Needle felted badger

Well I started this badger ages ago, and had got as far as making the basic body shape and the head shape. Last night I had fun adding stripes, nose, ears and eyes; connecting the head to the body; making and adding legs; and making the tail and covering him with a loose layer of wool.

Overall I’m really pleased with how he’s turned out, although his legs aren’t as sturdy as i’d like them to be. But seeing as he won’t be played with I think they’ll be fine. I could have felted them more but then they’d have been really thin and I’d have had to add more wool.

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Needle felting

This morning I went to gloucestershire arts and crafts centre for a needle felting course run by Sue Smith of serisilks. When we arrived there were two needle felted animals on the table.

We all decided we wanted to make a hedgehog, so we got to work.

Sue showed us how to make a wire frame using some prefelted wire and a pipe cleaner.

Then we gradually built up layers of merino wool to create a core.

Once we were happy with the shape we covered the core with a layer of wool from a bat,

and then we added the detail of the eyes, nose and mouth.

It was fun to see the hedgehogs taking on a bit of character at this point.

Once I started adding his prickles we realised he looked quite good in normal hedgehog pose, rather than sitting up which was what I’d been going for originally.

The final stage was adding feet, and he was ready to come out and pose by the cathedral.

It was so lovely to start and finish a project in one session, and I’m hoping it’s given me enough confidence to complete the needle felt badger I started ages ago and never finished!

Thank you sue for your help. It was a really fun morning.

My finished blue tit

Here’s my blue tit wall hanging, in situ. 

I’m so pleased with how this has turned out. I spent an hour with sue on  tuesday, cutting round the edges and then cutting out the background sections between the leaves. I love how doing that has made it feel complete, and with even more depth. 

Sue was really complimentary about my work, especially given that I’d never done any needle felting before. I held it up next to some of her work and was so proud of myself as I’d never thought i could produce anything as good as this. Sue said she’d never suggested anyone work on  a wall hanging like this before as it would be too tricky and take too long, and I’m very grateful that she didn’t say that at the beginning or  try to persuade me to make something else instead. It’s taken a total of about 7 hours of work in the workshops and at home in between, but it’s definitely been worth it. 

Unfortunately there is only one more felting workshop, which i can’t get to, and then i need to wait for the summer for the next lot of them. So I’m already thinking about other things to try out. Top of my list is a blacksmith workshop for a day! It’s rather expensive but i have money from Christmas presents that I’ll use for it. I’ve also got two needle felting kits at home to make a badger and a fawn. I’m nervous about those as I’m not sure I’ll get the shaping right, but if it all goes wrong on one then i guess I’ll learn from that and improve on  the second. I’m also working on a secret crochet project that I’ll blog about when it’s done. It’s going to take a while to finish though as it’s big, so I’m spending quite a lot of time on that at the moment instead of doing other things. 

Blue tit wall hangingĀ 

This is where my wall hanging started off this evening. I needed to do some more work on it before going back to see sue tomorrow. I’m not sure why i hadn’t  worked on it earlier this week, maybe just because it was a really tiring week in work and i had no energy when i got home. But today, after a relaxing time in a spa this morning i was ready to add finishing touches to my picture, with classic fm as my background music. 

I started by filling in gaps with ivy branches. Initially i was frustrated because i was needle felting them  on to the background and they didn’t look right when i just used the needle down the edges, but then i tried needling down the middle as well and was happier with the overall effect as it looked more textured. 

I’m not sure why i was so focused on this given that  loads of it was going to get covered with leaves, but i guess it was good to work on a non prominent part of the picture first. I was pleased when i got the ivy branches on  the wall to stand  out a bit more by needling more down the edges, and i did the same for the bricks to pull them out from the mortar effect behind. I also cut into the milk bottle lid so it would look like the bird had broken through. 

Then i spent quite a while looking for the nicest parts of my green felt and cutting out more ivy leaves and trying to add these in a non uniform way. 

Again i experimented with different ways of needle felting them on, keeping some  flat, and bulging others out, and leaving some parts of the leaves free from the backing felt, though i thought these looked a bit too artificial and tended to catch most of them in with the needle. After adding veins to some of  the other leaves, and breaking all but three of the needles sue had given me i decided i’d better bite the bullet and actually work on the blue tit. 

I kept referring back to the photo i was using and adding extra bits of colour and detail (though now i realise i ended up using two different photos from this page!). I’m so glad it’s possible to pull felt off if you’re not happy with it…. I did that a few times! It was fun trying to make fluffy bits round his tail and legs. I wasn’t sure about the fact that the more i needle felted on  his face  the more it seemed to flatten, but when i step back from it and look at it as a whole i think it still works. 

Finally i decided i needed to leave well alone and stop fiddling with adding more. So after just over two hours this evening my wall hanging has progressed from this 

To this 

I love how even though the blue tit is a really small part of the picture he really stands our because of his colours and where he is in the picture. He’s not lost amongst the leaves. 

We’ll see what advice Sue  has on finishing it all off tomorrow.