Friday, 14 October 2016

Needlefelting Halloween Witches with Stripey Socks

Black Llama fibre is silky when it lies in locks, rather wild and fuzzy when needlefelted.  The fibres must be quite scaley, because it does needlefelt quickly and securely, even when blended with silk, which I find a devil to stick onto to anything with a felting needle.  Last summer, I was very kindly given a bundle of black llama, specially for making Halloween witches.  This prototype was put together using the same method I learned for making wool fairies.  One of the fiddliest bits is getting a thin strip of roving to wrap smoothly round the pipecleaner to make the hands and arms smooth and neat.  Having knocked out quite a few fairies in the past year, I think the best technique is to twirl the pipe cleaner itself, rather than trying to wrap the roving round it.  
Just hold the fibre against the side of the pipe cleaner with light tension and use your other thumb to roll the pipe cleaner, letting the fibre wrap in a slight diagonal so it covers the length of the pipe cleaner, little by little. Witches need legs if they are to ride broomsticks. After covering two pipe cleaners with red wool roving, adding yellow on a steeper, open diagonal, gave a smashing stripey sock effect.  
It is a great deal easier to complete the legs before starting on the main construction.  The far end of the pipe cleaner was wrapped in black wool, the tip was bent up and wrapped some more to make boots with yellow laces sewn on.  My companion, Elinor Gotland, remarked that the witches she knew would have chosen stiletto heels.  

Mine definitely prefer Doc Martens.  Elinor also insisted that witches have long legs. Admittedly, the first witch I made had legs on the stumpy side. The next was positively arachnoid.

Trying to make the total length from the top of the head to the heels in a ratio of 3 to 2 with the span of the arms gave the best proportions. If you're not bothering with legs, it seems to me a witch looks most dramatic in a really elongated frock. Time to show that small, but perfectly formed, grey sheep how I was getting on.

Elinor took a critical look at the latest arrivals.
"Well, Beaut, this one isn't shy about showing her petticoat."
"Oh, Harriet is hurrying to the Halloween party at Crafts by the Sea.  The big end went on her broom, so she kicked up her skirt, hung onto her hat and ran for it." Smiling in a superior fashion, I continued "What a good job she wasn't wearing stilettos."
"A party?"  Elinor shot towards the door.  Neatly deflecting my point about appropriate footwear, she called back over her shoulder 
"Kick up your heels, these hooves were made for dancing. Come on girls, follow me!"

If you can't get to the craft shop and would like to have a witch at your Halloween party, they are £12.50 plus p+p, order by emailing me at


  1. well, they beat the plastic rubbish hands down that's on offer everywhere just now! even with doc martens:) not sure that high heels are good for broom flyers - I'd guess that landing with flats would have advantages?:)and I am sure there are as many different-legged witches about as there are people....

  2. I like a solid boot with coloured laces. Considering which, Himself will often remark, as I brew up another pot of plant dye, it is only a couple of centuries ago, they would have been dunking me in the pond to see if I floated.

  3. haha - I've been told exactly the same:) not so much when dyeing, but when I pick "weird" fruit (for seed saving etc.) or make my own medicine....