The Christmas Mouse

First let me introduce a NEW Felted Creation, my Christmas Mouse! It may be way early for this post, but I sure have heard about Christmas in July a time or too, so I think I’m okay at least for today. My cute little mouse was needle felted, meaning I administered lots and lots of pokes with a barbed needle, using alpaca and wool wrapped around a fiber core. His arms are movable, his tail bendable, and he sports a Santa suit and hat complete with fur trim.

 

I’m also offering a class to make this cheery fellow, for those you that live in Ohio or not too far away. New classes always fill up quickly, so don’t delay registering for the Christmas Mouse Needle Felting Class.

I had a lot of fun creating this little guy, and love him even more, after reading this story of “The Christmas Mouse” by the editors of Publications International, Ltd.

The fun and laughter disappeared when the family sold this big house.

Walter Whiskers was a sad little mouse. This big house was his home. In fact, he had lived in a mouse hole in this very same house since he was a tiny mousekin himself. His little mouse hole had always been a warm, cozy place. And there was always plenty to eat — at least, up until a few months ago. Then, the family that lived here moved out.

Now there were no children in the house, no music or parties or fun anymore. And there were no good things to eat. Walter sighed, thinking how much he missed it all. Walter lived in the house with his wife, Wanda Whiskers, and their four mousekin children, Willie, Warner, Wilma, and little Winifred.

They used to be well-fed and happy, because there were always scraps of food to pick up off the kitchen floor or from under the dining room table. And there were usually delicious tidbits to be found behind the kitchen stove. But now, Walter and his family grew each day more hungry and cold. And to top it all off, Christmas was coming! What was Walter to do?

After the big house was sold, Walter Whiskers, his wife, and his poor little mousekins were left with nothing to eat.

Then, just two days before Christmas, something happened. Wanda shook Walter awake early. “What is that noise!” she exclaimed. They heard banging and shouting right outside their mouse hole door. Walter ran to the door and looked out. There were people moving into their house!

Rugs and chairs and a large green sofa were being carried into the big living room. And a huge piano was taking up one whole corner. As Walter watched, three children ran in. They were laughing and looking around excitedly. One of them said, “Oh, I’m going to love our new house!”

Walter called for his whole family to come and see the sight. Wanda and all the little mousekins were delighted to have a new family moving into their house. “Now there will be plenty of food for us, and our mouse hole will be warm again,” Walter told Wanda and the children. “It will be just like in the old days, you’ll see.”

As Walter and the mousekins watched the new family moving in, they knew there would be plenty of food and warmth to go around.

 

But Walter didn’t know what a terrible commotion and racket all that furniture moving would make! The whole mouse hole shook with the noise. The floor seemed to dance. And that night, there was still no food for the little mice. But the next morning, the Whiskers family woke up to heavenly smells. And there was nice, warm air coming into the mouse hole.

Today was Christmas Eve, and the new family was getting ready for its celebration. That afternoon, Walter sniffed a different smell. He peeked out of the mouse hole, and again he called Wanda and the little mousekins to come and look.

The family was putting up a huge, beautiful Christmas tree! It reached all the way to the tall ceiling. And they were decorating it with sparkling lights and balls of all colors. At the top of the tree was a gold star.

The new owners of the big house decorate the tree for a fun-filled Christmas celebration.

That night, after the children had hung up their stockings and gone to bed, Walter and his family crept out into the living room to have a look around. They saw the most amazing sight! “Look, Papa,” cried little Winifred. There, running all the way around the Christmas tree, was a tiny toy train — just their size. It had a big red-and-orange engine, with three cars — blue, green, and orange — behind it, plus a red caboose at the end.

The tracks for the train went over a bridge and around a toy mountain. Beside the train was a tiny toy village. There were trees and shops and even a mouse-size house. Walter and his family could scarcely believe their eyes. Walter said, “I know what we must do. Let’s have a Christmas party of our own!” “Oh, yes!” cried all the little mousekins.

At that, Wanda ran back into the mouse hole to get some old beads she had been saving. The mice hung the beads on a tiny tree to decorate it. They were of beautiful colors and looked like shiny balls on the little tree.

