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.

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!

Bunny Felting Class

 Enjoy pictures from the Bunny Felting Class held a few weeks ago here at the farm!

Bunny Felting Class

The craft I was teaching is called needle felting.  This is the process of poking a special felting needle with barbs at the end of it,  into fiber, which agitates, compresses, and locks the scales of fiber together into a more dense mass of fiber, in this case a bunny rabbit!

Bunny Felting ClassBunny Felting Class
Bunny Felting ClassIMG_1263 (561x640)Bunny Felting Class
 Bunny Felting Class Bunny Felting Class Bunny Felting Class at Alpaca Meadows

It is always fun to see how different each bunny turns out!

Bunny Felting Class - Jill's Bunny

One gal purchased roving and tools to take home and later added some color to her bunny!

Felted Alpaca Easter Bunny

This is “Sweet Pea”, one of my bunnies.  See more of my needle felted one-of-a-kind creations here.

Interested in learning to needle felt?  See the Class Schedule and register for a class!  Don’t live nearby or want to try felting on your own?  It is not difficult.  Felting kits are available in The Farm Store online and in The Fiber Studio at Alpaca Meadows.

For inspiration, tutorials, and tips on needle felting bunnies, see Felted Rabbits and Bunnies!










 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needle Felting in Christmas Cookie Cutters

Nervous as I might have been about whether I am teacher material or not, the first of our Fiber Art Classes here at our NEW farm and fiber studio, was a fun one!

Christmas Needle Felting

Everyone seemed to have a good time …

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Mittens

… learned something new …

Christmas Needle Felting Class

… and went away with some completed, needle felted Christmas items!

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Ornament

Needle felting with a cookie cutter is a fun, and easy way to create flat shapes that can then be used for embellishments on other felted projects such as a journal cover or purse, or sewing projects, or onto a sweater, T-shirt or a jean jacket.

Christmas Needle Felting Class

They could be used to make a necklace, a pair of earrings, or a key chain.  Attach a ribbon or embroidery floss and hang them on your Christmas tree, or give as a gift, or use as a decoration on packages.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Gingerbread Boys

Using a cookie cutter saves you from having to create a template for your shapes. It is an easy way to guide your needle while you felt.  There are felting molds on the market created specifically for needle felting, but if you have a variety of cookie cutters stored away you might as well try your hand at cookie cutter felting. The molds that you purchase are made of plastic, so if you have plastic cookie cutters try those first, if your cookie cutters are metal, take care near the edges so as not to break your felting needle.

Christmas Needle Felting

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Place the cookie cutter on the foam work surface.
  2. Lay roving inside the cutter so it fills the total shape. You can make a thicker shape by utilizing more roving, or a thinner shape by utilizing less roving.  Be sure you don’t have empty spots.
  3. With the cookie cutter in place, use the felting needle and begin jabbing the fiber, paying particular focus to edges and points. Be sure to hold the needle straight up and down, or it may break, and keep your fingers out of the way.  These needles are extremely sharp!   Felting sticks, or chopsticks from your favorite Japanese restaurant, are very helpful to hold the fiber down while you poke.  You will poke your fingers less by getting used to using these.
  4. Turn the felt over occasionally so it does not stick to the foam.
  5. You will see the fibers gradually compressing into felt.
  6. If any areas are too thin, add more roving and continue felting that region with the needle until the new roving is blended in.
  7. Continue felting with the needle until it holds together and becomes firm.  The degree of firmness is determined by how long you felt the piece.  The more you felt, the firmer it will be.
  8. Remove the cookie cutter and gently detach the felted shape from the foam.
  9. If the edges look ragged, felt around the edges until the shape looks smooth and finished.
  10. Your shape is now ready to attach to any project. You can also add embellishments, or embroider your shape with embroidery floss, beads, sequins, or charms.

Below were the books I had in class that had lots of great ideas in them.

 

We also covered how to felt a ball, and make it into a flower.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Flowers

For larger balls, stuff a panty hose with loose fiber or batting, tie it at the top and cut off the excess hose.

Christmas Needle Felting Class - Felted Balls

Wrap the ball with rovings, overlapping, and wrapping different directions making sure to cover all bare spots and tacking in place with your felting needle as you go.  Decorate with colored rovings, and other bits of fiber or yarn.  Begin the felting process as described above.

Felted Alpaca Ball OrnamentI

Be sure to see our Alpaca Wool Roving Sampler in Christmas colors!

