The craft of needle felting is still quite new to me; I started back in November and over the holidays made some cute needle felted tree ornaments. It wouldn't be an exageration to say that I got pretty into this new hobby. But as I often do, I eventually put it down to work on other projects. When we packed our bags for Iceland I didn't even bring my felting needles... Well! Imagine my horrific FOMO (fear of missing out) when we arrived in Reykjavik and all the shops on my street were just overflowing with wool and wool products and all kinds of fantasy inducing supplies. And when I say 'fantasies', I mean craft fantasies. I mean dream-like fantastical thoughts centered around all the future things that I could make with this exciting new abundance of wool and wool products!
Long story short, I got some new needles (they cost like, $10 so it wasn't a big deal) and I got to work. Now, let me introduce you to my sweet little felted owl, this week's blog post and probably the cutest craft ever. I've been sick with a cold these past few days, and there's probably no better sick-person-craft than those involving wool. My days have been spent lying on the couch, just knitting and felting and trying to let my roommates know how cool I am. But mostly just knitting and felting.
Here is my simple photo tutorial with step-by-step instructions. Just a note: if you're totally new to needle felting, that's fine, this is a great first project! But you may want to read my needle felted gnome post, in that tutorial I go over the real beginner stuff; how dry/needle felting works and what supplies you need. Ok, let's get started!
To begin, make a tennis ball sized sphere by rolling up spun roving or yarn. Once your yarn ball is the size you like, grab a section of white roving and wrap it around the ball. Felt into place using your felting needle.
To make the owls face, begin with a long thin section of brown roving (you may want to twist a section of roving between your palms to make a string-like piece). Felt onto the body in the shape of a rounded heart. Remember, the roving will become smaller and more compact as you felt it, so you can make this line thinner and more delicate by working it with the felting needle.
Next, roll two small pieces of black roving into balls. Place them on the owls face by poking with the needle once or twice. When both eyes are in the right spot, felt into place. Then take a very small tuft of yellow or orange roving and shape it with your hands to form a tiny cylinder. Place below the centre of the eyes and felt into place, shaping the beak to be thin triangular.
To add a few spots below his face, cut a number of 3-4 mm pieces of grey wool yarn (you can also use tinie tiny balls of roving) and felt these into place. I did a pretty symmetrical pattern using five pieces of yarn, but you could add many more. Just keep them pin-prick tiny. (You may notice that my little owl lost his beak in the above pics. The reason? I didn't have any yellow roving, so I added the beak last. But for the sake of the tutorial...)
With the face and spots done, we just need to add some wings. I find the easiest way to add this detail, is to start by creating two circles of brown roving. Keep these two circles back a bit from the owl's breast and face, and have them come closer together at his back (as shown in the second column of pics). Once both circles are felted into place, add just a bit more brown roving and join them together at the lower back of the sphere to give the look of wings. And that's it!
Remember, if you read this post and we're all like, 'huh? what does she mean by felt into place?' Go back and read my first felting post, in which I explain the craft further. Basically it's a sculpting craft. You shape the wool roving by tangling and condensing it, and in order to tangle and condense it, you simply need to poke it repeatedly with the felting needle. So actually it's quite meditative. Or it's voodoo. Whatever.
Anywhoo, I know this is probably one of my weirder craft endeavors, but to my surprise the gnome blog post was one of my most popular. So I do hope that you'll give needle felting a try, even if it's just for those sick-on-the-couch or trying-to-impress-your-new-roommate days.