Then Willie remembered some apple seeds he had. The mousekins strung them together to make more decorations for the tree. Wanda even cut a scrap of gold paper in the shape of a tiny star to put on top. Now they had their very own Christmas tree!

Then Walter went into the dining room where the family had eaten its Christmas Eve dinner. He gathered crumbs from beneath the table. There were bits of delicious cheese, scraps of tasty bread, and even tiny morsels of cake. What a feast the Whiskers family had!

Walter Whiskers and the moueskins just knew the train would be a perfect fit — so, they hopped aboard for a ride!

Finally, Walter said, “We must have one last treat to celebrate our good fortune. We will all take a ride on the train. And I will be the engineer.” So Walter climbed up into the train’s engine, while Wanda and the little mousekins piled into the cars behind. Willie insisted on sitting in the caboose. And they rode all the way ’round and ’round the Christmas tree!

Finally, Walter said, “It is time for all you little mousekins to be in bed. We have had the best Christmas celebration ever!” “Oh, yes, Papa!” cried Willie and Warner and Wilma and Winifred.

Next morning, the children of the house ran downstairs to see their stockings. They looked at the train and toy village. The tiny tree had Christmas decorations on it. And there were small crumbs scattered around. Little paw prints led to the train.

Their father smiled and said, “It looks as if someone else enjoyed our Christmas, too. Why, I believe we have our very own Christmas mouse!”

On Christmas Day, the family was happy to discover that the Christmas mouse had been there.

Deep inside his mouse hole, Walter Whiskers smiled. He was thinking of last night’s Christmas treat and of the many wonderful Christmases to come.

See original post here.

Purchase my Christmas Mouse here!

Needle Felted Bears

I’ll be teaching two Needle Felted Bear Classes this weekend. For those of you attending, or trying this at home, I’ve put together a Pinterest Board with lots of inspiration for you!  There are bears of all shapes and sizes and colors and breeds, felted by many talented felting artists.  You can keep it simple but making a roundish shape, adding some bears, a face, and a little bear muzzle, or spend more time adding legs and feet, and feet pads, even clothing and accessories.


 

for those that live nearby, be sure to check out the classes at Alpaca Meadows.  For online classes, be sure and check out the wide selection of Craftsy classes available on our website.  You might also be interested in our Needle Felt An Animal Friend Kit by Back to Back Alpaca.

How to Wet Felt Flowers

A friend asked me to teach a Wet Felting Flower Class. Having never taught this particular felting project before, I thought I better figure out how. What I found is that it is simple, fun, and the flowers come out beautiful!

Here is what you need:

Wet Felting Supplies

Boot Tray (provides a textured surface to aid in the felting process and contain the water) or Towel – to work on
Towel – to dry your hands (dry fiber is sure to stick to wet hands) and roll your flower in when finished
Roving – I use alpaca because that’s what I have, or sometimes an alpaca/wool blend
Other Fiber – small bits of other fibers, scraps from other projects, yarn scraps, thread
Bubble Wrap – two small pieces, about 12″ x 12″
Liquid Soap – I like Dawn but whatever you have will work (if you have skin sensitivities, stay away from anti-bacterial soap)
Hot Water
Sponge (optional) – nice for sopping up extra water on mat
Pool Noodle
Something to Wet Fiber With – empty spray bottle, turkey baster, soup ladle, ball brauser sprinkler, or sponge

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Lay a piece of bubble wrap, bubble side down, on the towel or boot mat. Draft (or pull apart) small pieces of your main color of roving. Do not cut the roving. Thin wispy fibers will felt much better than blunt, cut edges.

Wet Felting Supplies

Lay the roving pieces in a round shape overlapping in the center.

Wet Felting Supplies

Add other bits of color as desired. If using yarn, Suri Locks, or thick pieces of fiber, be sure to lay a very thin piece of roving on top to “scotch tape” these thicker fibers in place, or they will not felt.

Wet Felting Supplies

Add a squirt or two of soap to the hot water. Now wet your fiber with the hot, soapy water. My absolute favorite felting tool for wetting the fiber is a ball brauser sprinkler (a tool used to water bonsai plants), but a spray bottle, turkey baster, soup ladle, sponge, or cup will also work to get water to your fiber.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

If using a ball brauser sprinkler, squeeze the bulb before putting it in the water, drop it into the soapy water, release the bulb, and it fills itself.

