Improve Your Needle Felting Techniques

Parsley hare is one of my favourite hare designs and, with a touch of whimsy and a dash of folk art, you can’t fail to be charmed by him. This is such a great project that is perfect if you want to build on your existing needle felting skills. It’s a project that requires some previous experience of needle felting and assumes you have completed at least two beginners needle felting projects.

The ‘Magic’ Tool

Everything is made around a wooden skewer (apart from the ears) and is the tool that no self respecting needle felter should be without. If you haven’t used one before it is a complete needle felting revelation and you will wonder how you ever managed without one. It is also a great way to make perfect needle felted balls and acorn shapes in just three minutes.

Banish Saggy Legs Forever

Using the wooden BBQ skewer negates the need for using wire but still ensures that you have really firm body parts.

Create A Perfect Finish

Using this technique also allows you to get great symmetry, with ease, and a beautifully smooth finish. You can also create a perfectly shaped head every time, no lumps or bumps.

The Wool

Use a good coarse wool top or, as I have done with mine, use carded wool in long lengths.

Materials List:

  • Coarse brown wool top or long carded lengths
  • White accent wool
  • 1 Felting needle – size 38 is a good all rounder
  • 1 Wooden skewer
  • 2 Beads for eyes
  • Lace ruffle
  • Felting mat

The needle felting kit, wool and accessories can be found on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts WEBSITE and the kit comes with everything you need including the lovely antique style ruffle.

Video Tutorials

Below are five step by step, easy to follow video tutorials. If you prefer to work with written instructions the pattern is also available for instant download HERE

Happy Felting!

Video Introduction

 

Video 1 – Body And Head

Video 2 – Legs

Video 3 – Ears

Video 4 – Putting It Together

Learn to needle felt a Highland Cow

So excited to tell you that Heather The Highland Cow Needle Felting Kit is now available on the website. Over  3,500 words, 90 full colour photographs, lots of different techniques and a whole load of Highland, what’s not to love. If you don’t need the tools it is also available as a wool refill pack.
You will learn how to create long fur, wrap wire around pipe cleaners for perfect shaped legs and stability, build up the head and body to create that typical highland chunkiness and create those beautiful finishing touches. Every part is needle felted and no need for any glue. It’s just you, your needle and lush British wool. BTW, the wool topcoat is a Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts specially dyed Shetland, only available from yours truly; not to orange and not too brown.

VIDEO TUTORIAL – Links below.

Not only that, but the full video tutorial is now live on my YouTube channel and it is epic and no needle felted stone has been left unturned. Just grab your wool and felting need and join me on YouTube for a workshop style tutorial. It’s in 6 parts so you can work methodically with me through each step. I have put them in a playlist so each step starts after the previous, working towards the finale of the fabulous top coat!

Highland Cow video tutorials; parts 1-6

I always approach a new kit and video tutorial as if the person using it has never heard of needle felting and is new to crafts making it accessible to as many people as possible. And, let’s face it, crafts now more than ever are a great coping mechanism when life gets a little too much. So add some creativity to your list of self care tools. All my video tutorials are free so if you have a handful of wool and a felting needle just find a project and make something, if only to lighten the mental load for a while. 

Before and after. Ta-Da!!!

COMING SOON!

Two more needle felting kits and video tutorials; whimsical hare and forest folk. I can’t wait!

Stay safe and happy felting x

Using wire for needle felting

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

TAKE YOUR PROJECT UP A CREATIVE NOTCH

See how using paper covered floristry wire can take a project to the next level. I have used wire only for the legs and tail on this fabulous cat; a happy accident who started life as a mouse. Because the wire is paper covered the wool sticks to it really well. No need for messy wax. For a super smooth finish just roll firmly between the palms of your hands. You can also dip the pieces in hot water before rolling firmly for an even firmer finish.

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 cotton covered 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. Look for the tobacconist kind as the wool sticks to these better than the chenille ones. They are also a lot cheaper than the craft ones.

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

Needle Felted Maine Coon Cat

I was beyond excited when my good friend and talented artist, Nancy Sullivan, agreed to be a guest on the blog and put together a needle felting tutorial for you all. What I wasn’t prepared for though was an advanced tutorial that is so detailed that I have yet to see anything to match it. This beautiful life-size version of her own cat, Scout, has taken many, many, many hours to complete and is beautifully written in Nancy’s typically charming and funny way. Whilst it is a very advanced tutorial, Nancy’s writing style and presentation still make it easy to understand as she skillfully and seamlessly moves you from one section to the next, introducing techniques I have never seen used.  Thank you so much for all your hard work, time and generosity Nancy xxx

COPYRIGHT LAW APPLIES!

