Using a BBQ skewer, or chop stick, as a needle felting tool makes many needle felting projects a whole lot easier, and faster to complete. It is also a great aid for creating symmetry, especially when it comes to legs and feet. It is the tool that no self respecting needle felter should be without, whether it’s your first needle felting project or your twentieth. Even better, you will probably find one, or both, at the bottom of your kitchen drawer, along with the sandwich toaster and vegetable juicer…
IT’S AN EASY TUTORIAL
This gnome on a stick is easy to make and the solid hat means you can really go to town on the embellishments without spoiling the shape. Simple embroidery adds another creative and effective element. Time to make: 60-90 minutes. Beginners and perfectionists add on another 30 minutes.
You will need:
- Carded wool or wool top (AKA roving) for the hat, body and nose; I am using carded wool for both.
- Felting needle – size 38 (or medium) is a good all rounder.
- Wooden BBQ skewer or chop stick; metal is too slippery for the wool to hold onto.
- Felting mat: Foam, hessian or wool
- For the beard use wool tops, curly wool or knitting yarn
- Embellishments or embroidery thread for decoration
Needle felting tools and accessories can be found HERE if you are just starting out.
TOP TIPS BEFORE YOU START!
- Needles are sharp so keep your fingers out of the way. If in doubt, use finger protectors. Not suitable for young children and older children should be supervised at all times.
- When working around your stick avoid hitting the wood with your needle as it could break. Working at a diagonal angle will help avoid this.
- Keep the wool firm as you wrap, using thin lengths of wool, and take your time to build it into a cone shape. If your wool is too bulky you will struggle to get a nice smooth shape.
- If you start to loose the shape, simply unwind a little wool and do it again.
- Enjoy yourself and, if it’s your first project, go easy on yourself; you are only on chapter 1 so don’t compare yourself to others who are on chapter 5.
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HAT AND BODY
1 Wrap your wool around the stick and felt into place
2-4 Continue to wrap and felt until you have covered half of your stick, longer if you want a bigger hat.
5-6 Continue to wrap and felt to secure
7 Continue to build the shape but don’t take the wool to the tip bas you want to create a cone shape.
8-9 Create your shape along the stick by using your needle at a diagonal angle.
10 Widen the base as you felt; mine is approx. 6cm diameter
11-12 Create the body the same way but aim for a barrel shape approx. 6cm in height, slightly narrower at the top and wider at the base for stability.
13-14 Remove from the stick and continue to shape and firm
15 Create a cavity at the base of the hat for the body to sit in.
16 Narrow the top, if necessary, by felting at a diagonal angle from the top towards the base.
17-18 Pop some fresh wool on the top of the body and felt into the hat.
19-20 Now felt through the hat and into the top of the body, until it is held firmly.
21 Wrap the end of a small piece of wool firmly around your wooden skewer, aiming for a short oval shape.
22 Continue to wrap the wool around the stick (no need to use your needle yet) and use your thumb and finger to stop it from moving down the stick and becoming too long. Felt a little to secure but leave the ends slightly loose. TOP TIP: Don’t forget to keep it tight as this will create a great shape. Make it any size you want.
23 Check you are happy with the size and shape.
24 Remove from the stick and felt each side (where you left the wool loose) just under the brim of the hat.
25 It needs to be a good size as it will soon disappear under the beard, so if it’s too small it will look lost.
26-28 Felt the beard wool or locks just under the brim of the hat. This will keep it looking neat.
29 Add in more colour if you want to.
30-31 You can create a beard at the front or, as I have done, create a full skirt all the way around the hat.
Et voila! Leave it simple or add embellishments. I have wrapped wool yarn around this one and created a loose pom pom at the top.
There is no end to the style of gnomes you can create and how gorgeous are these visions in pink and raspberry! I love the impact created by these simple embroidered snowflakes against the bold raspberry colour. Now go forth and make more gnomes; it would be rude not to and they always look better in twos, threes, fours…😉