Needle felted sheep and hares – Step by step video tutorial

Each video tutorial breaks down every step of needle felting your animals into simple body shapes and can easily be can be adapted for whatever animal you are making. They are perfect for beginners, improvers or anyone wanting some creative respite and I have created each video to guide you step by step – workshop style – on your creative journey, sharing my top tips to make it even quicker and easier.

Everything you need to know is covered, from needle felting your basic body shape at the start to putting it all together, in simple bite size chunks that will give you the confidence to continue with this fabulously addictive craft.

If you are working from one of my NEEDLE FELTING KITS just follow the written instructions alongside the video tutorials.

1 BASIC BODY SHAPE – 12 minutes

2 BASIC HEAD SHAPE – 12 minutes

3 BASIC LEG SHAPES – 21 minutes

4 HARE AND FOX EARS – 15 minutes

5 SHEEP EARS – 15 minutes

6 FACE DETAILS – 11 minutes

7 SEWING ON BEADS FOR EYES – 8 minutes

8 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER – 35 minutes

Now you can create any size and shape you want

Needle Felted Gnome Tutorial – DIY Holiday Crafts

Grab a cuppa and mince pie and get creative with me, You can felt along with me or just watch and save for later. All you need is a handful of wool, any colours or type, and a felting needle. A cocktail stick will come in useful but it’s not essential.

OK, so maybe her attention is more on the mince pie than the needle felted gnome but, she does love wool and loves watching me needle felt. That counts, right?

VIDEO TUTORIAL Scroll down for written tutorial and materials list.

Or watch the live version on my INSTAGRAM IGTV channel or FACEBOOK PAGE

Skill level: Complete beginners – no crafting experience necessary

Time to make: Approximately 30 minutes

You will need:

15g any colour wool top/roving for the body

5g Wool top/roving or carded wool for the hat, in your choice of colour

Pinch of light colour for the nose

2g Wool top/roving, or curly wool for the beard, in your choice of colour

Enthusiasm

If you don’t have any supplies then the Gnome needle felting kit is available on the website.

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Nordic and Scandinavian style decor is so popular and I just love it. What I especially love are the charming Nordic gnomes. You may also see them referred to as Nisse, Tomte and Tonttu. Our house is full of them and they are super easy so here’s a tutorial for you.

If you have never needle felted before or are an experienced felter this is a wonderful way to start and get you in the festive mood. It’s simple and relaxing and so much fun to make.

This is just one style to get you started but there are so many variations that soon, like me, you will be tripping over them. So grab a cuppa, mince pie and some festive cheer and get creating.

1 – Hat: Make this first so the body fits the hat; much easier than trying to fit the hat to the body! You can go as small or tall as you like but this hat, when completed, is approx 20cm. The triangle template measurements are approx; base 10cm (slightly curved) and sides 12cm .

Layer your hat wool on your felting mat and pop your hat template on top of your wool, leaving a few extra centimetres of wool around each side. Top tip: Your wool shouldn’t be too thick but make sure you can’t see the felting mat through it

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Make sure you can’t see through the wool

2 – ‘Draw’ a line around the triangle with your needle to create a very rough outline

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‘Draw’ around the template

3 – Remove template and draw around the line a couple more times. This will be your fold line.

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Make sure your line is visible

4 – Fold in the sides one at a time and start to felt to create a triangle; it will be a very rough shape to start with but you will tidy this up as the wool becomes more felted so stop fiddling with it!

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Stop at the fold line

5 – Gently fold and felt each side until you have this rough shape; keep the excess at the top of your triangle because this is going to create your lovely pointy hat shape.

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Repeat for all three sides

6 – Gently pull away from the base you are using, turn and repeat. Tip; any felting base will do (foam, rice bag etc), whatever your preference.

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Keep turning regularly so it doesn’t stick to the base

7 – Keep repeating the process until it starts to firm up.

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Continue felting until it holds its shape

8 – Time to tidy up the shape; use your finger to fold in the sides that need straightening (doesn’t have to be perfect). Be slow and careful so as not to stab your finger; you can use a finger guard but I find they just annoy me. However, I have lots of customers who get on with them just fine.

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Be careful, the needle is sharp

9 – Your approx finished triangle which should be soft but firm and holds its shape.

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Your finished hat shape; it doesn’t have to be perfect

10 – Fold in half and felt along the side to mesh the fibres together. Keep turning and repeating until the hat is now firmly felted along the side so it doesn’t pull apart when you gently pull it.

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Fold in half and felt along the seam
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11 – Open up the base of the hat and tidy up the line by folding in any rough edges and felting. Keep turning and felting until you are happy with the shape at the base of your Tomte hat.