YOU MUST NOT:

  • Copy and sell/promote this tutorial as your own
  • Share the link and password for this tutorial on any social media, Facebook groups or via any other forms of communication
  • Print tutorial for use at workshops
  • Tutorial is for personal use only and cannot be used for any other purpose

However, sharing photographs of your sculpture on social media, Facebook groups and giving as gifts is acceptable but please make sure to credit your source of information and inspiration.

Failure to comply with the above would be viewed as copyright infringement. 

All link content on this post is the property of Nancy Sullivan.
All content appearing on this blog is the property of:
Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts
Copyright © 2019 Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts. All rights reserved.

 

About The Artist

My name is Nancy Sullivan. I was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in
1950, moved to New York in 1988, and have been here in Southern
California since 2002. Yes, I am 68 years old!
My interest in art began in the 2nd grade when my teacher told my mother
that I had talent. Because of that, my parents worked hard to give me as
many opportunities for special art student programs as were available
through my youth. Later, in high school, I entered a statewide competition
in Oklahoma and won the first place prize, a small scholarship for college.
Since then I have managed to work art into everything I do.
I started working in Medicine at age 26, and before long my first
“secretarial” job included working in eye surgery, designing and editing
medical publications and doing medical illustrations of surgical techniques
and graphically presenting research results for journals, textbooks, and
international medical symposia. My mentors paved the way for me to
attend workshops and special courses in anatomy and illustration. I was
very fortunate to be able to create a situation where I could get this
education as a part of my job. I also had the opportunity to attend and
observe human head and neck dissections with Ophthalmology Residents.
I also designed training manuals for non-medical employees so they would
understand the basics of ophthalmology.
I learned the most about anatomy from Joseph Sheppard, a celebrated
sculptor and painter from Baltimore, who now lives in Italy. His training
and publications gave me the knowledge to take my work to a higher level
of accuracy. He teaches drawing human figures from the skeleton out –
which is exactly how I approach the animals that I needle felt.

nancy life drawing

Needle felting is only the most recent of a life-long progression of crafts
that I have enjoyed practicing. It started with making “outfits” for my
Barbie doll when I was very young, which evolved into making my own
clothes when I got a bit older. I used to make plastic car models with my
oldest brother when we were young, and he was meticulous with tiny
details, which seemed to rub off on me. My Grandmother encouraged me
to take up quilt-making, which I did for many years with her, and
continued to do on my own after she died.
In my career, most of my “craft” involved technical illustration, but I still
managed to do some quilting and other projects on the weekends. While
in New York, I was exposed to the most wonderful variation of arts and
crafts, attending shows and Museum exhibits as often as I possibly could.
I was surrounded with inspiration from all kinds of art and music.
The best time I’ve had has been since retiring, being able to choose how I
spend my time – I have taken up genealogy of my family and created
many volumes of information and images, and “scrapbooks” to be handed
down to future generations. Paper crafts have taken over the landscape of
my life, since there is no limit to the creativity you can translate into
tangible pieces you can hold in your hands and share with others. Stained
glass was also very exciting and rewarding. Recently I have enjoyed doing
hand-bound books; stamping, mixed media and watercolor remain some
of my favorite crafts. I make hand-crafted gifts for Christmas each year,
and design greeting cards for all occasions.

I’d like to share with you some words that I have learned are true
enough to live by, and they are certainly relevant when you think of
how our artistic endeavors can enhance our enjoyment of life… the
older you get, the more meaningful these words become!

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief
requirements of life, when all that we need to make us
really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley

Thanks to Sandy at Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts, I have added needle
felting to my growing list of interests, and enjoy it more than
anything else I have done – wool sculpture – it’s the best!
All these artistic endeavors have enriched my life enormously, and I
am very pleased to have this opportunity of sharing that with you.

TAKE ME TO THE TUTORIAL: Needle Felting a Maine Coon Cat Advanced Tutorial – By Nancy Sullivan February 2019

nancy maine coon 6