IMG_0615 (480x640)

Thoroughly wet the fiber. Lay the second piece of bubble wrap on top of the fiber and press.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Gently push down on the fiber moving your hands all over pressing the water through the layers of fiber.  You don’t want the fiber to be sopping wet but do make sure the water completely penetrates the fibers.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Carefully peel back the bubble wrap to check and see that the fiber is thoroughly wet. If not, add more soapy water. Put the bubble wrap back and rub with your hands for five minutes or so.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Peel back the bubble wrap again, your fiber should be starting to hold together.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Now, roll up the bubble wrap and fiber.  Wrapping the bubble wrap and fiber around a pool noodle works well too.

Wet Felting Flower Class

Whether using a pool noodle or not, wrap the layers of bubble wrap and fiber snug, and tie in several places with yarn, string, or rubber bands to hold in place.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial
Sop up excess water with a sponge, or pour off into a bucket or sink.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial
Begin rolling the pool noodle back and forth about 50 times.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial
Unroll. Adjust fiber as needed. Wet any dry areas. Turn 90 degrees, roll layers, tie, roll 50 times. Do this a total of four times, turning your piece 90 degrees each time.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

When your flower passes the “pinch test”, you are done. Pinch the fibers between two fingers, there should be no movement! If they still appear a loose, add a little more hot soapy water and continue rolling for a while longer. Repeat the “pinch test”.  If more felting is needed, you can also rub the flower on the boot mat.

IMG_0702 (480x640)

Unroll bubble wrap and fiber.  Warm up your flower with some very hot water.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Wad up fiber and throw it against the boot mat, in a bucket, or in your kitchen sink about 25 times.  Yes throw it!  This causes the fibers to shrink and harden a bit.

IMG_0733 (480x640)

Open up your flower, stretch the edges sideways.  This will help ruffle your edges, (of the flower that is).  Throw against your mat again about 25 times.  Pull on the fiber to create petals, if desired, or cut petals.  If cutting, rub on a textured surface just a little to soften the edges.

Rinse in a vinegar water solution (approximately 1/4 cup to  4-5 inches of water in your sink or a bucket), and then in plain water until the soap has been rinsed out.  Roll in a towel to absorb excess moisture.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Grab the center of your flower from the back and scrunch it up towards the center.  Use a twist tie or piece of yarn to tie the center.  Shape your flower the way you would like it to look. Allow your flower to dry this way.  I have read where people dry their flowers in egg cartons to help maintain the shape.  I have also used the umbrella hole in my rod iron table, or a coffee mug.  Your flower will dry quickly outside on a sunny day, or near a fan inside, or close to a heat vent in the winter.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

When dry you could needle felt a center, sew on a button or beads, or leave as is.  Leave the yarn you have tied the flower with in place to give dimension to your flower, or remove it, scrunch up your flower towards the middle again and needle felt around the base for the same effect.  You can add as many “pleats” to your flower as you like, then needle felt them, to create more dimension to your flower.

Wet Felting Flowers Tutorial

Just like in nature, there are many kinds of flowers when it comes to felting, along with various techniques.  Be creative, and have fun felting!

Felted Bouquet Kit

Felted Bouquet Wet Felting Kit

This is a kit available through our Online Store or in The Fiber Studio at Alpaca Meadows.  Click on the link or the image above to see videos for wet felting some basic flowers.  Click my board on Pinterest called Felted Flowers to see some favorites from other fiber artists.  You will find a few tutorials there too!

Live nearby?  Get a group together and come take my Wet Felting Fancy Flower Class!

Be sure to check out Knitting and Crocheting Flowers for more flower fun!

 

 

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers

I love hats with flowers, maybe not on me, but a flower just sets off a hat, makes it so much more stylish!  I love flowers, and it is Spring, so thought I would share my Flowers, Flowers, Flowers Pinterest Board.  On it you will find crocheted, knitted, fiber, and felted flowers, some with instructions and some just for inspiration!  Be sure to check out our Classic Alpaca Yarn for many, many pretty colors of 100% alpaca yarn for flower making, and my favorite patterns for Knitting and Crocheting Flowers!

