Posts Tagged needle felting
Remember my first forays into 2D needle felting and, in particular, dog portraits?
I thought you might like to see how I’ve been getting on since I started at the beginning of February.
My dog Stan was my first go but I could see room for improvement. Which was just as well otherwise why pay for a course?
The next one I did was a Trailhound. I don’t have a Trailhound, and don’t know anybody who has but the photo was in the course for us to use as a practice piece for a smooth coated dog. Even though he was only my third go – I did a practice Jack Russell too which I showed in an earlier post – I think he’s still the best thing I’ve done so far.
I was really pleased with him and the practice will come in handy for when I do a portrait of my girl Flo as she has a similar look.
Next I did another practice piece, copying the Lhasa Apso photo on the course to try out a longer haired dog as I wanted to do my sister’s Westie for her birthday.
The long hair was difficult but I think I made a passable portrait and I was pleased with the collar.
We lost Phoebe, our lovely German Shepherd back in 2013 and I didn’t have that many suitable photos of her to copy but I used what I had and I’m quite pleased with the result.
I’m sure those of you who paint will already know how many different colours are present in things you previously thought of as comprising only a few. I used so many colours of fibre in those ears and, close up, I thought it looked ridiculous but, once you stand back, it all seems to work.
Then it was time for the Westie. He’s called Harvey and my sister adores him so I wanted to make my first portrait for somebody other than myself a good one.
Again, the long hair, going off in all different directions, was difficult but hopefully she’ll be able to recognise her beloved fluff ball. To be honest, I think most Westies look the same but I’m sure their owners don’t think so.
I won’t be framing my practice pieces, but for the others I found some good frames in Ikea which are perfect for textile art because you can sink the image quite a way down from the glass. At least it was glass when I bought this one to frame Phoebe but when I ordered another four of the frames online the glass had been replaced by some sort of polycarbonate.
I still think they are good though and very reasonably priced if you are thinking of framing any textile work. The model is called Ribba, they come in both black and white and they cost about 7 euros.
Next up, will be my beautiful Flo
I’m still really enjoying myself with this and working with lovely pure wool fibres is a treat.
Thank you for visiting my gallery.
I’m still enjoying learning the art of 2D needle felting and have had a stab – no pun intended – at doing a portrait of my boy Stan.
This probably wasn’t the best photo to choose to copy as he was much younger then and the light is making his black coat look as if it has purple and blue in it – and that bow tie!!
As I am completely in love with this new activity I thought I’d talk you through what 2D needle felting involves in case you’re interested and you’ve never come across it before.
Firstly, I did a few free online tutorials with felting artist Sophie Wheatley – remember the hamster I did? Sophie felts a picture from beginning to end and you can follow along live or watch later. (a link to her website at the end in case you feel it’s something that would appeal to you).
I immeditely knew I was going to love the craft and, as I love dogs just a bit too, I thought I would join her paid course for the dog portraits which is probably the best money I’ve ever spent on a crafting course of any description.
With Sophie’s method, you don’t have to be able to draw – which is good because I can’t. Instead, you choose a really good, in focus photo where there’s not too much shine or shadow and the features are clear.
Then you transfer the photo on to your background fabric. 100% wool felt sheets are good because they help the felting process begin but you can use whatever fabric you can get a felting needle through. I used linen for Stan’s first portrait.
I don’t use the method Sophie uses to transfer the photo although most of the students seem to. I use a lightbox and trace the outline and as many markings as I can in pencil.
I turn the traced image over and, again using the lightbox to highlight the lines, I go over the drawing with a transferable pen.
Then, I turn the paper over again so that the transferable pen lines are against the backing fabric and iron it, making sure all the lines are transferred.
Then you really look closely at the original photograph on your screen, zooming in on the detail and see what colours you have in there.
Sophie recommends using carded wool batts rather than roving (wool tops) as the batts are already slightly matted and will felt down much quicker.
I have quite a few neutral colours as both my dogs are black with varying degrees of white but I also needed tans and creams and browns. Luckily, you only need small pieces of wool as you don’t actually use much at all.
Felting needles come in different gauges but, basically, they have barbs on the end which you repeatedly poke down into the wool and this is what causes the fibres to come together and become ‘felted’.
Generally, it’s good to start with the eyes because they immediately give the portrait some life and encourage you to move on.
I have a tendency to make the eyes too big and this right eye was removed at a later stage and re-done. This is possible if you don’t felt the wool down too firmly at first. you can always go over it all at the end to firm it up.
I sent a photo of the first finished ‘draft’ to my daughter on WhatsApp and she sent me back a link to ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch.
