One of my cousins is having a baby, and today we went to her baby shower. Never being exactly what you might call flush with cash, I thought it might be nice to give her a handmade gift, so I put together a felted rattle. They don't know if the baby is a girl or boy, so I went unisex on the colours, and her maiden name is Mutton, so I chose a sheep as the base.
This was quite a learning curve, as I incorporated wet felting, and also learnt how to bleach wool using a mild peroxide solution, which got me a much nicer, creamier colour from the natural wool that's been sitting greasily in the back room for 20-odd years.
I didn't have a rattle insert, so had to compromise with beads in a plastic capsule – which was really far too big, and very difficult to felt around. If I'd had a smaller insert I would have been able to make the sheep more of a cloud shape.
The beads and basic shape of the sheep were roughly needle felted, and then chucked in the washing machine and wet-felted. I then needle felted the brown and the details on top.
The front of the sheep, the side I'm happiest with, is awake:
And the back side is asleep. This side didn't work as well as I planned, but I don't think it looks too bad.
The beads are sewn on six times with doubled and quadrupled heavy-duty thread, and then the stitches were felted over and the beads felted together, so it's pretty sturdy. The details have also been felted in really tightly.
Merino and Corridale wool with 'fine' and 'coarse' needles.