Follow Alpaca Meadows’s board Flowers, Flowers, Flowers on Pinterest.

There are also many FREE flower patterns for knit and crochet, or perhaps you can create your own!  Some of the flowers shown are knit, then felted by throwing them in the washing machine and dryer.  Some have been cut out of felt, others needle felted.  Our Bloomin’ Brites Needle Felted Flowers Kit uses a combination of both cutting flowers from felt and needle felting fiber onto them.

Our Felted Bouquet Kit uses another felting technique called wet felting. Check out How to Make Wet Felted Flowers!

Happy Spring!

 

Felted Rabbits and Bunnies

In preparation to teach another Bunny Felting Class, I thought I would gather pictures of some of my favorite bunnies.  Pinterest was a great place to do that!  Felted rabbits really do come in all different shapes and sizes, some that are very simple designs that would be great for a beginning felter.  Those that have some experience with felting might want to tackle a bunny with more detail, perhaps even with bunny clothes and accessories!

Follow Alpaca Meadows’s board Felted Rabbits on Pinterest.

When it comes to needle felting, there is more than one way to felt a bunny. The following are some tutorials to help you to decide what your preference might be.

Mama Bunny and Three Bunnies Felting Tutorial
Needle Felting a Bunny: A Photo Tutorial
How to Make a Cute Needle Felted Bunny for Easter

Though I don’t have a Bunny Felting Kit available yet, the House Mouse Kit or Needle Felt an Animal Friend Kit both come with instructional DVD’s to help you learn three dimensional felting.

House Mouse Felting Kit

House Mouse Kit

Needle Felt An Animal Friend Kit

Needle Felt An Animal Friend Kit

If you don’t live too far away, and would like to learn how to needle felt a bunny in The Fiber Studio at Alpaca Meadows, click Bunny Felting Class.  Organize a group of friends to come do a class with you, or join a class already scheduled!

Needle Felting Ornament Kits and Videos

Needle felting has taken off in our area.  Even those who don’t think they have the skills required or aren’t creative, have been enjoying felting classes in The Farm Store here at the farm, and going home with projects they are pleased with.  There is no need to have to pay attention to a pattern, such as with knitting or crocheting, so felting is a fun craft to do with a group of friends or in the evening while watching TV.

Needle Felting Ornament Kits

Just in are some new felting kits!  Among them are a variety of felted ornament kits, with instructional videos to follow.  Keep scrolling to see the videos.  Click on the images below if you’d like to order the kit.

     

Happy felting!

Be sure to check out the pictures from some of our felting classes!

Private Lessons – Knitting and Crochet

Been wanting to come to a class, but your schedule never coincides with mine?  Or you’ve come to a beginner’s class and now you’re ready for more?  Perhaps a private lesson is in order.  Some people learn easier one-on-one.  Schedule the day and time that works best for you.  An hour lesson is just $20 and you get a one-on-one lesson focused on what you need the most.  Or bring a friend and share the cost.  Choose a project you’d like to start on, or I can make suggestions.  Bring your own yarn, or enjoy a 10% discount on any yarn in The Fiber Studio.  Fiber friends ages 7 and over are welcome.

Check your calendar then call or contact us to schedule your private lesson!

Beginner Knitting

Transfix Alpaca Shawl

Knitting is the new yoga!  You will learn to cast-on, knit, purl and bind-off.  Your private lesson also includes an overview of knitting vocabulary, materials, accessories and more.

Beginner Crochet

Bulky Ribbed Crochet Scarf

Crochet is is enjoying a renaissance and is my personal favorite.  This cherished fiber art is faster than knitting, and easier to correct mistakes.  Yes, I make them!  Learn to crochet or refresh your memory.  You will learn to create a foundation chain as well as single, half-double, double, and triple crochet stitches. Your lesson also includes an overview of crochet vocabulary, materials, accessories and more.

Back to Class Schedule.