Everyone’s a critic 🙄
So both eyes came out at that point and got re-done.
Anyway, I’m pleased enough with my finished portrait of Stan to put him in a hoop (for now) but I still have a lot to learn and will do some more practice before I try one of Flo and another one of Stan with the grey hairs he has now.
If you fancy having a go, Sophie has some free tutorials on her site ‘All Things Felt and Beautiful’ which was where I learnt to do the hamster and, just last weekend, this lemur – which I’m quite proud of actually.
I’m glad I started learning this before the current lockdown situation otherwise I might have found it hard to get the materials. It’s been the perfect distraction – the time flies while you’re doing it. I did think the other day that I’d like to try Tunisian crochet but although I could get instructions and patterns on PDF files, I haven’t got any of the special hooks so that will have to wait.
I hope you’ve found this quick run down on 2D needle felting of interest but, I thought, if i’m going to talk about it in future posts, you might want to know what it involves even if you’re not going to try it yourself.
Have you started anything new during the current situation to take your mind off things or have you taken the opportunity to finish current projects or can’t you concentrate on anything at all for long at the moment?
I’m continuing down the path of my new obsession – needle felting.
After my idiosyncratic hare which was my first attempt at a beastie……
……..I thought I’d have a go at 2D needle felting. In other words, making a picture using wool tops and a felting needle.
For my first attempt I copied the ouline of an illustration from a card I’d sent to Mr. Tialys at one time on to some linen. Then filled it in with needle felting.
I really like the texture you can achieve.
Then I went back to the 3D sculpture stuff and made a fox.
He has rather a high forehead – probably a very brainy fox – but, overall, I’m quite pleased with my second animal sculpture.
Here he is again resting in some monster-sized faux lavender. I need to learn how to tame unruly whiskers.
I stretched my 2D picture in a hoop just to display on the blog but I’ll be keeping my early (flat) attempts in some sort of portfolio file in order to track my progress.
Although I think this would work quite well, with a little felted heart between them, as a Valentine’s card.
I’m not sure yet, whether I prefer making the 3D needle felted sculptures or the 2D needle felted pictures but it’s early days yet and for the moment I will carry on with both until I make a decision or, more likely, continue with both sorts.
Next, I’m going to have a go at a dog sculpture – I think I could adapt the shape of the fox to represent one of my dogs.
Also, I’m going to try to needle felt a picture of my other dog for which I’m going to follow a live Facebook tutorial.
At this rate, I see felted gifts for friends and rellies in the future – which will make a change from blankets and quilts I suppose.
But, first, we’ll see if I can make anything worth giving.
Yesterday I went to a Christmas craft fair and had my first vin chaud (literally ‘hot wine’) of the year so now I’m starting to feel a bit festive and realised I haven’t posted for a while so here’s a quick catch up.
It’s difficult, when you make things yourself, to buy things at a craft fair. It’s easy to think ‘well, I could make that’ and some people actually say it and, having done a couple of craft fairs myself, I can tell you that it’s one of the most annoying things to hear. I want to say, ‘yes, but will you?’ ‘Do you have the equipment you need to make it and, if not, are you going to go out and buy it just to make one thing?’ ( whilst smiling politely and saying worse things under my breath).
Anyway, I managed to buy a couple of things that I won’t make myself even though I could.
Firstly, this lovely wreath made out of loads and loads of pieces of Christmassy fabric.
I don’t have much festive fabric in my stash and, if I did, I wouldn’t be cutting it up into hundreds of pieces. Sometimes, there are people with more patience than you and, since I know the lady who makes these, I was glad to support her.
One hobby I started but didn’t finish is needle felting but I really would like to give it another go one day. So, I couldn’t resist this little mouse, complete with appropriate French attire who will go on my tree as I always like to buy at least one new tree decoration each year.
I usually harvest some mistletoe from a small tree at the top of our garden but, this year, it doesn’t seem to have appeared so this seemed a good excuse for another felty festive purchase.
Last time I tried needle felting, I couldn’t even make a round bead properly so I’ll be on the lookout for a workshop or something next year and maybe, next Christmas, I’ll be able to say ‘I could make that’ – though not out loud of course.
Anyway, back to what I have made myself. Having dislodged the cats from my Nature’s Walk crochet squares which were laid out on the dining room table for ease of joining, they are now all joined and the first two rows that set up the edge for the fancy border have been done. I think I’ll do the rest on my lap when the cats are outside.
They have now found another work in progress to impede so I still have another two sides of my F2F quilt to bind. Look at that face – would you have the courage to move her off?