Felted ALPACA Bunnies

Click here to view these pictures larger

Did you know that a group of rabbits, like alpacas, is called a “herd”?  And a herd of rabbits lives in a “warren”.  I didn’t.
Here’s my herd of Needle Felted ALPACA Bunnies.  Meet Bernard, Charlotte, Peter, Beatrice, Debbie, and Liz.
I attempted some French Knots on the faces of my bunnies, without much luck.  They seem to just disappear.  I ended up felting little wisps of fiber instead.

 

Easter Egg and Bunny Felting Class

 
My first “stab” at teaching turned out okay, I think.  I wasn’t sure how I would be at conveying my thoughts to others.  We all got an egg made, first needle felted into an egg shape with embellishments tacked in place, then wet felted to finish.
I do have kits available if you want to try this at home.  It is not hard.  Remember not to squeeze when rinsing the soap out.  Wrap in a towel to absorb the excess moisture and lay in the sun or sunny room to dry.
The group was anxious to move on to bunnies and so we did.
Everyone brought alpaca fiber that they had carded into batts at home. We all were working with Suri Alpaca, so yes you can felt Suri!  Adrienne had a pretty yellow pastel that she had Dyed with Kool-aid, Christie had some gorgeous white Suri to which she added red, also dyed with kool-aid.
I was working with multi-colored rovings that I had dyed with Gaywool Dyes.  What I like about Dyeing With Gaywool is that the mordant and dyebath acidifier is formulated into the dye, which makes it simple, and there are so many pretty colors.
We divided our batts into nine pieces that we used to “build” our bunnies.  We started with the body which took the most fiber, then added legs, arms, head, ears, and tail.  Rolling the fiber tightly into the desired shapes was the “key” first step before starting to needle the fiber.
Diane used a natural color and had the help of her daughter, who found felting in cookie cutters to be much easier!  A Multi-Needle Felting Tool makes the work go much quicker, most of us used a tool with six needles.  A double or single needle was needed to get in the tight spots when adding the head and tail.
My daughter joined us, she is 13, can you tell?  I guess she didn’t want her picture taken?
When we wrapped it up, we all had some felting to do at home to firm up and finish our bunnies.  Each one looked different and had his/her own personality!
We had fun taking the time out to do something fun together, and everyone went home having learned something new to do with Alpaca Fiber!
Meet Beatrice!
And Peter!
They are definitely one-of-a-kind!

Interested in learning to needle felt?  See the Class Schedule and register for a class!  Don’t live nearby or want to try felting on your own?  It is not difficult.  Felting kits are available in The Farm Store online and in The Fiber Studio at Alpaca Meadows.

For inspiration, tutorials, and tips on needle felting bunnies, see Felted Rabbits and Bunnies!

Happy Spring!

Bead Felting Kit

Bead Felting Kit
I’ve been busy finishing up projects and getting ready for Best of the US Alpaca Show in Columbus, Ohio next weekend, March 12-14, where I will be setting up as a vendor.
 
This felting kit includes alpaca fiber in a variety of different colors for making beads, a felting needle, and detailed instructions.  The process described involves both needle and wet felting.
 
 
 There also is some suri fiber that works well for embellishing beads, be sure to pull apart and use very thin, wispy pieces.
  
I like to use a combination of both needle and wet felting.  Needling your fiber into a smooth round ball actually makes the wet felting go very quickly and makes a nicer bead.
 
 
Here I made beads and then flattened them to make buttons for my felted mittens, coming soon!

What Is Needle Felting?

Needle Felting is a craft that is easy to learn, inexpensive to do, and fun!  You can create flat objects or three dimensional objects. 
Felting Needles are straight needles with barbs cut along the shaft. When repeatedly pushed into a tuft of wool fibers, the barbs pull the fibers down, compressing and locking them together. The barbs are cut in one direction so that felting or matting together of the fibers will occur when the needle is pushed in and not when it is pulled out.
These were done in a heart cookie cutter shape with fiber I cleaned out of my drum carder – waste not, want not. So very easy!
I ran across a website called The Silver Penney.  She has posted some helpful Needle Felting Basics for Felting a Flat Shape, (without a cookie cutter) and a very helpful video on Needle Felting a 3-D Object.
This is Alpaca Felting Fiber in some shades for your Valentine’s Day projects!  It has not been carded but only needs pulled apart slightly and works great on small projects.
I’ve added a pin to the back so that it can be worn.
Or given as a Valentine.





Alpaca Meadows