book review :: making needle felted animals

Are you a fan of creating needle felted projects?  Me? Not so much. I like needle felting for adding details to other projects (hello wall-hangings with needle felted clouds and spotted toadstools!); however, 3D needle felting, frankly, left me feeling bamboozled.

Then the new needle felting book from Hawthorn Press, Making Needle Felted Animals by Steffi Stern & Sophie Buckley, landed on my doorstep. Goodbye bamboozlement.

As soon as it arrived, I sat down at the kitchen table with the new book, becoming lost in the gorgeous photography, the friendly tone of the written instructions, and the personal stories which breathe spirit into each project.  Emerging an hour later, I felt confident that I really could turn a big ball of fluff into a pretty little creature. (Though, full disclosure: Steffi wrote a preface for my second book Making Peg Dolls & More, while Lucy Guenot was the designer for this new book as well as both of my own, so I had an inkling that the book would be lovely!)

from Making Needle Felted Animals
photo credit Sylvain Guenot

Of all the projects in Making Needle Felted Animals (birds, wildlife, pets, garden creatures, etc...), the one which captured my heart most was Mole from Wind in the Willows.  In the picnic tableau above, you can see Mr. Toad, Mr. Badger & Mole; and although he is not depicted in this photo, there are instructions within the book for Ratty, too (at the moment this photo was snapped, surely Ratty was over by the boat, fetching an overstuffed wicker luncheon-basket).

I had a variety of Corriedale roving in my stash, but for this project I visited A Child's Dream to purchase some Romney wool (dyed by Wilde Wool) and was pleased with how quickly it felted up (my children liked it, too, and kept absconding with bits of fluff to work up into their own projects).

My only moment of panic occurred when I needed to convert grams to ounces.  This is an important detail for readers in the United States as wool in the US is usually sold by the ounce (the authors of Making Needle Felted Animals specify in grams).  FYI: 1 ounce = approx. 28 grams. You're welcome!

After an hour of needle felting, I ended up with a perfectly podgy mole who is hilariously nearsighted (you can see him squinting myopically at photos of himself in the image above).  The advent of this funny fellow has inspired a spate of reading books containing mole characters;  there is, of course, Wind in the Willows (we love this version with illustrations by Inga Moore), a less agreeable mole in Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbellina, and a most agreeable mole in The Mushroom Man by Ethel Pochocki.

You can purchase copies of Making Needle Felted Animals and all supplies (wool fiber, foam felting pads, felting needles, wool felt sheets, etc...) from A Child's Dream.  The book is also available through Amazon and the Hawthorn Press website.  For other supply resources worldwide, you can check my resources page HERE.

Disclaimer: a copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, however all statements and opinions are my own.


  1. Having gone to Sophies classes I can recommend this excellent book.

  2. He is darling and I would love to make him except that I don't think I could pull off your amazing attention to detail! I love his myopic peering at his picture :) Now I think I must go read Wind in the Willows. I wonder if my little guy is ready for it yet....

  3. Love your little mole and references to stories that contain him as a character.Do not like them in my garden sorry to say.


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