Felt Sheep Making At Butser Ancient Farm

For about four years now I’ve wanted to have a go at needle felting. Ever since I saw someone creating bright green dragons at a craft exhibition in Birmingham, I’ve wanted to have a go. There’s something magical about sculpting tiny creatures from wool.

When I saw an advert for a ‘Felt Your Own Sheep Course‘, at the wonderful open air museum just up the road from us: Butser Ancient Farm, I took it as a sign and booked myself on the course.

Felt Sheep Course - Butser Ancient Farm

Ali Fountain was my tutor for the morning and the wonderful Saxon house at the farm was the venue.  The fire in the house was lit and we sat at the little table in the light from the doorway and began our project.

Felt Sheep Course - The Saxon House

First we made the body and base of the sheep from a core wool and Ali showed me how to use different needles and techniques to get different effects and sculpt features into the wool.

The day started off with brilliant sunshine, we were surrounded by nature. The noise of snuffling pigs, sheep calling to each other, birds singing and sunlight flooding through the door of the old Saxon house. It was truly wonderful setting to sit and learn a new craft in.

Felt Sheep Course - body and head

With the head sculpted and attached to the body we took a break and walked up to the Visitor’s Centre for coffee. We returned to the house just in time for a magnificent display of British weather at its best. As a member of staff stoked the fire for us the darkening sky outside heralding a storm. Now lightning lit up the house not sunshine, thunder drowned the noise of the animals and rivulets of rain ran by the door.

Safe and dry inside we continued with the legs of the sheep and finally decided to cover our little creations with Manx Loughton wool collected from around the farm outside. The Manx Loughton is a breed of sheep that dates right back to the stone age; a real live connection with our past. The wool wasn’t treated or washed but as my little sheep wasn’t intended as a toy, it was the perfect coat for him. The lanolin in the wool softened my hands beautifully too.

Felt Sheep Course - Manx Loughton Wool

My sheep ended up with a little quiff so I’ve named him Elvis.

Felt Sheep Course - Elvis in the Saxon House

The venue for this course was just beautiful. Ali is a brilliant tutor and if you want to find out about her work you can find her on Facebook under Ali Fountain Unique Design. Pop over and say hello, she’s a lovely lady.

Felt Sheep Course - Elvis at home

I am now well and truly hooked on needle felting and I can’t wait to try out my new skills!

Have you tried needle felting? Do you have any tips for a novice? Don’t forget to let me know below …



4 thoughts on “Felt Sheep Making At Butser Ancient Farm

  1. writerdsnelson says:

    Thanks Margot, he’s a little sweety! Smells like a sheep too what with the wool. It was a really special little project and I’ll treasure him. Now I really should stop finding other things to do and write some more Blake!


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