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12 – Roll just the top 2/3 cm of your hat between the palm of your hands to firm up the top and point. This improves the look as well as allowing you to tip the point over to the side at a jaunty angle.

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Roll the tip in the palm of your hands to create a pointy hat
Use any colours you want for the hat

Basic Body Shape

Body shapes don’t get much easier than this. Don’t be too precious about needle marks and dimples because most of this will be covered by its big beard.

1 – Roll your wool (I have used natural white Shetland) into a basic barrel shape. It will do this automatically as you start to roll. Start with less than you need and build it up.

Most important! Do not start to felt with your needle until you have rolled at least half of it really tightly; trust me, this will save you a lot of felting time and applies to all body shapes made this way!

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2 – Start stabbing all over with your needle (mind your fingers) as you continue to roll and remember to keep it tight. Tip: Check to see if your hat sits on top and if the body is too small add some more wool and felt again. If it’s too big then continue to felt where the hat will sit to reduce the size.

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3 – Continue to turn and felt until you have a more even and neater shape. You may end up with a narrower end which is fine because you will pop the hat onto this. Pay particular attention to the base which needs to be flat for stability. Tip; you can also press on the base once felted as the wool is pretty malleable.

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4 – Flatten the base until it sits without wobbling.

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5 – Pop on your hat and felt, gently, all around the edge until it is felted securely onto the body making sure the hat seam is at the back.

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6 – Make the nose by rolling a pinch of white or flesh coloured wool in your hands just to rough it up. Place on your mat and continue to felt with your needle, turning all the time. Now place back into the palm of your hands and roll vigorously until really firm and smooth. Tip; you may have to do this a couple of times to get it right as it is very easy to add too much wool and have a huge nose if you have never needle felted before. Less is always more when it comes to needle felting.

7 – Place the nose on its side, just under the front of the hat and felt the end into the body.

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9 – As you do this the nose will naturally rise into its correct position. Continue to felt around the base until it is firmly attached. The base of the hat should be sat just above the nose.

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10 – Decide what type of beard you are going to have. I have used grey Jacob but use whatever colour you wish. Curly locks also look really great.

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11 – If using a straight wool pull off a small section and fold in half and start by felting it onto the body just under the nose. Don’t worry about it being longer than the body because you will trim it to size (or not) once it is attached.

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12 – Continue to felt along the fold and attach it up the side of the nose and along the hat line. Tip; you can push the wool under the hat line with your needle (don’t bend it or  you may break the needle) for a neater finish.

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13 – Now trim your beard to your desired shape and style. I like mine quite ‘raggy’ so once I have got the length I then snip into the sides.

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There you have it. One fabulous Tomte Christmas gnome! You can crease the hat or keep it straight. I like both. Told you it was easy!

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Try different wool and add some fabulous locks for a different look. For the gnomes below I have used a lush teal batting with green silk fibres for the hat, and plant dyed, hand spun locks for the beard. The gnome on the right has a beard of grey Masham shot through with white silk.

But why would you stop there when the variations and colours are endless!

Gnome needle felting kits are also available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website.

CLICK FOR GNOME NEEDLE FELTING KIT

Needle felting eyes: adding detail and dimension.

Needle felting animal eyes: The devil really is in the detail and once you know the little tricks to make them pop, and give them some dimension, it really is super easy! Here’s a helpful tip to get you going…

how-to-eyes

Give your projects more dimension by raising the eyebrow. Just add a seed shape of wool above the eye and gently felt into place. The results can be subtle or dramatic; either way it is so simple and adds a great finish to the eye.

As you can see with the fox eyebrows, I have blended lighter and slightly darker colours. This stops them from disappearing into the face and also photographs so much better. Just try different styles and see what works for you.

 

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Roll a small piece of wool into a seed shape by rolling in the palm of your hand with your fore finger

 

 

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Gently felt in place just above the eye

 

 

Needle Felted Pumpkins In 30 Minutes – Easy Video Tutorial

There is no denying that Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year. I have just enough time to pause and take a deep breath before the busy season is upon me. In fact, my Autumn mode usually starts at the beginning of August, when you can just about smell the change of season. So, what better way to kick off the season than with a perfect pumpkin project. It is so easy and you can go from wool to pumpkin in just 30 relaxing minutes.

Scroll down for the video tutorial.

YOU WILL NEED:
15g core wool for a medium sized pumpkin: approx 15cm.
10/15g wool batting sheet or wool top in any colour you like.
Contrasting wool colour: For pumpkin lines.
OPTIONAL: Embellishments: Wool locks, silk fibres, discarded jewellery, lace, ribbon etc

PUMPKIN NEEDLE FELTING KITS are available HERE on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website.

