Well what a blast this live workshop was, recorded in all it’s festive glory for you to enjoy. From his pointy ears to his massive snozzle, every part of this project is an absolute seasonal delight.
Believe it or not this gorgeous pointy eared gnome is a perfect project for everyone, even complete beginners. Learn all my needle felting tips and quick wins to create a project that looks like it was made by an expert needle felter, and in less than 90 minutes!
Scroll down for video tutorial.
It is small enough to pop in a dome, hang from your tree, or create a festive gnome garland. I have just received a photo on my Facebook page where they have even been made as little place settings for the dinner table; how Christmas cool is that? However you display yours, you will have so much fun creating them so, time to grab your wool and needles and get making.
With his festive hat askew, funny ears and big nose, it is obvious he is just waiting for mischief around every corner , even the Grinch couldn’t resist him!
It’s often hard to find your confidence when you start needle felting, even harder if you haven’t done any crafting before, so tackling those fears is the first hurdle. The second hurdle is finding a good tutorial and materials guide that will give you the best chance of success. I can help with both of those things but you have the most important job, and that’s allowing yourself to be a beginner. And, as sure as eggs is eggs, if you don’t allow yourself a period of ‘learning’ grace you are setting yourself to fail. In fact, you have to get it wrong in order to succeed and believe me, when it comes to needle felting success comes very quickly.
FEAR OF FAILURE
When you think to yourself, I’ve failed’ simply change the statement to ‘I have learned’ and see how that self doubt just falls away. Changing the mindset that makes you way too hard on yourself is the most important thing you will learn when it comes to learning a new craft, and also in many other aspects of our life.
FEAR OF WHAT OTHERS WILL THINK
Another potential problem is worrying what others will say and, the truth is, they will probably be super impressed that you are learning a new skill. If not then the problem is probably their own self confidence and lack of courage to try something new themselves. Ask yourself who you are doing it for? The answer should always be you! If you really struggle then don’t show your felt creations to anyone until you feel ready, and then not at all if that is how you feel. You are doing this for you and no one else and, before long, you will find people wanting you to make something for them, or even better, having a go themselves.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF CRAFTS
Anxiety, loneliness, isolation and depression have never been more prevalent than they are in today’s society, and with good reason; a global pandemic, climate change, rising prices, job insecurity, fear for our kids, caring for others, the list goes on and on… But, amidst all of that, the world is still full of great people and creativity. If we just prescribed ourselves some craft therapy on a regular basis then everything will feel calmer, more grounded, safer. And, if that is just for the time you are involved in something that distracts you from the daily stresses and strains it will allow you to go about your day in a much better state of mind. If not needle felting then a jigsaw, sewing, growing house plants, gardening, reading, knitting, colour by numbers, in fact anything that requires your undivided attention. Even though it can be hard it is so important to create a little time to focus on yourself, even if only for half an hour. And fortunately needle felting is incredibly portable so, if you can’t find a quiet space or the household won’t leave you alone, I have often found the loo to be a good alternative. As I said, needle felting is very portable 😉
ARE YOU READY TO START NEEDLE FELTING NOW?
Let’s get going. The video tutorial below is an introduction to creating a really simple shape that will become the most important technique you will learn when first starting needle felting. It can be made in just 5-10 minutes and will act as the structure, or scaffolding for the rest of your project. My tutorials are very workshop style and are the nearest thing to one of my in person classes. Simplicity and speed are the cornerstone of all my tutorials and I am always looking for new techniques to help improve your needle felting journey as well as give you the confidence to fall in love with this craft as much as I have. I have added links for the playlist that will teach you how to complete hares, sheep, mice, foxes, badgers, gnomes and too many to mention, with ease. You just need to be enthusiastic and willing to learn.
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.
Use a good coarse wool top or, as I have done with mine, use carded wool in long lengths.
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
The needle felting kit, wool and accessories can be found on the Lincolnshire Fenn CraftsWEBSITEand the kit comes with everything you need including the lovely antique style ruffle.
