THE PATTERN: This is one of the newest felted applique patterns. My quilt top measures 31" high x 37" wide. There are 13 different sheep drawings that you cut out of wool fabric. These appliques then get poked with a hand felting tool, into the background blocks to tack them down so they don't move. Then the wool fibers are poked with the felting tool to make the sheep look more real than they would in cotton fabrics. The fibers get hooked together magically because wool has barbs on each fiber and they mesh together. There are so many different textures and colors for natural sheep.
If you are looking for a unique project that will keep you occupied while on vacation, or commuting or just plain waiting for kids at practice, or while having cancer treatments, this project will add many hours of enjoyment to your life. When you are finished you'll have an heirloom quilt to pass down for generations. This is a project that you can pick up and add something and put it down till your next spare moment. The quilt will tell you what to add as you play with it.
You may want to leave more open backgrounds than I have here on this piece in the photograph, to have room to machine quilt later. I was so excited about the embroidery, the areas got really filled in. But, if you aren't going to enter the project in a quilt show, you could stretch it on canvas stretchers like a painting and hang it, and skip the quilting stitches altogether..
What makes this quilt unusual is that all the animals are felted 2-D appliques. In my first felted quilt, some of the sheep were pin striped wool fabrics. I invented this technique and I went to town on the Crazy Sheep and the Sheep Wannabees, which are shown on this website. I was looking to make my appliques more realistic, so some of the sheep in this pattern have 3-D ears, and tails. That adds to the charm of the quilt.
This quilt was made one block at a time. The wonderful advantage of the whole process is that it is portable. You make a couple of blocks then join them together, and add some roving (fibers) for the sheep to walk on, and some hand embroidery, and it grows and takes on a life of its own. Your quilt could be smaller by making fewer animal appliques or even larger by combining with other patterns in my line or leaving more empty blocks for quilting designs later.
The download location will be emailed to you within 24 hours of placing your order. You only need to print out the applique drawings. The rest of the pattern can be left on the computer to be read and referred to. There are 13 pages of pages of instructions, drawings and photographs showing you step by step with additional pages of photos of the actual sheep I used in my designs...some are spotted and some are striped! Of course you can pick and choose which critters you want to make, so the resulting quilt is a smaller project. And choose free shipping on everything you purchase when you choose this pattern as a PDF.
I have added another version if you have a slow internet connection: the pattern is now available on a CD (with the same color pics as the downloaded pattern) to be snail mailed. The printed pattern will be 8 1/2" x 11" pages, and the cover will have color photos on both sides. The rest of the pattern is in B/W. The CD and the PDF downloaded patterns have more color.
ACCESSORIES YOU WILL NEED: The wool fabrics could be collected from thrift stores which is appealing if you like to reuse and recycle. This is time consuming to find and cut up the pieces. If you don't have a sewing machine, the background seams can be sewn or felted together by hand. Needle felting supplies are available below.
I fused the appliques to the backgrounds with Lite Seam-A-Seam, which is not available now, and I later discovered you don't need to fuse. You can tack the critter appliques down to the backgrounds just before you felt them with roving. They won't move or come off while you are felting.
I used only six different embroidery stitches to make all the flowers, grass, and trees. That part is not hard to do, but what you'll be learning while you do the embroidery, is how to observe your own surroundings and to translate those images into stitches. You will need some embroidery threads. I used pearl cottons, but I am beginning to use floss as well, because you can vary the thickness.
The felting tool is #8901 from Clover and it has 3 needles close together in a pen style holder. You'll also need a piece of upholstery foam to use under you project to protect your leg or table. Most of my rovings are hand dyed making them have a many shades in one 4"x6" baggie. The listing below is for 10 baggies in colors and different textures. There is a wool fabric kit for this pattern in a variety of neutral colors including the same brown wool I used for the border.
If you order this pattern in the PDF version, you will receive the link to download the pattern within 24 hours. Of course you will need a printer to work with the PDF.