I promise that pumpkins are one of the easiest things to needle felt so, even if you are the most nervous of beginners, I have every confidence of your pumpkin success! For those of you lucky enough to have beautiful weather this Autumn you can really make an outside impact, whether that be on tables or porches, with a ‘pile’ of pumpkins. Trust me when I say that you will soon be plonking pumpkins on every surface! They really are that addictive!

If you are lucky enough to have fabulous autumnal weather you can create a beautiful garden display.

Why not grab some friends or family members and have yourself a pumpkin party. Even if you are socially distancing you can have an amazing creative gathering through Skype, Zoom or other social media outlets that I know absolutely nothing about???

Don’t hold back with the colour or embellishments. Just fly in the face of tradition and have some creative fun!

Pumpkins are not just for Fall and Autumn so why not give them a Winter wonderland feel and enjoy them for even longer. I am in love with these Winter pastels and mine will be staying up right through Christmas.

Gnomes and pumpkins are a match made in heaven and my go to quick and easy projects if I need to just chill and relax. If you have been following my Nordic Gnome tutorial you will already know that gnomes are as easy as pumpkins to make.  I CAN’T WAIT, TAKE ME TO GNOME TUTORIAL

Hopefully I have given you enough ideas to inspire your Autumn/Fall creativity so, just grab a felting needle and whatever is in your wool stash! Most important, it doesn’t matter what you make as long as you are creating something that makes you happy whilst doing it.

Click HERE to view pumpkin kits.

VIDEO TUTORIAL

Are you ready for more needle felting projects?

TAKE ME TO THE GNOME TUTORIAL

or

Visit website for: GNOME NEEDLE FELTING KIT

More fun than you can……. well, shake a gnome at. Happy creating!

Needle Felted Sheep Tutorial – Adding long fur to needle felted animals

Adding a long coat to your needle felted sheep adds serious impact as well as adding another element of realism. I have had a lot of requests asking how it’s done and the technique is so easy that even the most nervous beginner will be able to tackle this with ease. Once learned, this technique can be used for so many other animals and projects.

YOU WILL NEED:

Any medium to coarse wool top.

Standard felting needle – 36 or 38 gauge are good all rounders.

Foam pad or felting mat to support your project.

Sharp scissors.

TIME TO MAKE

Adding wool top and trimming: 20 minutes

Faff time: how long is a piece of string?

For full, flowing effect use a wool top for long coats, also known as roving although this isn’t strictly accurate. Carded wool can be used but you just don’t get the same results as the fibres are much shorter and run in different directions. As I am making my favourite, the Herdwick sheep, I have used Herdwick wool top but any medium to coarse wool top will work just as well. Herdwick wool top is very coarse, and sheds a lot so is not entirely suitable for all aspects of needle felting. However, for this application it is perfect and the earthy texture is just what I am looking for.

Herdwick Sheep needle felting kits are available on the website HERE

Lets get creating! Visit the homepage HERE for full list of tutorials

1) Your ‘naked’ sheep is prepped and ready for it’s top coat. To make this sheep follow the basic shapes video tutorials HERE.

2) If your wool top is quite thick then split it down the middle before starting

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3) Cut (or pull) a strip of wool approximately 10cm long, but longer if your sheep is larger than mine which is 9cm from feet to top of its back. Please note: this is one of the few times it is OK to cut wool as the cut eds will not be attached to anything. TOP TIP: Cutting wool for needle felting is generally a no no as it damages the fibres, and prevents them from felting. If you do need to cut a piece away from your needle felting project (head maybe too big or legs not firm enough) make sure you wrap it in fresh, uncut wool before re-attaching.

4) Lay your strip of wool on the bottom half of the body of your sheep.

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5 & 6 ) Felt across the centre of the strip of wool to keep it in place. Make sure it is firmly attached as you don’t want it to pull away when handled.

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7 & 8) Fold the top over to double the thickness

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9) Felt along the top to keep it in place.

Fun Herdwick fact: Herdy’s will climb up to 3000ft to graze on the Lakeland high fells, and are fondly known as the ‘gardners’ of the Lake District.

10) Repeat this process around the sheep until you have created a ‘skirt’. Trim around the bottom of the skirt so that the legs are visible and the wool is an even length all the way round.

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11 & 12) Repeat steps 1 to 10 and create a second skirt approximately 1 to 2 cm above the first.

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13) Once the second skirt is complete lay a strip of wool across the sheeps back.

14) Felt down the centre of the wool strip to secure it. Repeat once or twice more until the back is covered.

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15 & 16) Skip this part if your sheep doesn’t have a neck. Add much thinner strips of wool around the neck but leave the top part of the neck visible.

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17 & 18) Your sheep is looking a bit wild so smooth it down with your hands.