At least that’s forced me to try to finish the new shirt I’m making for Mr. Tialys’s Christmas present. Despite having made this same pattern recently, I’m having trouble with the sleeves. Last time, I set them in and finished the inside seam on the overlocker/serger. This time I wanted to do a felled seam as it looks more professional. The sleeve cap is quite large on this shirt, compared to the armscye, so it’s quite difficult to set it in without puckers anyway, let alone trying to fell the seams too, so it’s causing me some problems and I keep finding other things to do to put off tackling it.
(edit: nothing wrong with the pattern sizing at all – it was me, matching the wrong notches!!)
Speaking of Christmas gifts, I commented on Kate’s post today about gift giving- although I sort of went off topic – and would be interested to know your thoughts on something. I love giving hand made gifts to friends and family it gives me a lot of pleasure (and hopefully them) and also gives me a good excuse to make more things. None of my family live nearby and most don’t appreciate hand made items anyway – with the exception of my daughters who are already drowning in blankets and quilts – so it’s generally friends who end up with the results of my efforts. However, some (non-crafting) friends I usually go for a pre-Christmas lunch with have a ‘no gifts’ policy and have asked me not to surprise them with anything this year. I only ever give them hand made things – not shop bought – and I’ve explained before that I don’t expect, or even want, anything in return. I try to give them useful things too – crocheted cloths or cleansing pads, fabric baskets, make up bags, last year it was knitted cowls, as I know not everybody wants blankets or cushions or even quilts. This year I was going to give them little fabric baskets filled with foodie things – home made lemon curd, chutney, quince spread and bombay nuts. But now I’m not 😞 I sort of understand that they might feel they have to reciprocate but, in previous years, I’ve been very insistent that they don’t. Now I feel sort of offended.
What do you think? I’d be interested to hear if you think I’m being over sensitive.
My Saturday Selection today is this beautiful needle felted rabbit which, when I first saw it, thought was a painting!
My needlefelting efforts have come to nought, so far, but when I see something like this I feel newly inspired, if not a bit intimidated.
Go and have a look at Sara’s other beautiful creations at The Barnyard.
Well, I’m hooked. I’ve been stabbing away as if my life depended on it. I watched a little video on Youtube and a woman was making little felted dogs and she made it look so easy that, despite the fact that I only received my starter kit the day before and have only made a heart so far thought, ‘Yay, I can do that’ as you do.
NOBODY is allowed to laugh……
Well, it started off as just a short haired dog, then it turned into my golden retriever but I put too much hair on top of the head so it started to look a bit like a poodle then I lost direction a bit and seem to have given it a pig’s snout and it’s ended up looking a bit lamb-like. Still, all in all, I’m pretty pleased for a second attempt.
I’ve now discovered how to get the needle in the handle – obvious to everybody but me, apparently – and, thanks Shelley, the tip about covering the foam block with a piece of fabric certainly saves bits of foam ending up in the wool and also makes it easier to lift the item up after it has been stabbed a few times.
I think I’ll have a go at a few more things over the weekend. If nothing else it’s a good excuse to indulge in some under cover voodoo.
I’ve been meaning to give needle felting a go for quite a while now but when I read Shelley’s blog over on ‘The Beauty is in the Detail’ I caught her enthusiasm and it spurred me into action. Now, why, I hear you ask (or is that my husband), would I want to take on yet another craft when I should be wiping down the skirting boards and damp dusting the mantelpiece. Well, which would you choose? Anyway, following one of Shelley’s links, I bought a little starter kit.
Ooer, those needles are barbed and it is that which matts the wool together when you stab them up and down into the wool. They are very sharp and, apparently, very easy to break so you have to make sure that you stab in an up and down motion and not at an angle. I assume they are all different sizes because each has a different colour splodge of paint on top but I have no information on that yet. Also, I’m not sure what to do with the little wooden thing which, I assume, is a handle but the needles only go into it point end down so not sure how that works yet either. O.K., O.K. , I’ve not long opened the package. The wool that came with this little starter kit is in sort of bubble gum colours and is so soft that I had to have a cup of cocoa and a little sleep after handling it.
I had a look on Flickr at some felting artists and immediately felt totally inadequate. There are some incredibly talented people out there using this method to make sculptural figures and all sorts of things.
Anyway, after the briefest flirtation with the instructions I started stabbing (which I’m sure isn’t the technical term) and came up with this little heart which I know is totally underwhelming and I don’t expect a fanfare but I am chuffed that I’ve managed to transform the wool into a felted object and that it actually resembles a heart shape.
I can imagine this might easily become addictive. I need to watch some more tutorials and probably buy a book. I would like to try something 3D next but it might be quite some time before I’m sculpting human figures!