Friday, 3 February 2017

Totally nailed it.......

If, like me, you spend A LOT of time on Pinterest (ostensibly doing 'research' 😉) you'll probably have discovered a wealth of 'Nailed It' photos.

You know the sort of thing.... you see a 'how to' tutorial on Pinterest and think...

"Blimey I could do that!  It looks so EASY!  In fact I can think of a few tweaks right now which would make it even better!"

Then you have a go yourself and proudly post the results.

For example....

Now, I've never been one to mock other peoples attempts at trying something for the first time.  

Laugh myself silly... yes.  Mock....definitely not!
We all have to start somewhere and there's no such thing as being ace at any craft right from the get-go.

So when I signed up to do a local needle felting class recently, it was more in hope than expectation that I would end up with anything remotely resembling a dog brooch.

Or, to be more precise, a Small Dog brooch.

It wasn't a beginner's class, but hey... I'm a craft artisan.  I can do stuff.  Right?  Surely I could pick up the basics on my own first?

I'm sure the tutor had her reservations, as I'd never picked up a felting needle before, but I begged and she relented.  That was several weeks ago and I was supremely confident that I would swiftly progress through the basics with the help of Pinterest tutorials and You Tube videos.

After all.... other people had clearly managed to do the same.

Anyway, I found a really easy teddy bear video.  This is what I was trying to achieve.

Apparently, according to the tutor, really, REALLY easy.  Two spheres and four cylinder shapes, plus 2 flat semicircles.

This is my attempt.....

Like.... TOTALLY nailed it!
If there was a market for wonky, misshapen, mutant zombie bears I'd be way ahead of the competition.  I was understandably a bit deflated when I finished, but as I sat regarding it, I began to giggle.

When I showed it to PP she started laughing too then the laughter turned to tears-rolling- down-my-face hysteria. It was some time before solemnity returned, with the stark realisation that I was soon to take part in a needle felting class and I was entirely likely to completely embarrass myself.

The class was held this morning and I arrived at the house with a sense of trepidation.  It's not often I'm on student's side of the table and I felt a tad nervous.  Also it rapidly became apparent that the other four students had attended several classes before, so they all knew what they were doing.  

No pressure then.

The class was run by Valerie May, a lovely lady who instantly put me at ease with a cup of tea and a biscuit.  Her gorgeous Bouvier dog, Evie, gave me an encouraging nudge and we all took our seats at the table, already laid out with examples of what we would (hopefully!) be making, and a lovely goodie bag for each of us. 

Over the course of the session, Valerie patiently led us through all the steps to make a 2-dimensional dog of our choice, to be mounted on a brooch pin.  The more experienced felters quickly romped ahead while I plodded valiantly on, hoping against hope that I wouldn't stab myself, or be first to break my needle.

Unbelievably I did neither, although two others required Band-Aids and there were several snapped needles.  I'm sure that as confidence increases, flesh wounds are more likely.  I was extremely careful with the viciously pointed, barbed needle but as a result I was much, much slower.

I had optimistically taken along a few photos of Small Dog to act as a reference.

"I want to make one like this....."

To their credit, not a single person raised their eyebrows or tittered at my ambition.

Now.... I know that you are all absolutely desperate to see what I made but before I do, I have to point out that I didn't have time to add the brooch on the back, so this is just the basic dog.

So without further ado.... I give you.....

*drum roll*

Tah dah!!!

Now, I know what you're thinking.  And you'd be right.  It's not a dead ringer for Small Dog. If I'm honest I think the tail is the best bit.  


It is indisputably a dog, therefore I win.

At the end of the class, Valerie very generously gave us each an extra dog kit, plus we were able to choose another 6 different wool bundles.  So when I got home, flushed with success, I immediately set about making another, smaller Small Dog.

Still far from perfect but a big improvement on my first attempt.  She's got a little leather collar and I even managed to make little back paws.

It will be some time before I can manage a proper 3-dimensional Small Dog, but I'm inspired to give it a go.

If you're relatively local to Hastings I'd thoroughly recommend Valerie's workshops.  She's informative, unflappable, patient and encouraging... all the elements of a good tutor.
You will find her website HERE 

I'm also inspired by her wonderful faux taxidermy and am wondering just how small it's possible to go....  1/12th scale doll's house faux taxidermy perhaps?

Predictably, Small Dog was less than impressed by my creation, although she did subject me to a very thorough 'Stop and Sniff' interrogation when I got home, accusing me (rightly) of consorting with other dogs.



PP (Pam) said...

You should feel very proud. After Utube and a little tuition from you, mine turned out far worse... ohhhh I cant add a photo :( Anyway it was supposed to be a mouse.... a short legged mouseish type creature :)

rosanna said...

I think it's very cute and anyway: Nisciuno nasce imparato (Napoli proverb) aka Nobody was born learned.
Keep felting :o) and have fun

Sandra Morris said...

PP.... I'll post a photo of your mouse tomorrow. It's much better than my first attempt!

Rosanna.... Yes, absolutely. I'm going to use that as my new mantra! :)

Robin said...

I'm impressed mate! I was given a kit last wouldn't want to see the fat bird I managed to make. Maybe you've inspired me to get it out again.

Sandra Morris said...

Robin... your fat bird can't be any worse than my zombie bear! Apparently practice makes perfect... who knew? ;)

Elizabeth S said...

This post made me giggle and I am still at it whilst I am writing! :D
I have to applaud your efforts Sandra, I haven't tied needle felting but I've watched it being done and thought " that looks easy", yet I know it isn't.
I will say though, that your zombie teddy bear is One of a Kind and looks to be as well loved as the Velveteen Rabbit, so please DON'T ever change him!

Megan Wallace said...

Wa ha, you should have seen my first attempts. I might also mention that making a teddy bear if you are not a 'teddy bear maker' is not as easy as you might think. It's all about placement of features and proportion. Looking at your little bear I would say there's very little wrong with your grasp of the needle felting process.
The dogs are much better already.
Looking forward to seeing what you make next!

Sandra Morris said...

Elizabeth... yes definitely OOAK. And never to be repeated!

Megan... using felt to make the eyes was probably a mistake. I'd have been better to use tiny glass beads then at least they'd both be the same size. I can definitely see an improvement in my felting technique over the course of making the three pieces though, but it will be a very long time before I'm able to craft anything saleable.

NarinaNäpertää said...

I think your doggy came out okay :)

I admire those who can do needle felting - I tried it once and it was literally too painful
to me.
I hit my fingers more that the felt - after I had pierced tree of my fingers quite well I gave up and decided I'd better leave it to those who actually can do it..

Perhaps I give it another try someday - until that day comes I just have drool over others works.

Thanks for the giggles ;)
Hugs, Irina

Contrastes-Rosa Mª said...

Me parece fantástico lo que nos acabas de mostrar y el ejemplo de poner los intentos, seguro que con un poco de práctica pronto veremos verdaderas maravillas:-)

Sandra Morris said...

Espero que María!