As Queen Marie mentioned on Saturday, she decided she wanted us to make each other our birthday gifts this year. When she suggested it, I was a little perplexed as, bless her heart, Queen Marie is not entirely good with her hands, shall we say. But she seemed certain she wanted homemade gifts, so I agreed.
I actually usually make her a birthday gift along with her bought gifts anyway, so making things is nothing new for me. Usually I make a piece of jewellery or a headpiece of some description, which I can find very easy, so this time I wanted to do something completely different. After much deliberation, I decided to try my hand at needle felting. I had no clue at all what was involved but wanted to give it a shot anyway.
There seems to be 2 different kinds of needle felting; the kind where you have a flat piece of fabric and you needle felt onto it, and the more complex kind where you create a 3D object. Naturally, I opted for the second kind.
This tutorial on Youtube, shows you the basic principles of needle felting.
This one shows you how making a needle felted animal.
After much consideration, I decided I wanted to make her a hare.
I bought kit on Etsy, which gave me the special needle required, wool and a sponge and some diagrams on how to do it.
Whilst I was in Aberdeen, with lots of time to kill, I began to create my little hare. The box said it would take a beginner around 8 hours to complete, but I managed to complete my hare in 5 hours.
I only had my phone with me so couldn't take step-by-step photos, but here's one photo of the head and one ear attached.
The finished hare. The trickiest part of all? Sewing the damn eyes on!
I thought I wouldn't have the patience for it when I began, as endlessly stabbing the wool with the needle is rather monotonous, but once I saw the little head take shape, I could see how it was going to work.
You create every bit individually - the head, the ears, the legs, the haunches, the back legs, the torso and the tail - then using the same stabbing motion, join each piece together and gently sculpt it to get smooth joins. It was really rewarding seeing the hare come together and I was pretty happy with the little guy when he was finished. I completed him with a ribbon and bell.
For anyone considering needle felting for the first time, I suggest you need to have a good sense of imagining something in 3D. It would be hard to work from a flat image if you can't imagine it from every angle. I enjoyed sculpture as a youngster, so I found it quite easy.
I'm definitely going to do this again. It's something you can even do whilst watching TV. I may create the rest of the forest to keep the hare company!