PlanetJune Craft Blog

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needlefelted alpaca

A long weekend makes the perfect opportunity to start a new craft project. I’ve been dying to do something with the alpaca fleece I bought from my Alpaca Loom trip a couple of weeks ago, and I thought a suitable first project would be to try needlefelting an alpaca (fibre) Alpaca (animal) – and I’m so happy with how it turned out!

needlefelted alpaca by planetjune

I’ve needlefelted only once before, and reading my previous blog post, I see that was almost exactly 9 years ago(!), so I think that qualifies me as an absolute beginner again…

If you’d like to try needlefelting (particularly to make animals), I recommend the video tutorials at Sarafina Fiber Art. After watching a few hours of those, I felt ready to jump in and just learn by doing. My fleece was a lot shorter than the roving Sara uses, so my learning curve was a bit steeper than I was expecting, but I got there in the end. And, after maybe 5 hours of very slow but enjoyable progress, here’s what I ended up with:

needlefelted alpaca by planetjune

I started with a pipe cleaner armature for stability and used animal eyes (without the backs), but everything else is pure alpaca fleece. I tried to loosely attach a top layer to make it look more fuzzy, and added a little fluffy topknot as a finishing touch.

needlefelted alpaca by planetjune

I’m very much still a beginner, but it’s so satisfying to see the animal slowly start to take shape, and there’s something extra-special about knowing you’re making an animal sculpture from that animal’s own fibre.

I only used a tiny fraction of my fleece, and I can already see I’m going to making more needlefelted animals, when I have time. (I also have some acrylic needlefelting fibre – thanks Alison! – that I’ve been scared to waste, so I’m looking forward to trying some more colourful animal sculptures once I’ve built a bit more confidence with the basic shaping techniques.)

It’s very freeing to make things in a different way from my usual crochet, where I can build up layers if it’s not quite right, and not have to worry about how to explain what I did to anyone. It’s good to have a new hobby 🙂

Have you ever tried needlefelting? Isn’t it fun?

7 Comments »

  1. Alanis said

    Needle felting is so fun and amazing, you can make so many things from just wool and a needle or hook, whether it’s knitting, crochet, or even felting and that’s the thing that brings all woolwork together!

    • June said

      Yes! And also spinning, weaving, tatting… there are still so many interesting crafts I have yet to try 🙂

  2. Jennifer said

    That. Is. Adorable! I love your alpaca Alpaca! I have never tried needlefelting, but I have seen some amazing little sculptures made using the technique. I might be tempted, but I am really trying not to acquire more new hobbies/crafts/arts because I just don’t seem able to find adequate time for the different ones I am already attempting to pursue. I apparently need a lot more hours per day…..You seem able to carry on multiple creative interests successfully, however! Maybe you need to write a blog post on the secret to finding more creative time! = )

    • June said

      I wish I knew that secret, Jennifer! I have many more crafts and hobbies (and new things I want to try) than I have time or energy to practice… Lots of unused materials and neglected plans here!

      But I almost always get around to playing with everything at some point, so I don’t let myself feel guilty for buying craft tools and supplies, even if it takes a decade to use them (I’m looking at you, felting equipment!)

      And my best tip is that I make sure to always have at least one project in progress near the sofa, so I always have some sort of craft to work on whenever I’m sitting around watching TV. I don’t feel right if my hands aren’t busy with something…

      • Jennifer said

        Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one with unused materials and equipment that I may not get to for a really long time, and lots of unfulfilled ideas and plans! Maybe I’ll eventually get around to it all somehow….. = ) We all just need to keep on making! = )

  3. muna saigol said

    Amazing first effort

    • June said

      Thank you, Muna! I impressed myself, actually 🙂

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    June Gilbank

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