Needle felting with cutters is the ideal beginners project. You can create any shape without the need to be highly skilled whilst protecting your fingers from getting a little stabbed with the needle.
Needle Felting Supplies
you will need roving wool in any colour of your choice. Then you will need a set of needles, normal needles won’t do! If you want to learn more about the best wool for needle felting have a little look at our other articles.
Then take a look at some of the cookie cutters you already own, or try some here. We go for metal ones but just be aware that the end of your needle will be brittle and susceptible to damage if you hit the metal.
Using the Cookie Cutters
This will take around twenty minutes. You can hold it between finger and thumb to feel if it is thick enough.
If the cookie cutter is massive it will take longer. If you ant a more dense shape it will also take longer.
We will put the stars into a mobile for a gift, but the hearts will form part of a little valentines garland.
Waffle Stitch is one of those crochet stitches that look super effective and are actually relatively easy. I hope to show you an easy tutorial to make your own soft cotton face cloths.
You will need some cotton double knit. Now I love a variety pack and get them like this because you can make little matching sets for different family members. It is practical to make them different colours so that you have separate face cloths.
Get yourself a set of these
and you will be set for any project. For this one we will need a size 4 hook.
YouTube Tutorial for Waffle Stitch Face Cloth
How to start waffle stitch
You will be working a chain in threes. So for the face cloth we are thinking about 21 or 24 chains, on a 4mm hook. For a baby blanket around 60 will be good, don’t forget you will be using thicker wool so a 5mm hook will be great.
Once you have chained to a multiple of three you must add a further four chains on.
Then you will need to complete a treble into the second stitch from the hook. The treble is fully explained in the video but you want to wrap the hook before feeding it through and then bring one more back with you.
You will need to put a treble into the top of each of your chain stitches. When you get to the end of the first row you will chain one. Now for the waffle stitch part.
We turn it round and complete a treble back into the top of the first stitch Now we can decide which of the two row repeats we want to make. I go for a treble into the top of the first stitch, followed by a treble from behind the next stitch. So I will then do another one from behind. It is not pulling through any stitching but pulling the whole treble forward. This then creates the waffle stitch look. Two forward and one from on top.
When we get to the end we always give it one chain and then turn and treble into the top of the end stitch. Then we flip the pattern to keep pulling the waffle stitch pattern. Now instead of two trebles from behind we do one treble from behind and two from the top. Carry on until the end and then create our chain one and turn to repeat the second row again and so on.
Getting the pattern even
To finish it is really important that you do not give only half of the start, as you can see here it is not even. You can see that the top section is half as high as the bottom so make sure you give one more row. This is now more even.
Waffle Stitch blanket
I made this gorgeous blanket for my friend as a housewarming present and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
When you go for a blanket this big just do all of your chain stitches until it looks the right length. Then count them and work out if they divide into three. Then add your four more chains and start the treble back into it as above. I managed to do an entire ball of wool an evening but had to buy softer grip crochet hooks as a result!
Good luck and please do share with us if you have enjoyed making them!
The best wool to use for needle felting is called roving. This is not a well organised and teased fleece, but a clean and carded wool that can be easily meshed together. The principles of the needle are that the barbs allow us to entangle the strands. Roving wool allows this to happen easily. The more messy the wool to start with the easier it becomes. It is not a science. However you can get started easily.
You want to be able to pull it apart gently and keep the fleece in line ready to manipulate.
Best wool for beginners needle felting projects
This wool is 100% Natural Wool Roving and perfect for making needle felting projects. It is from Corriedale cross sheep and you are also helping support an industry which has been established since 1955.
Perfect if you want an undyed roving wool, but for more vibrancy you could go for because with this kit you get 50 Colors Fibre Wool Yarn Roving . So you can be as creative as you like. It also gives you perfect freedom to play around.
Needle felting accessories
You will also need a good quality one of these! This one is also rather cute as it is made from natural wool.
These are fancy and it will save you time in the future that they are colour coded too! there are other brands available but these really will be a life saver in the future.
Needle Felting Projects For Beginners
We love to be creative and hope that everyone can find our Needle Felted Baubles nice and easy for your first project. We are using our new skills to work out the best rare breed sheep for our small holding. So that we can use all of our own produce.