19) Now you have flattened the wool it is looking a bit chunky so time for a trim. You can also snip into it, hairdresser style, to thin it out and give it some layers. TOP TIP: Take your time as you can’t stick it back on once you have cut it and you don’t want to end up with bald spots.

20) Give it a gentle shake to get rid of any loose wool. TOP TIP: You may want to do this outside or in a bag to avoid lots of fibres flying everywhere.

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21) I quite like the wild look but, if you want to go for the more traditional then just smooth the coat down and fluff gently with the tips of your fingers. Now, depending on the sheep you have created you may just want to leave it at that. However, the Herdwick sheep sport a pretty nifty ‘buzz’ cut so continue to the next section to see how it’s done.

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22) Lay a thin strip of wool across the top of the head

23) Secure by felting across the centre of the wool strip, making sure the eyes are still visible.

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24) You now have something of a troll situation going on.

25) Trim quite close to the head, being careful not to snip into the ears.

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26) There you have it. Your sheep in all its long coated glory, ready for even the harshest of Cumbrian winters.

For more tutorials clik HERE

For needle felting kits, accessories, wool and handmade sheep click HERE

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How to make your own curls for needle felted sheep

So you have spent hours making your fabulous needle felted sheep, only to realise you don’t have any curls to finish it. Grrrr! Not to worry, just grab a ball of wool, yarn or similar and make your own. It’s really easy and creates a whole new look for your needle felted animals; Scroll down for video tutorial.

It is also very calming and saves you sitting by the post box like this, impatiently waiting for your curly wool to arrive.

VIDEO TUTORIAL

Here is a quick video (part 2) showing you how easy it is. I have used a coarse rug yarn but any yarn with an element of wool in it will do.

Use any yarn you have in your craft box; It is easier to apply if it has some wool content. I have used a coarse rug yarn and a really soft Merino for these two gorgeous sheep.

Create beautiful texture with standard yarn

You will also find out how to add this lush, art yarn (video part 1) to your projects. I used a 40 triangle needle as it is a little easier but a standard (usually a 36 or 38 gauge) will do just fine.

Video part 1 – Art yarn application

Sheep needle felting kits using this fabulous art yarn are available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website

Happy creating. Sandy x

Punch Needle Embroidery For Beginners

I have just added another fabulous wool craft to the LFC range. Punch needle embroidery is an amazing craft that has been given a thoroughly modern makeover. The designs are endless, a whole heap of fun and easy to make.

Create endless punch needle designs

Punch needle embroidery is much faster than traditional embroidery and, unlike embroidery, there are no fiddly complicated stitches or tiny needles. Instead you will use a punch needle to create a series of loops and stitches, in a specific colour and pattern. It is almost impossible to get it wrong as mistakes can be quickly and easily fixed by just pulling the yarn out and starting again. You can use yarn, wool floss, cotton, even ribbon to create beautiful tapestry art in a never-ending range of designs.

To get you started with this inspiring craft I have put together a few short videos (scroll down to view) explaining the basics. I actually discovered punch needle a year or so ago and have spent the last six months creating a range of punch needle kits designed to inspire you to try it. They are 100% vegetarian and sustainable using wool only from slaughter free sheep on Ellie’s farm in North Yorkshire. She has been breeding the rare breed British Border Leicester for more than two decades now and every sheep lives out its life on the farm. She has even set up an area for the OAP’s. Visitors are welcome via prior arrangement. Learn more about the Doulton Flock over at Ellie’s website: TAKE ME TO THE SHEEP are available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts Website and fabulous new designs will be added over the next few months.

100% vegetarian and sustainable Punch Needle Kits.

VIDEO TUTORIALS

How To Thread A Punch Needle

This is for an adjustable needle but the process is the same or similar for most punch needles.

Preparing Your Fabric And Hoop

You can use a variety of fabrics for punch needle projects. I love 12 count Monks cloth at the moment but have lots of other fabrics I am keen to try my designs on.

Get Started With Simple Stitches

You only need to learn a few very simple stitches to create a mass of designs. Here are a few to get you started.

Please visit Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts to see the full range of inspiring craft kits and accessories.

Sewing Eyes Onto Your Needle Felted Animal

In just five minutes and four easy steps!

Needle felted eyes look great but I also love the sparkle and shine you get from a glass bead. I always find it funny that, when some of my students have spent hours creating their needle felted animal, they say they find sewing on the eyes the hardest part. I think it is because they seem a little bit fiddly but here is a quick way of doing it, in five minutes and four easy steps.

1 Use black thread and needle and sew through the side of the face – where your eyes will sit – and repeat a few times until your thread is secure.