FREE Knitting Pattern – Suri Art Yarn Cowl

Inspired by Ashley Martineau’s pattern and free video, I’ve created this cowl out of my own hand spun Suri Art Yarn.  Though the bulky, very textured yarn is a bit of a challenge, the results were well worth it!

Suri Art Yarn Cowl

NEEDLE

Circular 16″ Needles US Size 15 – 10.0 mm

MATERIALS

50 Yards of Hand Spun Suri Art Yarn

PATTERN NOTES

Roughly 30 inches around at neck edge, 8 inches wide, and 38 inches around bottom edge depending on how loosely or tightly you knit.

 

DIRECTIONS

 Make a Slip Knot, then cast on 30 stitches.  Knit in the round using the double elongated stitch until you’re reached the desired length.  Bind off loosely.

Very simple!

Fasten off, and weave in ends.

 

How to Make an Alpaca Fiber Wreath

I try to find a use for every grade of alpaca fiber, even short fiber or more robust fiber from older alpacas.   Alpaca Fiber Wreaths are my latest idea.  Find out how!

Peacock

Recently I had a special order for one of these wreaths and the customer wanted “peacock colors”.

Click to Purchase Alpaca Fiber

I started by gathering together small amounts of my previously dyed fiber, in colors that I thought resembled a peacock.

Grapevine Wreath

I used both huacaya and suri fiber.  The huacaya was a good filler, as well as added color.  The suri added color in wisps and curls.

Dipping Fiber in Glue

Using glue in a shallow plastic dish, I dipped small bunches of fiber into the glue.

IMG_2404

With a nail punch (any pokey thing would work, a pencil for instance), I poked the fiber down into the grapevine wreath.  Very easy to make!

Suri Fiber Wreath

 Voila’, the finished project!

FREE Crochet Pattern – Snuggle Hat with Cuff

This is a very simple hat crochet pattern that I have used over and over again.  It has been adapted from the pattern called Crochet Head Hugger by Christine Marie Way Tyler & John Wesley Tyler for use with our bulky Snuggle Yarn by The Alpaca Yarn Company.

Snuggle Hat with Cuff - Group of Greens

 For this hat, I used the colorway, A Group of Greens.

Snuggle-Alpaca-Yarn-Group-of-Greens-Bulky-Yarn

Here’s the pattern:

HOOK

US Size J

MATERIALS

1 Skein of Snuggle Hand-Dyed
1 Skein of Snuggle Solids

Body of hat requires about 90 yards, brim takes about 15 yards.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

This hat measures 21″ around at the widest point and is 8″ from the top to the bottom of the turned up brim.

PATTERN NOTES

CH 2 always counts as 1 DC.

DIRECTIONS

CH 4 or 5 (which ever you usually like to use to make a ring). SL ST in first ST to form a ring.
Round 1 – CH 2, 11 DC in ring. SL ST in top of CH 2. (12 DC)
Round 2 – CH 2, DC in the same ST. 2 DC in each ST around. SL ST in top of CH 2. (24 DC)
Round 3 – CH 2, *2 DC in next ST, DC in next ST*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2. (36 DC)
Round 4 – CH 2, DC in next ST. *2 DC in next ST, DC in next 2 ST*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2. (48 DC)

Round 5 – *CH 2, skip 1 DC, SC in next DC*; Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2.
Round 6 – SL ST into CH, CH 2, DC in same CH 2 space, *2 DC in each CH 2 space around*. SL ST in top of CH 2.
Round 7 – CH 2, skip the first 2 DC, SC in space between 2ND & 3RD DC, *CH 2, skip 2 DC, SC in space between DC’S of previous round*;
Repeat around. SL ST in top of CH 2.
Rounds 8 thru 13 –  Repeat rounds 5 & 6 until cap is the length that you want, ending with either round. Finish off here or add brim.

Round 14 – Change colors for brim.  Repeat rounds 5 & 6 until brim is the width you want.  Finish off.

Snuggle Hat - A Plethora of Pinks

Here is the same hat using A Plethora of Pinks.

See more patterns using our Snuggle Yarn:

CROCHET PATTERNS

Basic Chunky Cowl

Fingerless Mittens

Color Block Scarf

Simple Ear Warmer Pattern

KNIT PATTERNS

Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf

 

Alpaca Meadows