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Hot chocolate stirrers make wonderful gifts for a class at Christmas, or as favours for a winter wedding! If we are honest they can get expensive if you are buying ready made ones! Even though they look sumptuous they are also often wrapped in single use plastics.
Then you are also going to need some Wooden Teaspoons these ones are fully biodegradable and will go straight on the compost after use. All very in keeping with an Eco-Friendly Christmas or wedding, party any excuse really! The basis of hot chocolate stirrers are wooden spoons!
Making the Chocolate Stirrers
This is a good family activity and will be lovely as a gift for class mates at the end of year. However there is a lot of heat when we melt the chocolate, so depending on skill levels adults may be in charge of pouring.
To melt the chocolate we used a saucepan with a pyrex dish on it. The saucepan has water in it and the dish sits on top without touching the water at all. Break the chocolate down into small pieces. One bar of cooking chocolate will make around 4 spoons of very full chocolate. It has to be cooking chocolate as we want the stirrers to work in hot milk. The chocolate just needs to melt and not cook at all.
Keep stirring and when it has all melted take it from the heat. Then you can pour into the silicon cupcakes.
Watch our wonderfully awful video showing how easy it is to get the sticks to stand up! It is an epic fail but we did enjoy it and got them to stand tall eventually, but that is why we now use wooden spoons not sticks! Our epic fail is your triumph!
Now to make them unique…
Make your hot chocolate spoons unique!
The beauty of DIY hot chocolate stirrers is that you can load those spoons with all of their favourite things. Marshmallows, hundreds and thousands, lace it with alcohol anything you like.
If you are melting the chocolate over the hob it is the ideal time to add small amounts of alcohol at a time. This will not split the cooking chocolate and will depend on how you want it to turn out. We love Baileys in ours as it goes so well in hot chocolate.
If you are adding marshmallows use some patience! Wait until it is cooler. Then sprinkle on top. We use the mini marshmallows to hold the spoons in place as well!
The time has come and our ex-battery hens will be ready for collection in a few weeks time. We are waiting patiently and have really been looking forward to this moment. However this is a massive responsibility and one we have researched thoroughly. I still feel those nerves in the pit of my stomach, but we want to have a fox proof happy home for our hens to roam around.
Do ex-battery hens lay eggs?
Yes they do, we will be collecting them when they are already around 18 months old. This means that in the world of battery chickens they have reached their usefulness and will no longer be laying consistently. We will be taking on four girls and hope to have a few eggs a day from them. Things like giving them plenty of protein in their diets will help, so a tasty example would be DRIED MEALWORMS which we will add in to their feed. In fun ways – obviously.
Once they are free roaming they will find their own sustenance and that is why we have been using natural pesticides only in our garden.
How long do battery hens live?
In the world of commerce they would be used for pet food or chicken paste at 18 months. In reality once they have arrived with you, they could live happily for many more years to come, laying for the majority of that time.
Where can I find ex-battery hens for rehoming?
By using a charity like British Hen Welfare Trust you can extend their lives and give them real happiness. Once you register you are put in contact with the hen rehoming team and it is all very much geared around their welfare and looking after them! Just the way we like it.
What do I need in terms of a chicken coop or run?
Think fox and think fox again. You need a coop of sturdy construction that will prevent Mr fox from wriggling under and attacking your rehomed hens. Chicken Coop, this is the model we are going for. There is easy access to the rear to clean out and it has a bit of roaming space for the hens. Alongside this we will be allowing them to free range the rest of the garden.
How many hens should we rehome?
We have thought long and hard about this as our garden space is so big. However the hens we rehome will be our first and we want to get it right. So we have gone for four initially. Hoping that the pecking order will not push one out to be on her own. Also the above coop is big enough for up to 6 hens so it should mean plenty of space to roost and bed down each night.
What else do I need for my ex-battery hens?
I am buying these 3 Litre Economy Drinker and 3kg Economy Feeder Red and White Set as we want to go to work in the day and trust that they will be okay. They may come across as being bird brained but they are intelligent animals so I will be making lots of fun toys for them to peck their way through. Not being particularly fussy eaters will help a lot with this! I can imagine that whatever has been eating my courgette will stop once the chickens are free ranging, only for the chickens to start.
We are so excited and will be finding our way throughout this journey, please do subscribe and find out more. Small steps to our bigger dream of a smallholding. I hope that we can show you how to raise battery hens in your own back garden too.