2 Pop your bead onto the tip of your needle and pull it through.

3 Push your needle back through to the other side and pop on your second bead.

4 Repeat the process a few times until you can pull quite firmly on your thread, and both beads are secure. Finish by sewing through the back of the head a and cut the thread.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE BEGINNERS TUTORIALS

CLICK FOR NEEDLE FELTING KITS

Shows how to sew eyes onto needle felted animals

Beads can be used for all your needle felted animals.

CLICK FOR VIDEO TUTORIALS

HAPPY FELTING!

Adding Face Details To Your Needle Felted Animals

One of the trickiest things to do when creating face details is getting the really fine lines for the mouth and nose. It’s something I always spend time on with my workshop students so they don’t feel disappointed with the finishing touches. Practice, practice practice is the answer, a firm base on which to work, and less is more when it comes to the wool. When I say less is more, think even less than that. You only need the tiniest strand of wool to create really impactful details, add in a few simple techniques and you will soon be adding those details with confidence.

Top Tip: If it doesn’t look right don’t try and rectify it. Pull the wool off and start again. I often do this and it takes much less time than trying to fix the problem. Also, preparation is key so make sure the head is firm before starting. If the head is soft and squidgy you aren’t going to get the nice straight lines you want to achieve and your sheep or animal will look like they’ve been on the sauce.

Whatever your design, this technique can be applied to your project in many different ways.

Let’s get started and, if you haven’t made your head yet just click the link for the video tutorial: HOW TO CREATE A BASIC HEAD SHAPE

1 Create an impression of the mouth – Do this by ‘drawing’ the mouth onto the face with your felting needle. ‘Draw’ a V for the nose, a line down the centre and two shallow curves each side. Go over the lines you have drawn until they are clearly visible and defined. This is where your wool is going to sit and makes it so much easier to maintain a nice, even shape.

2 Roll a very, very thin wisp of wool between your fingers to gently mat it together (not vital but it helps). If you don’t think it is thick enough you can go over it again later. However, start with too much and it ends up looking like you have drawn it on with a felt tip. Place it on the top left of the V shape you have created and gently tack it down towards the bottom of the V shape. Top Tip: Make sure the wool is at least twice the length you need as it will be pulled into the face as you felt; you can trim it later.

3 Continue back up the V shape and leave the ends loose.

4 Use another thin strand of wool (longer than you will need) to create the line down the centre. Top Tip: Keep the wool taught with your free hand. This will help create a straight, even line and avoid a drunken grin.

5 Leave all the strands loose until you have completed the mouth.

6 As before, use a very thin strand of wool and felt along the mouth. Repeat for the other side.

Top Tip: Don’t be precious over the shape of the curve as this can be teased into shape before you finish.

7 Make sure the wool is secure before trimming and shape the mouth by gently rubbing the tip of you finger on the wool – in the centre – to pull it down slightly.

8 Your head is now ready for the eyes and that’s another easy tutorial. You can watch it Here or keep scrolling for the written tutorial.

Top Tip: Sometimes the mouth can look a little off centre or lopsided. This is easily fixed by squeezing, and moving the head in your fingers – wool is still quite pliable, even when felted – until the features straighten out.

Create fabulous features for all your needle felted creations.

How to sew eyes onto your needle felted animal

Needle felted eyes look great but I also love the sparkle and shine you get from a glass bead. I always find it funny that, when some of my students have spent hours creating their needle felted animal, they say they find sewing on the eyes the hardest part. I think it is because they seem a little bit fiddly but here is a quick way of doing it, in five minutes and four easy steps.

1 Use black thread and needle and sew through the side of the face – where your eyes will sit – and repeat a few times until your thread is secure.

2 Pop your bead onto the tip of your needle and pull it through.

3 Push your needle back through to the other side and pop on your second bead.

4 Repeat the process a few times until you can pull quite firmly on your thread, and both beads are secure. Finish by sewing through the back of the head a and cut the thread.

Free Printable – Needle Felted Mushrooms – Unlock your inner creative!

If you are ready to dip your needle felting toe into the water this super easy needle felting pattern is a great place to begin. Perfect for even the most nervous of beginners this step by step guide will have you confidently creating fabulous needle felted characters in no time. Grab your free printable below. Just click for access, no purchase or subscription necessary. 

TAKE ME TO THE FREE PRINTABLE 

If you don’t have wool or needles then a needle felting kit is the perfect way to get started. There are more than 30 to choose from on the website. All you have to do is open the box and add enthusiasm!

