Monday, October 13, 2014

How to Needle Felt a Tiger: Adding a Face

The final step to needle felting the Imari Timeless Tiger from Leigh Designs was working the face.   I dithered about what to do first but I finally decided to work the sections of the face separately.  You know from last time I needle felted the right side jaw first.

Eyes and Nose Done, Toupee In the Works

Then I put the wool roving and felting needle away and stitched his nose and eyes as I would have done if I wasn't needle felting the tiger.  The nose is padded satin stitches and the orange in the eyes is glow in the dark orange Neon Rays Plus.  Real tigers' eyes glow in the dark in the wild.  Doing the non-felted areas before felting around them seemed to work well.  After the eyes and nose were in, I started on the forehead, making sure it had more wool roving layers on top than the jaw did.  I thought that it would be natural for the forehead to be more prominent than the jaw because of the way the tiger was painted.  You are looking down on the top of his head, after all.  It looked like the tiger was wearing a toupee!  Not to worry, the more I needle felted the forehead, the better it looked.  (To see the tiger in his hairpiece, look down two photos.  They are out of order as I am talking about the logical way to proceed but took the photos as I experimented so I did things in ways I wouldn't recommend now that I have a little more experience.)

White Cheeks and Ears Added
I switched to the white wool roving and worked his cheeks next.  Ruth Schmuff says to work the light colors first, then the dark ones and finally the medium colors but doing the white last worked well even though I was worried I'd accidentally felt white onto the orange areas.  Using a single needle is key.  It keeps you from accidentally poking the tiger's stitched nose instead of the roving or from pushing white roving into orange areas.

The Needle Felted Ear and The First Layer of Wool Roving on Forehead

The next to last area is to add the ears.  If you watch YouTube videos of needle felted dimensional animals being made, you'll soon notice that features like arms and legs are made separately, then needle felted into place.  So I pinched an extra large bit of orange wool roving and worked it on my foam needle felting pad to create a dimensional oval with a wool roving "tail" sticking out at the base.  Once you have the right size, pinch the ear down the middle, felt the wool roving tail onto the forehead until it is secure, then poke down the ear crease to attach the main part of the ear.  In the photo above you see that I started my forehead with brown wool roving, then added orange on top.  Then the ear went in and more orange wool roving was added after I had the second ear in position.  You can use all orange wool roving, of course.  I wanted a color change between the forehead and the rest of the face, however.

The Timeless Tiger Finished
Finally, stem stitch the forehead stripes and whiskers through the layers of wool roving using thread and a sharp needle.  I will be finishing the rest of the design as a Leigh Designs model with stitch guide in the next few weeks and will write a complete How to Needle Felt on Needlepoint Canvas guide shortly.

But this should help anyone willing to experiment needle felt their own canvas.  Good luck!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
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© Copyright October 9, 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.

Love Stuffed Animals?

If you love stuffed needlepoint animals you will want to see the models Pocket Full of Stitches has on loan with their Sew Much Fun trunk show.

There are stuffed people, too.

Of course Sew Much Fun isn't the only designer with such animals among their designs.  Tapestry Fair has a good selection, too.

Have fun thinking about stitching one or more of these cuties!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
Blogging at
and at
© Copyright September 24,  2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.