When walking down the street, are you guilty of glancing in open windows to get a glimpse of what’s inside? I am always interested in how people decorate their homes and cannot help but looking when the lights are on and the curtains are open. The same goes for catching a sneak peek at someone’s creative process. I can’t help but stop and take a look.
Today I want to share with you a little bit of the magic of needle felting by demonstrating how I create a squirrel.
If you are not familiar with needle felting, it is the process by which loose wool roving (same stuff that is spun into yarn) is repeatedly stabbed by a barbed needle until it condenses. How does stabbing wool with a needle lead to something cute like a squirrel? It’s hard to explain, so I will show you in pictures. Still have questions? Please let me know!
I use two different colors of wool to create a squirrel, both are merino. I also use some small cording to help form his arms and legs and beads for eyes. There are several different kinds of felting needles to use, I prefer using a 38gauge tri-point and 40gauge barbed needle. The 38g is best for starting and the 40g for fine tuning (so to speak). I start by making the body (step 3) and felting the whole thing til it looks like a log. Next I begin making the head by felting just half of a roll of roving (4). This allows me to open up the bottom (5) so that I can easily attach it to the body.
To attach the head of the squirrel I felt the loose wool onto the body (6). I can then continue felting the head into the shape I like (7). This is where the squirrel begins to show it’s personality – the shape of each head is always different! The belly is attached by adding white roving to the front of the body (8 and 9). I like to roll it under into the general shape I want to make the process a little faster.
Once the body is completed I can move on to the arms and feet! I start by felting out a thin flat piece of roving and roll it around a small piece of cording. I can then continue to felt the wool around the cording until it begins to condense and become less fuzzy (10 and 11). The loose wool at the end of the feet make them easy to attach to the base of the body (12). This process is repeated for the arms (13). We are getting closer to closer to becoming a squirrel! My boyfriend and I always joke that at this step it looks kind of like a mole (14). What do you think?
The ‘mole’ quickly transforms into a squirrel once you attach the ears – two small triangles (15 and 16) and the tail! I always double check to make sure the tail is the correct size for the squirrel – don’t want it too tall or too wide (17). Now begin the final touches. I felt the nose directly onto the squirrel – I’ve discovered if I start felting the nose and then attaching it tends to fall off or causes there to be an indentation (18). Both of which look bad!
Lastly come the eyes which are sewn on and tied at the bottom (19). Finally, after several hours of work, and a handful of little felt pieces, a squirrel emerges!
I hope this helps you to understand how needle felting works and to get a glimpse into what it is that I do.
You can find these squirrels in my shop. If you have an idea for something special you would like your squirrel to be holding please let me know and we can work it out!
To my fellow needle felters and future felters – I hope you find this useful. Out of respect for my design, please do not sell recreations. Thank you – Sara