I’ve needed a little bit of a break lately – my day job has been manic, and caused me to be away from Knittynudo HQ for most of a week. I did get to have a mooch around London Comic Con on my lunch break one day while I was away though, which made the trip all the more worthwhile in my head!
Quokkas and pangolins have been on my mind, followed closely by grizzly bears and chameleons. Knittynudo has been quieter of late so I’m taking the opportunity to ponder more creatures and plan the next few months. I seem to have a lot coming up all at once! There’s a US magazine who’ve requested a few little creatures (more information about that one coming soon!), I’ve got jury service coming up soon, and then after that it won’t be long before I get married! This weekend, it’ll be 10 weeks until our wedding day, and then I’m off on a short honeymoon to Copenhagen! It feels like a very big year this year… I’m still ploughing ahead with a couple of writing projects too, but as a result I think my current challenge is just to try not to be overwhelmed. Sometimes you can try and do so much and cram so much in that you completely forget to stop and think, smell the flowers, listen to the sky, and feel the warmth of the sun.
Anyway – I did eventually get round to making a pangolin! So I’ve put together another mini tutorial (you seemed to like the sloth DIY). So here goes!
I nearly always start the sculpture by creating a tightly felted ball or sausage shape of ‘core wool’. This wool is made up of scraps of other wools and benefits from adding particularly coarse fibres to the mix. It may mean it’s a murky grey colour but it felts quickly, tightly, and it also means you can use up all your scraps in this way. Nothing goes to waste!
Once I’ve got a nice solid core, I start wrapping the ball in colour. In the case of the pangolin, this meant lots of layers of a sandy fawn color. This is my favourite colour for all types of creatures, as it’s a really neutral base for layering more colours on top like watercolours.
Then comes the head and the nose. Adding a ball of the same colour and then felting a cone onto it creates the characteristic shape of a head. I’ve written it so many times before but I’ll say it again – the nose is so important! I favour a pointy nose. It can be left as it is, or flattened by felting in a little colour at it’s end. Often I find it’s easier to make features larger than you might want, and then some extra stabbing will bring it down in size. It can be much more tricky to add a feature then make it bigger. It’s not impossible, it’s just trickier to retain its shape that way.
At this point arms and legs (or feet) are felted and attached. I always do the back legs first – I have no idea why! I think subconsciously I think it gives the creature some proportion and makes the arms or forelegs easier to place. I stabbed in a few strands of chocolate brown on the paws to create the claws. I also softly layered some caramel and richer colours onto the nose and face to create a bit more of a tonal look. Pangolins have almost non-existent flat ears it seems, so I felted a centimeter long strip, curling it into a ‘c’ shape, and then felted it on (it’s important to pre-felt shapes like this before attaching, as it helps to retain both their shape and the shape of the head once you’ve felted it on).
Once I felted in some facial features, I started on the embroidery!
Pangolins are sort of like armadillos. They are covered with a diamond armour, and can curl up defensively. For my own interpretation of this, I felted a fine layer of chocolate brown merino wool on the pangolin’s back to create shading, and then I used a soft dove-grey embroidery floss to sew on lots and lots of ‘v’ shapes to create the scales. Despite an initial worry that it might be tricky to keep it uniform, it ended up being quite therapeutic!
And there you are – a pangolin, Knittynudo style.
You can visit the pangolin on etsy here.