Spring has arrived here at Kromski North America!
Nothing says Spring like Easter Eggs, Lambs, Ducklings and of course the Easter Bunny – or in this case, and Easter Hare. All of our felted animals and eggs are made using Kromski Polish Merino. There are many Felting Packs available, each containing one ounce each of four different colors. Or if you prefer, the wool comes in 8 ounce and 16 ounce packages. Contact your dealer to order some wool and begin felting your own Spring!
We’ve put together a quick tutorial on making your own Easter Sheep.
The first step is to spin some white wool (or whatever color you prefer your sheep’s fleece to be) into a lofty single ply yarn. Wet finish the yarn skein by soaking it in room temperature water and then hanging it to dry using a light weight to help control the twist.
While the yarn is drying gather up your felting materials and supplies. Equipment for Needle Felting is fairly minimal. While Kromski does not carry these, many of our dealers do. There are numerous needle sizes available on the market today, but a 36 gauge needle should do well for this project, with perhaps a finer gauge for the finishing details on the face if desired. I highly recommend using finger protection while felting. Felting Needles are extremely sharp and it can be quite painful if a finger is accidentally stabbed. For the same reason, needle felting is not a good activity for small children and care should be taken in storing your supplies. You will also need a foam board to protect your work surface.
This is a fairly easy project that even a beginning felter can do. Many of the techniques are adaptable to other animals or objects. For instance, follow this tutorial using Kromski Bright Pink wool and give the animal shorter legs and no fleece and you can make a pig. The basic ball use on the body and head is the same one used to create the Easter Eggs.
Begin by forming 2 oblong balls, one larger for the body and the other for the head.
To do this you will need a length of roving. Needle a small section near one end. Then fold over the tip and needle again.
Fold and roll again. Then fold the edge inwards and needle into place.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Continue to roll and fold.
You should end up with a shape similar to the one above.
Needle the ends inwards. From this basic shape you will continue to stab the ball until it is roughly the size desired. It should be firm but not hard. If it is felted too much, adding the other parts will be difficult.
Make a smaller ball in the same fashion for the head.
Next we need to create the legs for our sheep. Place 2 short strips of roving next to each other and roll them up, needling as they are rolled.
Stab the ends into place to form a cylindrical shape. Stab and shape, paying close attention to the direction of the needle. By poking the needle into the end repeatedly, the leg becomes shorter and fatter. Be careful to work in all directions to achieve the correct proportions to the legs. Felt the main sections of the legs firmly, but leave the top loose. This will be used to attach them to the body. Make 4 legs as close to the same size as possible.
You can see from the photo above how the wool compacts down as it is worked.
This is the same leg after the felting is complete.
We now have all of the parts needed to assemble the sheep.
Attach the legs to the body by stabbing the looser fibers at the top of each leg into the body. It may be necessary to add more wool around the join to secure them tightly.
To attach the head to the body, lay a small amount of wool onto one end of the head and needle it well.
Hold the head in place and then felt the loose ends into the neck and shoulder. Then wrap another piece of wool around the neck and again needle firmly.
Make the ears by laying a small amount of wool onto the foam board and poking it in the rough shape of a triangle.
Fold over the loose wool and stab again.
Fold over the other side and needle that down. If there are loose fibers on the edge as there are above, fold them over again and needle down.
Gently remove the ear from the board, flip it over and poke it a few more times.
Hold it between your fingers to needle the edges, leaving the base of the ear loose. This can feel a bit difficult. Go slow and work the fibers into the correct shape and thickness. If you do not have finger protectors, try using 2 pieces of foam and wedging the ear between them. You will need to be extra careful during this step.
Adding a touch of Bright Pink will add some realism and depth to the project. Needle lightly from the front and then flip over to secure the pink from the backside or you will see pink on the back of the ear (the needle will push it through to the other side).
Fold the edges of the the bottom of each ear inward and needle into place.
Attach the ears to the side of the head. They should be placed at approximately 9:30 and 2:30 if looking at a clock. This is a good time to make indentations for the eye placement as well. If the ears do not look right after placing the eyes, remove them and replace.
Now it is time for your sheep to grow some wool!
Beginning at the base, just above the legs, work upwards looping the yarn and felting into place as you go.
Keep the loops of yarn close together, but allow room for it to create a nice bumpy fleece.
Work all the way up to the neck.
The eyes are made by forming small balls of Kromski Black Polish Merino. Pull off 2 small amounts of wool, making sure they are the same size. Roll each in the palm of your hand and the stab them into the indentations previously made. Place a small amount of Bright Pink where the mouth should be and needle it into place. Then create a lower jaw in the same way as the ears were made and finish shaping the mouth and cheeks. A tiny nose will finish it off!
The possibilities are endless the it comes to Needle Felting. Let your imagination and Kromski Polish Merino take you anywhere you want to go!