Monday, November 25, 2013

Needle Felting: Iris

Contrary to appearances, I have been drawing – just all work stuff. Come December I have a lot of Christmas cards designs, but for now, more needle felting!

This mermaid is called Iris, and she's from the marvellous Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, which I recently got my hands on. I ordered it mainly because I love a good kids' adventure story, and I love looking at illustrations, and partly for my mother to read to her class of year threes – and I am reliably informed that it is holding the attention of even the wriggliest kids amazingly well. 

I read Sarah McIntyre's blog, and when I was suddenly given just two days notice for my first-ever school visit her experiences were invaluable – I'm not sure I would have coped without her blogging about her own school visit experiences, she gave me lots of inspiration and ideas. 

So when I was thinking of what to do to push my needle felting experiments a bit further (to see if I could do something that wasn't realistic, and wasn't out of my own head), I thought of Iris the mermaid. Sarah has lots of activities relating to Oliver and the Seawigs on her website and there is a lot relating to the naughty sea monkeys – but I thought Iris could do with more love. I loved looking at the way her hair changed in every single picture throughout the book. 

Here's a look at my felted Iris and Sarah's (far better) drawn one – this is the page I used for reference. 
As it was a bit tricky to felt all the strands in her hair and her fins, I experimented with Nylon Knitting Ribbon - it's not a natural fibre, so it doesn't actually felt, but it is an open weave so it's easy to felt it in using a bit more wool on top so it's pretty secure, and gives a pretty nice seafoamy effect. 

That's Colin the crab in her hair. 

This isn't the best likeness I've ever done, but to be fair this was the first time I'd even tried to do any kind of likeness in felt (I finished her about a week before I did yesterday's Tom Baker magnet). I can can control a pencil much more, which I suppose makes sense because I have been drawing for 25 years and felting for less than one. =P

Merino and corriedale wool with #32, #36, #38 and star felting needles. 

Iris is copyright Sarah McIntyre, Phillip Reeve and Oxford University Press 2013. And if you're looking for a Christmas present, I can recommend the book, it's great fun. 


  1. Oh my goodness, she is WONDERFUL!!! So cute, and so totally like the Iris in the book, the same warm plumpness and expression. Amazing that you could capture so much in something so small! I'm totally smitten. :D

    Thank you so much!!!!

    1. Thank *you*! I'm so glad you like her!
      I'm always looking for new things to try with needle felting, to push myself to try new things and improve, and you can't imagine how much fun I had felting Iris here – she seemed made for the medium! =)

  2. Yay! :) Just linked to you on my blog:



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