Needlefelting – the art of turning a bunch of wool into a beautifully crafted piece of art or sculpture (my definition). That’s the theory anyway. Having seen a number of gorgeous needlefelted stuff on the Internet and between the pages of Mollie Makes magazine I decided that it was a skill I would like to learn. There are various kits you can buy such as a little sheep, or get a general kit to play with. There are also videos on youtube to give you instruction.
So armed with my bought kits of all natural wool and a needle at least 3″ long and a block of foam I set too, but you know what? It looked crap. And for all the show and tell on youtube, for me, there is no substitute for personal tuition.
The first Mollie Makes magazine I bought had the most gorgeous felted dogs on the front cover. I fell in love with them and the creator of these was the talented Gretel Parker. Gretel has a blog and through that blog I discovered she holds needlefelting workshops, HELLO! I sent her an email and her reply was lovely and encouraging and reserved me a place for the next workshop which was in the lovely surroundings of The Forest of Dean.
Fast forward now to the day of the workshop. I’d worked out the route and it was a trouble free drive down apart from the severe lack of toilets along the route. For ladies of my age you’ll know the agony of waiting to go to the toilet for over 4 hours first thing in the morning! I digress.
I got to CinderHill Farm in plenty of time and all 8 of us potential needlefelters started to arrive and sat around an enormous table piled with lovely wools and all the implements we would need. Gretel instantly put us all at ease and the rest of the group were all lovely, encouraging and supportive of each other. Some of us had never needlefelted before, others had but felt (no pun intended) that they needed direction. Gretel took us through the basics and then we were off. Our first task was to draw a chicken. There were a few sharp intakes of breath and cries of *but I can’t draw*; mine being the loudest voice, but we all attempted it and I bravely selected my coloured wool for my chicken.
The first stab is pretty painful, and yes, you will stab yourself numerous times, but the pain soon wears off as your creation takes place. Gretel assured us that by keeping our creations small we would easily make two items. Everyone managed two and some of the group who were superfast made some amazing things.
At this point I have to say a big thank you to Gretel for a great workshop and lots of encouragement, direction and praise. A big thank you too to Deborah and Neil, owners of CinderHill Farm, not only for hosting the workshop and providing a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere, but also for wonderful catering. The food was lovely and the sugar free scones for afternoon tea were sublime …. and the flapjacks …. and the shortbread. All homemade by Deborah. I really should’ve taken a doggy bag back to the B&B.
At the end of the day I managed to make a chicken/rooster and a cat … and yes, they look exactly like my drawings!
I learnt lots of tips and tricks and the art of perseverence. Those cat ears were nearly the death of me. I nearly gave up, but I couldn’t go home with an incomplete cat. Just too cruel.
Gretel has written up the workshop on her blog and has some great photos of us all creating away and of all our lovely creations. Well done to all of us 😀
Since then I’ve bought better needles (the really fine ones) better wool (merino, silky) and thinking more about how to create something rather than just diving in. And sometimes the weather just gives you the right stimulus. The recent deluge of snow gave me the impetus to create a Welsh SnowLady.