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