Saturday, March 28, 2009

needle felted skunk tutorial

This is my 'learn-as-I-go' tutorial...I took photos as my skunk progressed, in the hope that my learning experience would benefit others! (Note - sorry for the delay in getting this finished...moving turned out to be horribly time-consuming! Booo to things that get in the way of crafting...)

Here are the materials I used to create my skunk:

~Clover multi-needle felting tool
~Clover pen-style needle felting tool (I have one of these available in my eBay store)
~size 38 star-shaped felting needle
~foam felting mat (I bought mine from Joann's)
~black wool roving from Lavender Rabbit
~white merino wool roving from Little Barn Fibers
~a smidgen of pink wool (plain roving from Nordic Needle, hand-dyed by me)
~two black glass Mill Hill beads
~needle and black thread for attaching the eyes

Here are my tools and my wool roving laid out on my felting mat. You can see there are only two needles in my pen tool; that's because one broke when I stupidly angled the needle incorrectly (never try to change the angle of your needle when it's in the wool, or it'll snap!). But I usually use only two needles anyway, so it hasn't been a problem for me:

Step One: the body (click on photo for larger view)

Step Two: finishing up the body (click on photo for larger view)

Step Three: the legs (click on photo for larger view)

Step Four: Attaching the legs (click on photo for larger view)

Step Five: the little skunk head! (click on photo for larger view)

Step Six: the tail... (click on photo for larger view)

Step Seven: the tail, continued... (click on photo for larger view)

Step Eight: fixing the tail (click on photo for larger view)

Step Nine: the ears and face... (click on photo for larger view)

Step Ten: the final details... (click on photo for larger view)

And here's Norman, enjoying a bit of sunlight:

I hope you found this tutorial helpful! If you have any feedback, or requests for future tutorials, I'd love to hear from you!

moving really interferes with the important things in life...

...such as stitching, and needle-felting, and other such worthy endeavors. We finally closed, and the house is now officially ours, but the title company waited until the end of the day yesterday to record, so the sellers don't yet have their money which means we don't actually get the keys until Monday. And this means that we're surrounded by boxes, and trying to figure out how we're going to move everything in only two days!

The good news is that now I have time to get my skunk tutorial up; I'm working on it now and hope to have it posted by the end of the day. Here's a picture of Norman the skunk - I just love him!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

my new bunny - and more stitching blues

This is Thomas - he has an Easter egg!

He's now up in my Etsy shop.
For someone who claims to not like cutesy things, I sure seem to be having fun making cute little bunnies and such. ; ) I'm working on a skunk right now, and am taking photos as I go to make a learning tutorial (that's a tutorial where I learn right along with you - I'm going to include photos of the mistakes I made along the way). I just need to finish his tail and face and then he'll be ready to go.

On another note...I was stitching away on Chickadee in the Pines, and I realized I'd forgotten to order two of the thread types I need. This really sucks because we have only a couple more days in this house, which is not enough time to pull out one of my BAPs, and I was really hoping to finish Chickadee before moving. Now I'm not sure what I'll work on in all the extra time I'm going to have the next couple of days, ha ha. Oh, I know! I'll get my hummingbird's a Crossed Wing kit on silk gauze and is tiny tiny tiny. I haven't worked on it in a couple of years...glad I thought of it! I'll try to get some done today and post a pic.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Made some purty earrings yesterday...I'm really pleased with how all of these turned out! Of course it helped that I had some new awesome beads to work with...

amazonite & sterling silver:

black coral and sterling silver:

Bali silver and Swarovski crystal (these are my favorites...I luuuurve nubbly beads):

Thursday, March 19, 2009

stitching blues

I miss stitching. I've been so busy dyeing fabric and making needle-felted gnomes and such that I've had almost no time to stitch. My progress on the Brazilian embroidery piece is laughable, and I haven't stitched on a HAED in weeks! We're in the middle of moving, so it seemed simplest to go ahead and pack up my HAED lovelies, but I'm starting to have withdrawal pangs.

