I already possess a bag of washed wool straight from the sheep…why not try needle felting. Scoring an inexpensive starter kit at Michael’s–with the 40% off one item coupon–was a major motivator. Now I owned two felting needles and a small block of plastic foam for my felting mat. I also bought a small amount of black wool for an accent color. My first project? Since I am a lover of all things “sheep,” why not try a wool lamb. After all, it is the Easter season.
My materials above are: the model lamb, plain wool, colored wool for details, needle felting needle and mat. Finding a picture or form to use as a model is key. I used a tiny little farm lamb with defined angles and a sweet face.
I began by forming an oblong ball and piercing it over and over again on the mat compacting it into felt. As it became smaller, I kept adding layers until it was the right size–larger than my model. My toy lamb is far too small for a novice. This is what it looked like with the body and 4 legs.
It wasn’t too late at this point to turn it into a polar bear, but I forged on. The legs must be heavily compacted to hold the body upright. Just keep punching.
After forming a tail and flat pointed ears and punching them onto the body, here is what the lamb looks like. I also added black for hooves and eyes and a touch of red for her mouth. Punching into the body to define muscles and knee joints on the legs adds a lot of realism. I may also bring up the knap on her body to make her look more fleecy.
Now I’m working on an Easter duck. Someone suggested using a cookie cutter for the body form. Using the cookie cutter below, I ended up with a rubber ducky duck. Too cute! I forgot to tell you…make the basic forms from bulk plain wool then just add a surface color for a natural, mottled look. Mixing colors also adds a realistic touch, like adding shading to an oil painting.
Yes, I do have needle pricks on my fingers. It is easy to get carried away and forget to watch where I am punching. Ouch. Ouch. But I’m getting better. Needle felting is very rewarding, for beginners and masters of the art.