Beginner Tutorial – Startled Sheep


Some of the equipment you will need

You will need:

  • Core wool
  • Hamanaka Felting Yarn in pale grey (available from SweetPeaDolls)
  • Pink top colour (I used pink perendale from The Felt Box)
  • Black top colour (I used black Hamanaka Aclaine from SweetPeaDolls)
  • A small pinch of white fibre
  • 2 x 6mm black beads
  • Fabric Glue
  • Needle and black thread
  • Grey embroidery thread
  • Black polymer clay

Making the sheep

Step 1 – Using your core wool make an oblong shape approximately x cm x cm. It should be relatively neat and firm, but you don’t need to make the surface too neat – it’s going to get covered up anyway!

Step 1

Step 2 – Using the black Hamanaka* make a small ball Xcm x xcm. Keep it a little squishy so that the eyes sink in a little when you add them. Felt the top of the ball in on each side to create the shape below.

*I used Hamanaka Aclaine for the black because it is fast felting, neat and omits the need for core wool on small pieces. If you do choose to use a different fibre, you will probably need to make a core shape for the head and cover it in a black top colour.

Step 2

Step 3 – Sew the two beads onto the face – pull the thread tightly so that the beads sink into a more natural position. I put the right-hand eye slightly below centre (this will help make it look as though the sheep is looking at its pulled wool in shock).

Step 3

Step 4 – Take the small piece of white fibre and felt it onto the face around each bead, to give the eyes some expression. There’s a lot you can do here to make an alarmed expression, but for this piece I made added a wide white border around each bead to make the eyes look really wide.

Step 4a
Step 4b

Using your grey embroidery thread, sew a large, wide X across the sheep’s nose area to create the nose/mouth.

Step 5 – Sew the body to the head by inserting your needle through the bottom of the body and bringing it up through the neck and then into the head. For security do this twice (or the head may end up wobbling precariously on the body).

Step 5

Step 6 – Take a small section of the pink fibre and wrap it around the sheep’s bottom. You need it to be thick enough so that none of the core shows through and, as this area will be visible, it needs to be felted down smoothly. Use a 38 needle for this step.

Step 6a
Step 6b

Step 7 – Take your Hamanaka Felting Yarn and felt the end securely into the back of the neck where the head meets the body.

Step 7

Step 8 – Wrap the yarn around the sheep’s neck and felt it onto your core, felting between every loop of the yarn. You don’t want to felt the loop parts, as this is what gives it its woolly texture.

When you wrap the fibre around the neck you need it to be very level. The direction of the wool will be visible on the finished sheep, so it needs to be level and even. Fortunately this is not difficult.

Step 8

Step 9 – Continue to wrap the fibre around the body, remembering to keep it level and even the whole time, and continuing to only felt down the yarn between the loops. It really is as simple as that.

One thing to remember is that this fibre is thin and because of the contrasting colour of the yarn and the core any gaps between each row will show. Therefore as you start each new row you will need to make sure it’s positioned tightly against the preceding row.

Continue felting the fibre in this manner until all of the core wool is covered and only the pink fibre is left uncovered. Stop felting it at the approximate point where the hip would be and cut the yarn free from the ball, leaving a tail roughly 6 inches long.

Step 9

Step 10 – Felt the end of a new length of the Hamanaka Felting Yarn directly into the top centre of the head.

Step 10

Step 11 – Felt the yarn around the crown of the head in an open circle.

Step 11

Step 12 – Continue felting in ever decreasing circles until the whole area has been filled. Cut the yarn free from the ball and felt the end into the scalp.

Step 12

Step 13 – Make four short cylinders from your black polymer clay, approximately 1cm long and 30mm wide.

Step 13

Step 14 – Take each cylinder and roll half of it between your fingers to elongate the tube. This part should now be half the width of the un-rolled end and at least twice as long.

Step 14

Step 15 – Using the side of a sewing needle or similar, mark the fat end of each leg with a deep(ish) line, so that the feet look more hoof-like. Gently bend two of the legs as below – these will now be the arms.

Step 15

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Step 16

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Step 17

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Step 19 –

Step 19