My mother needed a handmade ornament for the WA Quilters Christmas Party (not necessarily a quilted one). I needed my mother to write the family Christmas letter - so I did the ornament. And as a Christmas gift to everyone, I am posting a step-by-step tutorial on how to needle felt your own plum pudding here!
I posted these snaps as part of my Instagram Story - if you follow me on Instagram, do check out my Story, I post sneak peeks and all sorts of things in there!
Needle Felting a Christmas Plum Pudding Ornament
Use dacron toy stuffing (I'm using the filling from a cheap old pillow (well washed)) or core wool to create a ball the size you want your plum pudding. You can of course felt the whole ball in brown wool, but dacron is cheaper (and less tempting to moths). Felt the ball fairly firmly, you don't want it to shrink down too much further when you add the brown layer on. Make sure you move it around regularly while you felt, so that you get a nice even ball shape. I'm using a coarse (#32) needle here.
Felt dark brown wool (this is corriedale wool) over the top of your dacron ball. You want to felt it very firmly so that it is all smooth. Start with a #32 needle, and move up to finer needle (I'm using a #40 spiral needle, but a #40 regular needle would be fine) so that the surface is smooth and compact.
Take some white wool roving (this is merino) for the icing. Take twists of the roving and lay them down the sides of the pud as drips - this way you can gauge how far the drips should go, aesthetically, before you felt them in. These twists will form a sort of map for where to add extra wool to build up the icing - you don't want it too thin or the brown will show through. I like to add extra wool at the bottom of the drips. When you've got the drips felted in, add extra roving to the top so that there is a smooth topping with no gaps. I used a #32 needle to start off the icing, and then smoothed them off with a #40.
It is at this point that you want to add your hanger. Take some string or ribbon of your choice - a nice thin ribbon is best, as it doesn't overwhelm the ornament itself. Tie a knot with each end of the ribbon to form a loop. Then take a needle and thread and stitch the knot down to the top of the pud, nice and firmly so it won't come loose. This can be messy, because we're going to cover it up.
Take some extra white wool and felt it over and around the knot, to cover up the fact that we didn't bother to do pretty stitching.
Time for decoration! Use a #40 needle to felt tiny little red balls and green leaf shapes. Pick the leaf shapes up and turn them over regularly while you are felting them flat, or you will felt them into your foam. Step 6 of my Needle Felted Robin Earrings Tutorial gives more information on felting these shapes. Once you've felted the leaf shapes fairly firmly, you can trim off the edges with sharp scissors so that they are clean shapes.
Felt the berries and leaves around the base of the hanger. It's up to you how many you felt, depending on how big you have made them, and how you want to arrange them. When you feel you've got enough, move on to the next step.
I like Christmas tree ornaments to have a bit of sparkle to reflect the Christmas tree lights, so I took some glass beads - in clear, red and gold - and stitched them over the pud in a scattered pattern.
As a final touch, I added some glitter - this is a frosty holographic glitter that I happened to see when I was delving in my craft cupboard and just couldn't resist. Sprinkle your glitter sparingly over the top of the pud, and then spray the whole thing with a light covering of fixative or hairspray, to help keep the sparkles in place. I'm sure they'll fall off eventually - although the texture of the felting will help keep the glitter on. I considered spraying on some adhesive, but decided against it - I didn't want a sticky pud!
Here are some more photos:
Here you can see that I added a single drip of icing on one side of the pudding.
Yes, it was a bit windy while I was taking photos!