I think that tomorrow, no matter how busy I am, I'm going to put everything aside for an hour and work on Chickadee in the Pines. Here is my (minimal!) progress so far:

Felipe sold this morning! I have GOT to get busy making more needle-felted animals.

Alas, I think I may be the only person who really likes my gnomes, as none of them have sold. : ( But I keep hoping...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

happy happy

I've sold two needle-felted miniatures! I'm pretty happy about this since I'm still so new to needle-felting; now I don't have to look at the pile of wool roving on the dining table and gulp uneasily, wondering if I've just plunked down a bunch of money on yet another hobby that will suck my bank account dry. I sold my little polar bear on Sunday, and my little orange cat Seymour today. I'm donating 20% of the sale of Seymour to FixNation, a really awesome group that does TNR work for feral cats. I'm definitely going to make more kitties like this!

I'm also happy because I made another bunny yesterday and I think he turned out really well. My first two bunnies were pretty funny-looking, so I'm relieved to know I can make a decent bunny rabbit. Here he is...his name is Felipe:

He's currently for sale in my Etsy shop.

Monday, March 16, 2009

dyeing wool

While I'm sitting here thinking up ways to put off finishing my hemp chokers...when I was dyeing fabric last week, I decided to dye some wool roving just to see how it turned out. I was really happy with the result! The colors came out MUCH lighter than I'd expected, but I think they look like cotton candy.

Of course, I can't wash them in hot water and detergent, which you're supposed to do to set the color, because they'd get felted, so I probably need to look into other dyes to use with roving if I want to dye wool for things that'll have to be washed eventually. But for needle-felted miniatures, it should work fine.

Oh, and here's a pic I took of my latest fabric batch, all neatly bagged and labeled now (and I've sold one piece already, yay!):


I forget how much I dislike making hemp jewelry until I sit down and start working on a piece. It was fun at first, but mostly now I just find it tedious. Because I get fairly steady orders for my hemp bracelets (and my best wholesale client orders bracelets and necklaces every couple of months), it'd be dumb for me to stop doing it. But I sure wish I enjoyed it more...I have to make two peace chokers this morning and I'd rather be needle-felting a bunny!

Friday, March 13, 2009

brazilian embroidery

So Fairy Flora has been put back in her little storage bin for the time being...I didn't make as much progress on her as I'd hoped, but I did get some done; mostly I'm just glad she's not a UFO any more!

Now I'm working on a Brazilian embroidery pattern hubby got me for Christmas - Chickadee in the Pines from A Candle in the Cellar. I'll post progress pics once I get more than a couple of stitches in. I'm doing it on a piece of trigger cloth I dyed in shades of blue. Here's what it'll look like (hopefully) when I'm done (except of course mine will be on blue fabric):

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

fabric overload

Since I don't currently own a serger, I found someone on Craigslist to serge the cross stitch fabric I was planning to dye. She came by Saturday and serged the 20+ pieces, and today I started dyeing them! I also dyed a couple of little purses and pouches that I got from Dharma Trading. I actually wasn't able to get everything dyed today...I forgot how loooong it can take. So I still have five more pieces to dye tomorrow, plus some muslin I want to dye to use in making gift bags or something like that.

Here's a pic of a few of the pieces after dyeing and rinsing, before I tossed them in the washing machine:

The greens didn't come out the way I'd wanted them to...I think it's because I used my new Caribbean Blue dye, which made the green a little too vivid. Some of the pieces turned out waaaay too bright for my taste; there are only one or two pieces in this batch that I'm tempted to keep for myself. I'm really happy with the new purple dye, though. Lookee lookee!