TAKE ME TO NEEDLE FELTING KITS

Inspiring needle felting kits for beginners and beyond

Needle Felting Video Tutorial: Sheep Ears Made Simple

A question I am often asked by new or beginner felters is how to complete the more fiddly finishing touches of a needle felting project. The small size and need for symmetry is something many struggle with when felting sheep ears, but it really doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The below video tutorial will show you all the techniques, tips, and tricks you need to create perfect sheep ears in just 15 minutes; or just 10 if you cut out the waffle.

WATCH ALL THE ‘NEEDLE FELTING FOR BEGINNERS’ VIDEO SERIES

Tiny ears are simple once armed with the right technique.

This video tutorial builds upon the written tutorial to show the entire process of creating and attaching sheep ears to your creation. If, like me, you are a visual learner and prefer to follow along with someone else, this real-time video tutorial is the one for you!

NEW VIDEO TUTORIAL

TAKE ME TO WRITTEN TUTORIAL

Create perfect ears for your needle felting projects

WATCH ALL THE ‘NEEDLE FELTING FOR BEGINNERS’ VIDEO SERIES


Little ears for mice and deer can be created using the same technique; all you change is the shape.

For needle felting kits please visit the LINCOLNSHIRE FENN CRAFTS website.

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

How to Needle Felt Sheep Ears in Ten Easy Minutes

Fast, easy and effective way to create little needle felted sheep ears.

The sheep pictured are approx 12/15cm tall.

Working small can be a bit of a faff when it comes to needle felting, and I get asked – a lot – about sheep ears. I suppose we could primp and preen for half an hour and go the long way round but, sod that, let’s do it in ten minutes instead! Yep, in ten minutes you will have a lovely set of ears to plonk on your animal. Enjoy!

Top Tip: read the top tips first on each section.

Skill Level: Complete beginners

Time to make: 10 minutes

You will need:

Felting needle (36 or 38 gauge) Kit needles are size 38

Pinch of wool top/roving or batting

Base to work on

If you haven’t made your head shape then pop over to the BASIC HEAD SHAPE video tutorial before you start the ears. Sheep needle felting kits are available on the WEBSITE

1 – Lay two 9cm (very approximate) lengths of wool top/roving or batting on your felting mat.

2 – Fold in half to form a petal shape and twist the loose ends together; we will use these to attach to the head later

3 – Use a single needle or, if you want to speed it up, wrap two or three needles together with tape or an elastic band.

4 – Start to needle felt the ‘petal’ shape by pushing your needle, backwards and forwards, through the wool in a straight line. Speed up as you become more confident. DON’T bend the needle because it will break! Use your needle to ‘fold’ over the edges to create a neat finish. Top Tip: your needle should only push through the surface of your felting mat

5 – Turn your shape by pulling gently away from the mat and continue to felt. Top Tip: I get lots of people asking why bits of foam mat ends up in their wool and it is usually because they have pushed the needle in too far, which tangles the wool fibres with the foam. It also reduces the life of your foam mat so keep turning regularly to avoid your wool sticking to your base.

6 – Continue to felt until the ear has firmed up and reduced in size. Repeat for the second ear. If you want them a bit chunkier just add more wool.

7 – Create a slight ‘bowl’ shape by pinching the ear together at the base and felting in the centre of the ear

8 – Repeat for both ears. They are now ready to be tidied up.

9 – If your ears are looking a bit fuzzy gently remove any ‘wispy’ bits with a pair of sharp scissors Top Tip: keep the blades flat so as not to cut a chunk out of the ear.

10/11 – Check that you are happy with the shape before attaching to the head Top, Top Tip: perfectionists, don’t try to get them perfectly matched. Trust me, not gonna happen and honestly, you won’t be able to tell once they are on.

12 – Find the centre point of the back of the head and felt in the base of the ear.

13 – Leave the long tail loose as we will use this to secure it even further.

14 – Repeat for the other ear, again leaving the long tail loose.

15 – Felt the loose ends under the head. Top Tip: They don’t need to be really tidy as they won’t be visible once attached to your animal.

Finally, check you are happy with the position of the ears and add your face details. For face details follow the video tutorial: CREATING CUTE ANIMAL FACES and the EASY EYES TUTORIAL

The following video tutorials are on my YouTube channel. Come and felt along with me, workshop style.

TAKE ME TO THE TUTORIAL
TAKE ME TO THE TUTORIAL
TAKE ME TO THE TUTORIAL

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

How To Use Wire For Needle Felting – Plus Mini Tutorial

I will let you into a little secret; unless you are working on big projects you really don’t need a full wire frame.

Working with a wire armature can be a little daunting, especially if you are new to needle felting and, to be honest, I find working with a full wire armature a little fiddly. I usually prefer working with a firmer shape so I tend to work more with just part armature; usually just the legs, neck or tail. It’s easy and really useful for when something needs stability or to add detail or dimension that can’t otherwise be achieved e.g the neck and legs on the flamingo, the tail and legs of the mouse and the life size ears of the Snow hare below.