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
Scroll to the bottom of the page to join the LFC Felt Club so you don’t miss any new tutorials.
Make time: 90 minutes
Skill level: Easy
I have had lots of requests for needle felted picture ideas, picture kits and a project of the month so I am kicking June off with all three. If you already have the wool then you can watch the video below. North Sea Coast is inspired by my Yorkshire upbringing, not far from the coast, and my dear dad with his roots along the Humber. Those of you familiar with the North Sea Coast will know not to expect golden sands and palm trees. The North Sea is moody and has real attitude which is what I have tried to convey in this project; slightly abstract and full of texture! However, this is just my take on it so feel free to add artistic licence, and a palm tree or two, if that’s the vibe you want. There’s no rules and it’s your project, not mine, so just go for it!
If you don’t have any wool, fibres or needles you can SHOP HERE on the website for them.
YOU WILL RECEIVE:
A complete wool pack with all the wool, silk fibres, plant dyed art yarn and embellishments you see in the photographs, as well as a piece of Shetland pure wool felt which will be the base of your picture. This also includes a downloadable and printable pattern. The accompanying video is also available so if you are a complete beginner, or don’t need any wool or fibres, you can felt along with me. I may also do a Facebook live if time allows so we can hang out in real time.
It really doesn’t matter. I have used a piece of Shetland pre-felt approximately 25cm x 25cm but have also used a much smaller piece to pop in a frame. I can also see this on the front of a greetings card to sell or just give to the besties in your life. Any piece of flat felt will work as a canvas for your picture, just make sure it has a good amount of wool in it and isn’t just acrylic felt.
I know you are going to love this project so make sure you SUBSCRIBE BELOW to join the LFC Felt Club.
See the full range of needle felting kits, punch needle kits, accessories and handmade items over at the WEBSITE
Meet the family. Well, some of them…
Over 40 carefully and lovingly designed needle felting kits to choose from. Each kit is a complete starter kit and so, contains everything you need including detailed instructions, lots of colour photographs, an actual size template as your size guide, quality wool (mostly British) and everything you need to complete each project. Kits are suitable for absolute beginners and advanced beginners.
No sewing. No wires. No glue. No stuffing. Open the box and get started… All you need to add is a little patience and enthusiasm!
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.
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?
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
2 – ‘Draw’ a line around the triangle with your needle to create a very rough outline
3 – Remove template and draw around the line a couple more times. This will be your fold line.
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!
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.
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.
7 – Keep repeating the process until it starts to firm up.
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.
9 – Your approx finished triangle which should be soft but firm and holds its shape.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
4 – Flatten the base until it sits without wobbling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
2 Firm sculpture: I like to use the coarse British wool tops/roving for this style.
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.
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.
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
Hedgehog needle felting kits are available on the Website
So excited to introduce Colin Hedgehog, the prickliest member of the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts tribe. The full needle felting kit to accompany this video is also available on the Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts website.
This is my version of our beloved hedgehog. More fun than you can shake a stick at? Not sure what that means but it is definitely a lot of fun.
Skill level: Complete beginners to intermediate
What you need: Enthusiasm!
So, make a cuppa, cut yourselves a slice of cake and join me for a full tutorial teaching you new tips, tricks and techniques as well as trying new wool and needles.
Bonus! if you are using the kit you get to make at least 3 Colin hedgehogs! What better way to spend a crafternoon…
Herdwick three ways. My favourite sheep. Natural, sustainable and completely biodegradable; what more do you want from a craft…
Have a fabulous week everyone and always remember that crafts are the perfect, instant respite when the stresses and strains of daily life start to get on top of you. So, today is officially my ‘Crafts As Therapy’ Monday. Failing that, just read a few Winnie The Pooh quotes; if that doesn’t work then we are all doomed and should stay in bed for the rest of our lives…
“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” —Winnie-the-Pooh
Use the basic shapes video or tutorial to make the head and body then be as creative as you like. Sheep are the easiest way to start needle felting and you don’t even need to add the legs: BASIC SHAPE VIDEO