Sculpt wool into felted fruits and vegetables or anything imaginable!
From the column DIY: Needle It
In the needle felting tutorial on page 119 of Volume 02, Brookelynn details basic needle felting technique, showing you the skills to sculpt anything you can imagine. Here are specific tips on creating each of the fabulous fruits and vegetables shown in Volume 02.
The variety of colors in a wool collection are the felt-maker's most valuable asset. To conserve favorite colors when constructing a large piece, a core of white batting can be made. Then the white form can be covered with the shade of choice.
Begin the carrot by rolling white batting in between your palms. Roll one end tightly into a point, leaving the other end wide and loose. Use the smallest gauge, triangle-shaped needle to begin. Needle the point first, and then up the sides, turning the wool as often as possible. Work the shape to create the proportions you like the best. When needling the wide end of the carrot, leave it open and more loose than the point. It should have room to take in the green top stems and leaves into it. The white version can be a bit smaller than the finished project; it will grow somewhat as you layer on the color.
Next, take thin and small amounts of orange wool and apply it all around the shape. With a larger gauge, triangle-shaped needle, add the colored wool evenly around the point and up the sides. A light touch is best. Make sure whenever adding color that the needle does not push through the wool and out the other side. To properly cover the point, lay wool so that it hangs off the end, and fold it over to cover. Layer, layer, and layer the orange until no white can be seen. Now choose placement for the rings; at the point of the carrot, these rings are closer together than at the top. With the largest-gauge star needle, work them into the surface by stabbing as much as you can in a perfect circle around the carrot.
Now begin making the top and leaves. The carrot's top is 1/2 to 3/4 the length of the carrot's orange base. Use a natural, grassy green. Pull long, thin pieces of batting, and twist them between your fingers. Twist them tightly until they are looking almost like yarn. Hold the twisted ends down by using felting needles to tack them to the work surface. Work them well so that they retain the narrow shape. Go up and down the stems with the needle and add bits and blobs of green to form leaves. The carrots pictured have five or six stems each. Add them to the carrot one at a time by stabbing them deeply into the center of the top. The deeper they are pushed into the carrot the better.
The Sliced Carrot
Follow all the steps for the whole carrot but instead of making it long and pointed, make it short and stumpy. Then use orange wool to sculpt the slices. Make the largest slice as wide as the carrot part with the top. Make each additional slice proportionately smaller. The nib of the carrot is the last piece, and adds to the realism.
This piece is a perfect example of using a white core to the greatest advantage. Make a white tube. One end gets rounded and the other is left as flat as possible. When it is the size you like, begin to cover it with a wool that is very dark green. To create the impression that this green is the skin, layer the wool on in the smallest amounts possible. When adding wool, do your best to keep the green fibers from showing through the flat white front. If too much green can be seen on the end, add white to cover.
After the dark green has been applied, choose a lighter green for the stripes. The cucumber shown has 6 stripes formed with 3 light green strings. Twist a very small amount of the light green into one string with ends that taper off. With the cucumber standing on its flat face, lay the green stripe over the round end. Place the middle of the green stripe at the apex of the cucumber, letting the pointy ends drape over the sides to create the thin stripes. As gently as possible, attach them to the shape. Make more double-ended light green stripes, and cross them over the first with the ends creating the stripes all around the cucumber. Where they intersect, needle a small, flat, brown circle to create the place where the stem formed.
The slices are white circles with a dark green edge. You can make a thin white disc and then add a dark green skin. Or you can make one dark green disc and two white discs, then sandwich them together to create the same effect. Tread lightly with the needle to keep the colors from showing through the other side. When these pieces have all been made, use olive green wool to add little seeds in the center of the cucumber and its slices.
Cherries can be made in pairs, or singly, with or without stems. Form them by rubbing red batting into balls with your hands, much the same way you would make a ball of dough. Then needle them lightly all over, turning and turning and turning them as you go. For extra realism, choose a side of the cherry to be the bottom, and work a slight crevice into it. Make two of these for a pair.
Twist brown yarn as tightly in your fingers as you can. Tack it to your work surface and needle it into stems. Insert one end into the top of each cherry. The deeper you work it into the center, the better it sticks up out of the fruit. Fold the stem in the middle, and needle it to form the place where the cherries grew together. With green, make a nice thin leaf and add it to the top of the brown stem. Cherries can be made in pairs, or singly, with or without stems.
The lemon with a slice taken from it is first made with a white core. With one or two small gauge needles, work white batting into a rounded shape that narrows at each end. The most difficult part is making the empty space where the slice was taken out. Keep in mind that you want a crease down the fruit on one side that has depth to the center of the fruit. This is where visualization skills come into play. It isn't easy to imagine the center of something that hasn't even been formed. As the lemon comes into form, needle the rim where the slice is missing by turning the lemon so the edge lies on the work surface. While working the fruit, more and more white batting can be added where necessary.
For the peel and the flesh, choose two different shades of yellow, or use just one. Cover the outside of the lemon by working layers of yellow onto the white form. When placing the wool for the flesh, leave a narrow gap of white showing between the flesh and peel. This is the pith. Evenly place the colored wool to create a smooth line of white pith all around the fruit's missing slice. A little asymmetry will make the lemon seem more real. The tiny white seed is made of barely any batting, and is needled into place delicately.
The final details of the lemon are the stem, leaf, and seed. The stem of the lemon is thicker than the stem for the cherry or carrot. Choose a dark brown wool and twist it into a stem that is proportionate to the rest of the fruit. Needle it into one end. Also attach a thick moss green leaf. Needle along the length of the leaf to create a crease.
To replicate these grapes, first create a large core with white batting. It should be wide and round at the top and then taper to the bottom. This form can be quite lumpy and unfinished. Make sure there is a good deal of surface area. Choose purple or green for the grapes. They should not be fully round like the cherries; rather they should look more like tadpoles with a tail to stab into the core. If you work the wool cleverly with your fingers, the number of stabs needed to form the grapes can be minimalized. Make a grape and then stick it to the core, starting at the top of the cluster. Then make the next grape and nestle it close to the first. In this way, continue making and then adding the grapes. Vary the shape and size of each to give a more real effect. Twist and needle a thick, light brown vine into the top of the bunch of grapes.
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- Felted Fruits and Veggies!!!
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I've been felting fruits and veggies for the past couple years and selling them at craft fairs. These look awesome and I'm going to take what I can from them and improve mine!
Posted by Goobie on October 22, 2009 at 15:41:32 Pacific Time
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