Wire is used just for the neck and legs of the flamingo
Wire wrapped neck is then felted straight onto the body

Wrapping wire is really easy and can be done quite quickly and simply, but don’t be too ambitious and decide that tiny fingers and toes are going to be your first attempt. You will almost certainly set yourself up for a fail at the first hurdle and probably run for the needle felted hills. I still avoid tiny fingers and toes – if there is another option – so don’t sweat it.




Feet and tail are wire wrapped for shape and stability. The tail helps keep the mouse upright.

Instead, get used to wrapping wire and creating simple shapes. Most important is the wool and wire you use. Get those right and the task is so much easier, a lot more fun and negates the need for any messy wax or glue.

The ears of this life size Snowshoe hare were 10 inches long and the wool was wrapped around an oval wire frame, then needle felted to the head.

What wire should you use?

My favourites are floristry wire (the paper wrapped kind) or pipe cleaners. Using either of these means the wool holds really well as you wrap it around the wire and requires little felting, thus reducing the risk of broken or bent needles and no need for messy wax.

Top Tip: I like to use the old-style cotton covered pipe cleaners because the wool holds better than on the chenille kind.

Wire size/gauge – I usually opt for 0.5mm or 1mm if I’m working on something larger.

Wool

It’s all personal preference but for me it is usually wool top/roving because you can use long, continuous lengths that can be pulled really tightly around the wire, giving it a lovely smooth, neat finish. I like to use white Jacob or Shetland tops but any wool top will do.

Wax

I don’t use it unless I am wrapping tiny fingers and toes. I seem to get more on myself than the project so I avoid it if possible and find that I rarely need it anyway. That said, I know some felters who get on really well with it so it really is personal preference.

Try the mini tutorial below

Have a practice by following the tutorial below. This one is for creating Flamingo legs but the same method can be used for any felting project. If you are creating sheep or hares just continue to wrap your wool around the wire to build up the limbs.

Top Tip: This is where the majority of needles get bent or broken so take care and use the ‘softly softly’ approach.

1 Create the shape you want with your wire. I am using 0.5mm tape covered floristry wire, 24cm long which I have doubled over for strength and stability. There is no need for pliers with this gauge wire as it bends and twists easily.

Create your shape

1 Pull a thin piece of wool top/roving down the long length of your wool; it needs to be thin so it covers the wire without bulking it out.

2 Start to wrap tightly down from the top of the leg (this is to cover the wire). Tip: wrap a few times in one place at the top of the leg and rub around with your fingers to mesh the fibres together so they hold (no need for wax).

3 and 4 Wrap around the first half of the foot then pull the length of wool through the hoop.

5 Pull the loose length over the front of the foot and pull towards the back of the foot and felt gently a few times to hold it in place. Tip: I do it this way because I find it easier to cover the foot without showing any wire.

6 Continue to wrap around the foot until it is covered and felt each side.

Tip: Finish felting through the top of the foot and pull, or trim, any excess from underneath.

Your legs are now ready to attach to your creation.

Building up the legs

If you need chunkier legs, say something like mice – just continue to wrap with your wool until you are happy with the size and shape. Top Tip: always leave loose wool at the top of the wire so you can felt it to the body.

For video tutorials visit: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts on YouTube

Kits and accessories are available on the website at: Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

Making Needle Felted Mushrooms; using core wool

This tutorial uses the super easy, soft sculpture technique style of needle felting. Once you have tried it you will fall in love with its simplicity and versatility. If you want to go straight to the mushroom tutorial click below, if you want to learn a little more before you start then read on.

TAKE ME STRAIGHT TO MUSHROOM TUTORIAL

Types Of Needle Felting

There are so many wool options for needle felting that it can make the room spin but really, needle felting mostly falls into just three categories. Yes, there are more but these are the most commonly used, and all you need to be familiar with when you are just starting out.

1 Flat felting: Pictures, brooches and, in my case, really big bunny ears

Flat felting: Needle Felted Picture

2 Firm sculpture: I like to use the coarse British wool tops/roving for this style.

Firm felting: Needle felted hares with flat felted ears

3 Soft sculpture (it’s really squidgy): Uses wool batting sheets (wool that has been carded into short fibres) and core wool, which is essentially stuffing and is what you wrap your batting sheet around.

Soft needle felted sculpture: it’s really squidgy

Creating needle felted soft sculpture is so easy and there is no end to what you can create; pumpkins are my favourite and there’s a video for that too. All you need is some wool batting, core wool, a felting base (foam pad or hessian mat) or a needle felting kit.

What Is Core Wool?

