo is short for Florence the Machine! Great tip about the hair dryer – thanks (if I ever find that gene).
        Tell me about the moths! They like to lay their eggs in the dark which is why your woolies are better off i the light.

      • #26 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 19:15

        Well, that sounds like a domestic goddess kinda tip! Thanks for that.

      • #27 by Dartmoor Yarns on June 29, 2020 - 20:15

        It’s knowledge from running a knitting kit empire 😉 Which – between you and me – is going to be shut down.

      • #28 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 20:22

        That’s a shame. Why’s that then?

      • #29 by Dartmoor Yarns on June 29, 2020 - 21:18

        Quite a few reasons. Including that I can knitting really aggravated my thumb. A big one is the wool mill are an absolute nightmare to deal with – the last lot of fleece I had spun took 6 months for them to turn around – it used to take 6 weeks, which makes it nye on impossible to plan ahead. They are also absolute arses to deal with now certain staff have left, plus their prices are withulte

      • #30 by tialys on June 30, 2020 - 18:13

        Well, unless you absolutely need the income from this particular venture, it’s not worth doing it if you’re not enjoying it. You’ll not have time soon when you’re exhibiting your paintings in all the local galleries anyway.

      • #31 by Dartmoor Yarns on June 30, 2020 - 20:56

        Of course. I’d forgotten I’ll be doing that.

      • #32 by Dartmoor Yarns on June 29, 2020 - 21:24

        Finishing my lower reply here as it escaped before I wanted it to. Hope that makes sense Prices going up and up. Can’t go to another mill – not that there are many – as there’s then P&P (delivering fleece and receiving yarn) make things more expensive. Plus Hubby retiring – probably – he might well sneak back to do a bit of work occasionally, but if he’s mucking about I should be too 🙂

      • #33 by tialys on June 30, 2020 - 18:12

        Too right! Mucking about loves company.😁

      • #34 by Dartmoor Yarns on June 30, 2020 - 20:24

        Absolutely 🙂

  12. #35 by DawnGillDesigns on June 29, 2020 - 09:35

    if it’s heaps easier to felt to felt, have you considered doing that, then trimming it out of the felt and backing it to the linen? Of course, I know nuffin’ when it comes to fabric crafts, so that is probably an unfeasible thought, but I like to share 😉

    • #36 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:50

      Some people do that actually but I would be a bit scared to cut some vital piece off. It’s actually just the first layer that is a little harder to get in place on the linen but, once you have a fine layer of wool down, the next layer felts to the first so it gets easier. Thank you for sharing 😉

  13. #37 by Emmely on June 29, 2020 - 15:39

    I think I like the linen better. I am amazed at how life like you make these portraits look.

    • #38 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 16:51

      Thanks Emmely – I’m getting there. I’ve seen some portraits of cats by a Japanese artist that actually look as if the cat has been beheaded and put in a frame – almost too lifelike 🙀

      • #39 by Emmely on June 29, 2020 - 18:38

        Haha! Yes, that might become scary!

  14. #40 by Evie Jones on June 29, 2020 - 17:24

    These are really delightful. You are clever!
    I vote for the linen.

    • #41 by tialys on June 29, 2020 - 19:17

      Thank you. Just takes lots of practice.

  15. #42 by cedar51 on July 1, 2020 - 23:57

    I like the green background, sharpens the outline of the dog portrait a little more…a bit behind with blog posts!

    • #43 by tialys on July 2, 2020 - 09:27

      Don’t worry about getting behind with posts, I’m the same. I’ve got a lot going on at home at the moment so am just dropping in quickly in the mornings to check the sky hasn’t fallen in somewhere and have a quick read of a few blog posts.

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