Needle Felting – Bigbury-on-Sea

I have come home for a week to recover from the Turtle Wedding and see my family following the long-term leave from my job giving me muchos spare time. I stopped at a petrol station near Sidbury, Devon, on my way home, and to my absolute delight, in front of the counter was a huge stack of alpaca yarn.

Having been dreaming about crafting all the way to Devon – one of the reasons I no longer like driving is because you can’t knit and drive – this was literally a dream come true. I decided not to buy any yarn – I do have five fleeces waiting for me to spin at home – but a needle-felting collage kit for £9 caught my eye and I snapped it up.

Needle Felting Collage – Bigbury-on-Sea

The alpaca farm doing these felting kits is Bearhouse Alpacas in Sidbury, Devon. Oddly enough, Wonder-Granused to house-sit this farm. At the time I wasn’t into fibre-art and couldn’t care less, but how I wish I hadn’t been so silly back then!

The kit all packaged up and ready to go.
The kit all packaged up and ready to go.

My parents are moving to Bigbury-on-Sea next week for the duration of their house renovations, and I decided to base my collage on that. The trip to Cornwall in August inspired me to try natural scenes, so I chose the iconic Burgh Island as my subject. Mum already owns an oil painting of Burgh Island by Annabel Gregory, a Modbury local.

Painting of Burgh Island by Annabel Gregory, commissioned for mum's birthday.
Painting of Burgh Island by Annabel Gregory, commissioned for mum’s birthday.

For a bit more background – I know a lot of people will never have heard of the island – this is where Agatha Christie was inspired to write “And Then There Were None”, has a huge art deco hotel on the island and an abandoned ancient monastery at the top of the island. “The Great White Palace” by Tony Porter was written based on the Burgh Island Hotel, and the Pilchard Inn is a rather excellent pub that is one of five buildings on the island.

Anyway, I got started on the collage this morning, and seven hours later with a break in the middle for soup, I had finished it. I love the kit, I think it’s brilliant – you get a big white flat piece with smaller pieces of black, tan and dark brown, and bits of fleece of the same. I spent ages composing the image and playing with fibres. It was a lot of fun.

Burgh Island, needle-felted in alpaca wool by Corrie!
Burgh Island, needle-felted in alpaca wool by Corrie!

One note of the not-so-good-stuff, however, is that having felted with sheep wool and with alpaca now, I have to say that I didn’t like the fibre itself. For one thing – it’s so luxurious that it felt like a complete and utter waste to make a picture of it, and I didn’t enjoy that. Also, my respiratory system is relatively sensitive – I get bad hayfever and coughs, and inhaling the finer fibres has irritated me and I’m feeling a bit wheezy tonight. I don’t think I will felt from alpaca fleece again, but I have ordered the last of their summer fleeces which will arrive tomorrow so that I can spin with it!

I think the kit is great, though. You get two needles and a big cube of foam, and the fibre they’ve included is obviously the bits they couldn’t spin, so that made me feel less guilty. I’m fairly proud of the picture, and mum is planning to frame it and stick it up on a wall. Hurrah! I thoroughly recommend this, especially at the price which is incredible.

Have any of you tried needle felting? What do you think?

Much love,

Corrie xx

All views are my own. I bought this kit myself and was not asked to review it.

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