A pair of robins

On Friday I taught a needle felted bird workshop and we decided to make a Robin. It’s so easy to become obsessed when needle felting and to not want to stop working .  You could have cut the concentration with a knife as these two perky creatures were created.

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Vicky and Anne did very well with their first attempts at needle felting birds, even managing very good wire feet. We had a little time left and they chose to have a go at making quick needle felted creatures.

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This cheeky little thing sticking it’s tongue out is by Vicky.

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And this rather sad looking individual is by Anne. Aren’t they cute.

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Can you see what it is yet?

The stages of creating a 3D needle felted object in pictures.

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Have you guessed yet?

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What about now?

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My first attempt at a Hawfinch, I hope you enjoyed the pics.

Needle felted birds

Needle felting is a fun method of felt making and lends itself very well to creating birds.

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Start with a basic bird shape and then  begin to add some markings.

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They don’t have to be true markings just use your imagination.

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It looks quite sweet in the garden

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I’ve just used dark wool for eyes on this bird but you could easily use glass beads.

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Why not try it for yourself, there’s still spaces on the workshop next week.

 

Birds

Last time I went shopping with Mum I was depressed to see so much Christmas stuff in the shops already but it led to a conversation about what we like to see on our tree. Mum really likes birds in the tree so when we recently got together with Charlotte I had an idea that we could make some birds.

I took along some scraps of felt, fibres and felting needles. The birds were cut free hand and then decorated.

We made these in a couple of hours.

The top one and the orange one are versions of peacocks. Mum decided she didn’t want these on her tree so I thought they’d make a great garland.

It kept Grandma and Granddaughter quiet for a while.

Flames

Flames are very much on my mind at the moment. This year, the theme for Felt United is flames and Tracy Markey and I are arranging an exhibition around flames and the sun to coincide with the day. So it’s no surprise that when I came across this remnant from a previous project in my cupboard, I immediately thought phoenix.

The basic bird shape is good but obviously the colouration is completely wrong for a phoneix. So my first move was to transform it with flame.

I find it much easier to concentrate on shape when I’m not distracted by colour or pattern. Now the bird is a uniform  colour I can see the changes I’d like to make to the shape with the most change being in the tail area. This is as far as I’ve got so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to see morre but I will show you as soon as I do it.

Something a bit different?

This seems like something different to what I normally produce but perhaps you won’t think so. Inspired by the glass and rusty nail ring I made two days ago, I thought it time to get on and use this rusty heart which has been awaiting my attention for Oh so long!

Originally it was intended to hold fat balls for the birds but the wind was always ripping it off the tree, I tired of hunting for it in the shrubs and set it aside to do something with. It’s been set aside for about a year but yesterday was the day I had an idea. I’ve lots of felt balls (waiting!), a rusty bell garland (also waiting! it was a new year bargain), a surplus bird (waiting! it was a sample from a commission), some newly died rug yarn and some leftover Teeswater curls.

I cut up the garland and hung it from the heart doubling the overall length. Somehow, just doing that makes it feel more of a statement art piece. Rust is orange / brown in colour so looks perfect with blue and I had some turquoise blue rug yarn. Silently thanking Yvonne for the suggestion to put some weaving in the heart, I used the rug yarn to warp up the shoulders and then wove the Teeswater curls through it. A few curls were tied on but I haven’t made the weaving solid as I want it to have holes and texture. Not sure if I should add some yarns through here, too just to give even more texture – opinions?

The bird was way too brown so I sat and couched on a fancy yarn in turquoise in my favourite flowing scroll shapes. Blue cap, throat and eyes completed the bird which I then needed to attach to the heart. The bird is too solid to push the spike into so I covered the spike base with an unfinished brooch layer (yes, it was waiting!), glued on some balls to cover the spike and glued the bird to the balls. Sort of looks like it’s on a nest of blue eggs doesn’t it?

I attached three blue balls to the bells below the heart and was very happy to find a turquoise ball the perfect size for the hole at the top. Sometimes, it’s just meant to be. I’d like to put this in the garden but we’re in a very windy spot and it just wouldn’t survive so for now it will hang in the dining room as soon as I get a ceiling hook.

3D Figures

I don’t do a lot of needle felting as it tends to set off my repetitive strain injury which is never helped by the fact that I get obsessional about needle felting. I know it can be done over several days but I always end up needling away for hours because I can’t bear to stop before it’s finished. My latest project is probably my best and I thought I’d share a few examples with you.

The bird shapes are nice to create but I most enjoyed needling the pattern onto the black one – that was fun. I made Neptune ages ago and thought he needed a mate so here’s my new mermaid.

The size isn’t right is it? perhaps I should have looked at Neptune before I began the mermaid but never mind she has a certain charm. Overall I think I’m most pleased with my latest project.

She’s been named the old crone by the family and we think she’s lovely. I couldn’t get the hands as I wanted them so I gave her an apple and a stick to take attention elsewhere. Methinks she needs some company – any ideas? It’s much easier to do features on larger dolls. Can you guess what this doll is based around? – a leftover yarn cone. Good use of materials eh? For anyone fancying a go at a needle felted figure I have a workshop on Saturday 6th November and there are still spaces left.

Reject? – Not any more

A little while ago I was busy making felt Marsh Harriers for a commission. The black bird below was a prototype to allow me to assess the shape and how well the finished item would stand up to the proposed educational use.

I thought it seemed a shame to hide it at the back of a cupboard and had the bright idea of recycling it into a decorated bird. As I’d already wet felted it there was no chance of adding more fibres on that way so I have been busy with needlefelting.

I’ve really enjoyed playing with it. The lines of pink I adore and over all it has something of an indian influence I think. When I have more time it needs to be mounted or hung so it can be admired from all angles. There are still two more rejects to play with but it may be some time before I get to them.

Just the rejects

Sometimes I seem to have a sieve for a memory. Today, I delivered the male and female Marsh Harriers, which were well received by RSPB Leighton Moss and which should be out and about in schools next week But, I FORGOT to take photos of the finished items! I have asked the nice people at the RSPB to send some to me which I hope to show you next week. What I can show you is shots of the two birds which I rejected, mainly because they’re bigger than the size I’d been asked to make.

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You’ll have to excuse my fingers in the shots I wasn’t sure how else to show them and take photos at the same time. As they’re actually quite good birds I think perhaps I should try and recycle them by changing them into ‘arty’ Marsh Harriers e.g. adapting tails, putting a crest on the head, covering it in circles. So if you have any suggestions of how I mght do that please post your comments here. I’ll choose a suggestion and see how far I can change the bird.

Obsessed with birds

I’ve been working away on the marsh harriers for the last few days and I’m defnitely getting obsessed. I made the prototype in black to help me see the shape and practice my technique. Then I did it in browns with wire in the wings. If that wasn’t enough I’ve done the female twice more since then. Nothing wrong with the finished items I just couldn’t get the size small enough.

On Saturday, I started the birds again. One of my main worries has been the shade of brown to use, every image I look at seems to show it differently. But, at long last, I decided on the shades and got on with it. I cut the wires, blended the colours and needlefelted the shape ready for wet felting. Yesterday I wet felted and finalised the shape of the birds and left them to dry.

This morning I should be attaching them to gloves ready for presenting tomorrow. So, do you think I’m doing that? NO. Instead I’m needlefelting the male some more as I’m not happy with the head shape. I really hope this works because I don’t want to start again. Any more practice runs and I’ll have a flock. Plus, it really does need to be finished and dried today or I’m up the creek without a paddle. Wish me luck, I’ll show you the pictures later.