You saw those 2 big bags of fiber that I purchased from the Brown Sheep Company at the Yarn Fest last weekend. I’ve been having a lot of fun with them practicing my needle-felting skills.
When I took the class in January at TNNA with Jackie Huang he handed out thick felt pads for us to use while working on our projects. He said he had begun using those in his own work because the foam pads broke down too quickly when doing lots of needling to create flat pieces. Also the wool is better for the environment than all the plastics used to make the foam.
When I got home from that trip one of the first things I did was work on making my own felted pad. I started with some wool material that I had left over from felting old sweaters. Then I wrapped odds and ends of wool roving that I had in my stash around the square I had made. Didn’t take long before I had used up all the wool roving. That’s when I got the bright idea of asking the Brown Sheep folks to bring 4 pounds of fiber down for me to purchase at Yarn Fest.
One of the first things I did when I opened the bag was begin to add to my “pad” and felt it with my Clover 5-needle tool. I’ve gotten my big pad quite firm and filled out now, so I’ve begun to make smaller ones that I can bring to share with students when eventually I start teaching.
The little pads are also great for perfecting my needle-felting techniques. I’ve learnt a lot just working on them and it gave me the courage to tackle something different.
I had heard of using cookie cutters as “molds” for needle-felting, and I dug around in my cookie cutter supplies for a few that I could re-purpose. Every since I had to switch to a gluten-free diet I have not been making many cookies. My cookie cutters are plastic and because the needle might scratch or nick the surface of the plastic, I will not be returning these 5 cutters to my kitchen tools.
I decided to start with the bunny cookie cutter.
I filled it with wool fluff and using my 3-needle tool to secure it once and a while.
Then I switched to a single needle to work more on getting some shaping in place.
Once I removed the cookie cutter you can see the shape I had.
I carefully removed the shape from my pad and you can see how flat the back is.
I then had the brain storm of making a reverse image of the bunny so I could join the 2 pieces together to make a 3D bunny sculpture/toy. Puzzled over this for a moment then had an “Ah-ha!” moment when I realized I could use the cookie cutter from either side since I wasn’t needing to actually cut anything.
I filled and formed the other half of my bunny, then placed the two with flat sides together and carefully used my single needle to join them. I was pleased I managed that without poking myself. Things did get a little involved with adding to the bunny to fill out the shape of the body, head and legs. I also cut the ears away from the body and added some wool to soften the cut area.
Finally I had a little natural wool bunny.
Next I wanted to add color to my bunny. So I spread bits of colored wool roving on the surface of the bunny, then needled them to secure them. He still needed a nose and mouth.
I added the nose and mouth, as well as a bit more shaping to his head. I also detailed his eyes more.
Last of all was adding more fluff to his cotton tail.
Though this experiment worked out, I don’t know that I would make another using this same method. But it is all a learning process. I think the cookie cutters would be really good for making 3D images on a flat surface like a pillow or bag.
I’ll keep on experimenting and learning. This is definitely getting addictive. I’ve ordered more needle-felting tools and will be sharing my thoughts on them later this Summer.