I just want to quickly talk about core wool as it often causes confusion. Core wool, for soft sculpture, is like toy stuffing and you wrap the batting sheet around it. It is made up of uneven, short fibres and is a little bit lumpy; perfect for our project. It is usually the ‘scraps’ of wool that can’t be used for firm felting or spinning, is cheaper than wool tops/roving and is mostly white or grey.

Five minute tutorial Here’s a quick guide to making a mushroom cap with core wool at the centre. This only takes around five minutes or you can watch the video tutorial which also works alongside the, ‘Shroom With A View’ needle felting kit.

1 Scrunch the core wool firmly into the shape of a bread roll and hold the centre to keep in place. Use your felting needle in a straight in and out motion (around the sides) to secure the shape. TIP: It doesn’t matter if the shape is uneven or untidy because the whole piece will soon be covered. Continue turning and felting the whole piece for a few minutes until you have your rough shape and size; it will be really squidgy, quite loose and won’t be a perfect shape.

2 Lay your wool batting sheet on your felting pad and put your core wool in the centre. Pull the batting sheet firmly around your core wool and felt into the centre.

3 Gather the batting firmly towards the centre, so it doesn’t have any sags, and felt in place. Pull away any excess. Top Tip: Only felt in the centre as this will keep the top and sides of your mushroom free of needle marks.

4 Your finished ‘shroom cap ready for it’s spots and maybe a chimney or two.

4

Take Me To Full Mushroom Turorial

The possibilities are endless Once you have learned this quick and easy technique you will soon be making, well anything and every thing you want; enchanted gardens, pumpkins, ‘shrooms, snowmen. The list goes on and on and I am still trying to give away the mountain of pumpkins I made last year.

Supplies If you don’t have any wool or needles then they can all be found on the website, alongside the ‘Shroom With A View and Honey Pot Cottage needle felting kits. TAKE ME TO WEBSITE

TAKE ME TO PUMPKIN TUTORIAL

Click for hedgehog tutorial

If you are brand new to needle felting then pop over to the essential blog post for beginners: THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF NEEDLE FELTING

Happy creating x

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts

We need craft therapy, now more than ever!

For the first time in my 51 years I am suffering from, what I can only assume, is anxiety. I am usually pretty chilled and my glass is almost always half full. Yet, my stomach is in knots, I can’t switch off, my heart is constantly fluttering, I’m frequently feeling overwhelmed, and fight or flight mode is firmly in the ‘on’ position. I’m worried for those who are going to suffer terrible financial hardships over the coming year and for the kids where school is a safe haven and a place where they get most, if not all of their nutrition. Ring any bells? Well of course it does. It is a universal feeling and we are all suffering – to one extent or another – the same emotions. Much of what we take for granted will be out of reach for some time and many of us (myself included) have the added worry of close, immediate family members and friends who are very vulnerable with serious health conditions. We are entering difficult times, in uncharted territory, and need to find our own coping mechanisms to help us navigate the next few months and beyond.
So here’s the thing. We all know how to stay safe but staying sane is another matter. Many of us will be isolated and often lonely over the coming months and crafts, now more than ever, will provide us with much needed respite and allow us to switch off, for a little while at least. For lots of us crafts and the creative community will become our online ‘tribe’ and take on a much more important role. Creativity is so important for our mental health, especially as we hunker down for the long haul.
I had a discussion with a very close friend about how I was feeling and her advice was to keep creating and continue to share it with others, as I have for the last six years. So, to that end, I will continue to add tutorials to YouTube and the blog whenever I can. I may even do a Facebook live if that’s something you might enjoy. It’s also a time to refocus and prioritise and this is just my, very small contribution. If there is any aspect of needle felting you are struggling with, even if it’s the confidence to get started, then just pop over to my Facebook page and message me or pop a question in this FaceBook post. Even if I’m not around (or don’t have the answers), there are lots of knowledgeable and talented crafters on there (some I have been in contact with creatively for a long while) able to share their own creative advice or just give you the boost you need to get going. What you definitely won’t see from me is lots of ‘positive vibes’ quotes. It’s not my bag (I have always found my sense of dark, dry humour to be the best remedy) and it will get very old very quickly, oftentimes diminishing the problems we are facing. Nobody wants a barrage of ‘you got this’ or ‘keep calm and carry on’ when calm is the last thing we are feeling. However, social media really is about to come into its own so let’s bolster and support each other as much as we can and continue to use our creative social media community for the greater good.

YouTube tutorial links are below and kits and supplies available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website and Etsy but all you need is a handful of wool, a felting needle and a cuppa.
Stay safe and big love
Sandy xxx

This way for craft therapy video tutorials

Est. 2013
© 2013 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts