Kirstie's Handmade Britain

How To Make A Needlefelted Yorkshire Terrier

Needlefelt Yorkshire terrier

If you were inspired by the needlefelting featured in Kirstie's Handmade Britain, why not have a go at your own project? Here's how.

By Kirstie Allsopp

Alpaca fleece or sheep's wool

Needlefelting needles - 38 and 40 gauge

A deep sponge or foam

Carding combs or two dog brushes

Sewing thread and needles

Decorative ribbon if needed

Small beads for eyes

Skill

You need a healthy dollop of imagination and patience to master this project, and some needlework experience would be an advantage.

Budget

A 100g of felting wool costs around £8.50.

Time

Depending on your level experience, allow at least three evenings.

Step One: Prepare The Wool

Prepare your alpaca fibre or sheep's wool or any other fluffy fibre that you have available. Remove any pieces of debris. You can card the fibre if it doesn't come already prepared. You can do this by using special carders or two dog brushes. The idea being to fluff up the fibre and separate the strands so that they run in no particular direction. Alpaca fibre is fine enough to be able to just use your hands to fluff it up.

Step Two: Make The Body

Next take your protective sponge and place this on your lap. Select the body colour of fibre that you are going to use. Start by creating a body sausage shape. Carefully with your sponge underneath start to needlefelt the fibre using your 38 gauge needle. Gently stab through both the fabric and the fluff being careful to watch your fingers and to not go too deep into the sponge. The needles are very sharp. Keep turning your work to make sure it felts evenly all over.

Step Three: Make The Head

Next you need to make a ball shape for the head. Do this loosely and then needlefelt a nose onto the front. The eyebrows are made from sausage shapes and the ears are triangles. With all needlefelting you need to think of yourself as a sculptor adding simple shapes to your model as they would to build up definition and then smooth/needlefelt the harsh lines out afterwards. You can't get it wrong.

Step Four: Add The Fur

Once you have your basic shape of the dog then start to add on the hairy fur. This is done by using the fleece in its raw state so that it hangs. If you have bought roving (long, narrow bundles of fibre) that is already fluffed up, you will need to card it into straight hanks. Lay the fur on the dog as it would lie in real life and gently needlefelt it into place. You can always add a bit more on top to hide your needle marks. Always work with a picture of your subject so that you can see how their fur lies, in particular on their face. By copying this you add in the character of your animal.

Step Five: Continue To Layer The Fur

Add in the different colours of the fur in stages so that one hangs over the other as in real life.

Step Six: Add A Nose And Eyes

Needlefelt in a nose and the eyes or you can use beads for this.

Step Seven: Embellish

Add ribbons or embellishments as you would like and you are done!

With thanks to Chloe Stannard

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