Dyeing's the fun part...what I hate is taking pictures/scanning everything and getting it posted on ebay and/or etsy. But since that's sort of the whole point, I'd better get cracking...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Meet Ted

We're in the midst of moving, so there's even more crap lying around than usual. Today I cleaned out my cross stitch cupboard, a pretty little storage thing my husband bought me a few years back, telling me with innocent optimism that I could use it to store my cross stitch supplies (it holds about 1/14th of them). Among the things that were left lying out on the table was my telescoping magnet that I use to pick up needles I've dropped on the floor. Hubby grabbed it and claimed it was HIS telescoping magnet that he uses to grab bolts and nails and other man-things. I explained that no, it was mine, and when he asked me what I needed it for I explained that I used it to get needles - "I just wave my magic wand," I said, "and it calls them to it."

Hubby then gave me a look of utter bewilderment. "WHAT did you say?" he asked. I repeated myself, and the bewilderment was replaced by relief. "Oh, okay," he said. "I thought you said that you waved the magnet at the needles and it called them Ted."


I'm supposed to be working on the fifth ornament in Teresa Wentzler's 12 Days of Christmas series; when I started Land of Enchantment at the beginning of January, the deal I made with myself was that I would stitch 2 pages and then get at least a little bit done on Day 5. I'm stitching the ornaments for my brother and his wife, and I always put it off until the last minute and end up having to mail it a few days after Christmas. Well, when I finished page 2 of Land of Enchantment, I started rummaging through my WIPs and pulled out Chatelaine's Convent Herbal Garden, which I hadn't worked on in well over a year (actually, I'm afraid it's been more like 2+ years). So I worked on that for a bit, but wasn't having much fun, and told myself that now I'd start the ornament. But when I put the Chatelaine away, I spotted Fairy Flora, which I literally have not touched in at least 3 years. I stopped working on it because there were so many errors, and I didn't have the motivation to do extensive frogging. But after looking over it, I decided that the errors weren't really that noticeable (I asked my daughter to find them, and she couldn't), so I started stitching on her again.

Really, I should have done about half of the ornament and have moved on to Gypsy by now, but so much for good intentions. I'm going to work on Fairy Flora for a bit and then pull out Gypsy, because I want to finish her this year and have yet to put in a single stitch. Maybe I'll get to the ornament by September...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gnomes, cont.

Here are the three gnomes I've made thus far: Gnoogle the Gnewbie gnome, Gnexxus the Gnecromancer Gnome and Gnilligan the Gnapping gnome. Yes, I know, I'm a gnerd...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I am rapidly becoming addicted to needle felting; it is SO much fun. I love working with wool because it's so forgiving; if I make a mistake (which I do on a regular basis), it doesn't ruin the whole piece because it's easily fixed with a little extra wool or some targeted jabs with my needle.
I wasn't sure at first if I would like felting with a needle; it seemed that it might be similar to punch needle embroidery, which I tried a couple of years ago and didn't enjoy at all. I did finish one small piece, more out of stubbornness than anything else, but I doubt I'll ever do any more punch needle unless it's just to embellish a quilt or something. Needle felting, though, is completely different. It's really amazing to watch the fibers come together, and to be able to sculpt them into different shapes.

My first gnome was more or less an accident; I was trying to make a bunny, but the body shape just looked all wrong, and when I made the head, the little tuft that I was using to hold it ended up being bigger than I'd meant for it to be, and it suddenly occurred to me that it looked very much like a gnome hat. So I stuck a big nose on the face, added red wool to the pointed hat, gave him arms and a blue jacket and brown shoes, and added a big gray beard, and voila! Gnoogle was here!

I'm now finishing up my third gnome, and hope to start my fourth tonight if I can get enough other stuff done today (I have fabric that needs to be dyed soon!). I feel as if I have a dozen or so gnomes running around inside my head screaming at me, and they won't be quiet until I felt them into being...

Monday, March 2, 2009

First post

After several years of starting and stopping more blogs than I care to count, I've finally decided that what I need to do is separate my blogs; one for personal rants and musings, and one for my crafty side. This one is for my crafty side. Stay tuned. : )