Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Part 4: needle me this!

floral design needle felted woolly egg

Last year I started a series on decorating your woolly eggs, sharing ideas and tips to aid the embellishing process. Today I would like to add a few more tutorials to finish up the series. Be sure to check out the older series to get you and your eggs caught up:

A quick and easy embellishing technique is the use of a little needle felting and roving, acrylic felt pieces and yarn scraps to create simple designs. Below are a few examples of this technique.

The trick is simple, simple, simple. Did I mention simple? Why? Because you don't need a huge amount of 'wow' factor, especially if the effect is cumulative, meaning a bowl of decorated eggs. One or two highly decorative eggs is Grade A perfect!

So, let's say you've made your striped and solid eggs, and now all you need is a little decoration to make that dozen eggs CRACK (so to speak)! The orange egg's floral motif, above, was all needle felting using pink and orange wool roving. Wisps of roving were needle felted into a simple flower shape. Layers of color can be easily added by pulling thin pieces of roving and laying it atop of each color. I blanket stitched along the flower's edges to give it additional color. I also embroidered several French knots in the flower's center for color and texture. The leaves are acrylic felt cut into leaf shapes, then needle felted onto the egg. I embroidered these too, giving more detail but it isn't required. The curly vines are fingering weight yarn needle felted into curls and squiggles about the egg. These can be added at any time in the design.

polka dots added using wool yarn plies pulled apart
Another fun needle felting technique is to create simple polka dots using either wool roving/yarn and/or larger circles cut from acrylic felt.

The polka dotted eggs shown on the left were created using all the same yarns they were knitted with: embroidery and polka dots. To achieve this look, cut several one-inch lengths of same wool yarn and pull the plies apart for each length. Rub the plies between your fingers creating little pieces of wool fluff. The more fluff the larger the dots. Roll the fluff in the palms of your hands to dorm a small dot. Place the dot on the egg and using the felting needle, poke the roving into position. The dots can either be left slightly raised or flattened smooth with the wool underneath.

To create even larger dots, trace coins (pennies, dimes, quarters) onto a piece of colorful acrylic felt and then cut them out. Using an all-purpose felting needle, poke them down onto your wool egg until the felt lays flat and even with the wool. Your friends will think you knitted them like that! The secret is ours.
cookie cutter leaves

Fancier designs can be added using small cookie cutters traced onto felt and needle felted to your egg. The Woolly Pumpkin, shown right, used large leaf cookie cutters.  Cookie cutter designs are usually simple, making the dough easier to manipulate and get the desired results. The simple lines and detail give the illusion of a leaf and its overall shape. The vein lines were embroidered afterwards on top of each leaf, adding further detail, texture, as well as further secure the leaves to the pumpkin. Remember to secure the felt or roving to your eggs to insure your eggs can be touched, admired and bring delight for many years to come!

Happy knitting!