Sunday, December 27, 2020

REVIEW: Little Felted Animals: Create 16 Irresistible Creatures With Simple Needle-Felting Techniques (nonfiction book) by Marie-Noëlle Horvath

Little Felted Animals is a needle felting craft book.


I got a copy of this via interlibrary loan so that I could evaluate whether it would be worth buying for my personal collection.

This begins with a supplies and tips page (one specific item I haven't seen in other books: cotton piping cord), very brief info about wool (mentions combed and carded wool, but does not used the words "roving" or "batting"), and instructions for sewing on eyes. Then there are detailed instructions, with small colored photographs, for three basic body shapes: birds (example used: blackbird), short-legged animals (example used: rabbit), and long-legged animals (example used: cat - I would not have considered this a long-legged animal, but okay).

After that comes the patterns for the various projects. These are always set up the same way: first come the full-page photographs of each animal in the section, then two pages for each project, one with a photograph of the finished project and all the necessary supplies and one with a brief written overview of the steps, a life-size line drawing of the parts and the finished project, and a list of finishing touches you can do to make the final project look its best.

The various patterns included are: a penguin, a polar bear, a baby seal, a blackbird, a bunny, a Chartreux cat, a Welsh Corgi, a koala, a Turkish Van cat, a robin, a brown bear, a fox, a mouse. a sheep, a Dalmatian, and sitting and standing versions of a Jack Russell Terrier.

As far as techniques go, the patterns in this book require only basic needle felting, no flocking. The cotton piping cord is used to add a bit of reinforcement to the legs of longer legged animals - none of the patterns require the use of wire. I just googled cotton piping cord and can already see an issue: the book tells you to choose a "fairly thin" cord but doesn't specify even a range of sizes that might be appropriate.

This book leaves me feeling torn. On the one hand, it features a wonderful range of patterns I haven't seen in other books. I'd like to one day needle felt a rat, so the mouse pattern interested me the most. On the other hand, I dislike the way the patterns are set up, the supplies info is incomplete, and Horvath's designs don't really appeal to me all that much.

I prefer needle felting books that have full-color pictures of the finished project from multiple angles, in addition to life-size images of the various parts. With this book, you get a photograph of the finished project from one or two angles - one photo right next to the pattern (which I do appreciate), and one earlier in the book. I haven't tried making any of the projects yet, and the patterns are simple enough that photos of multiple angles may not be necessary, but I still wish they were included.

The incomplete supplies info is a bigger problem. The patterns each tell you what size and color eyes to use and what colors of wool you'll need, but they don't tell you how much wool you'll need. It boggles my mind that the author didn't think approximate weights of wool were worth mentioning. Newbies in particular will have very little concept of how much wool they'll need to get the projects done - considering the size of some of the drawings, unless Horvath needled the animals pretty lightly, I'm not convinced that the amount of wool shown in the pictures was really the total amount necessary.

I like some of the patterns - the penguins look great, and the bunny and sheep are also appealing. Unfortunately, everything else is a little disappointing. The cats are, by far, the worst ones I've seen in any felting book, and the faces of several of the other animals look off. There's a forward slant to the legs of many of the patterns that make me wonder how well they'd be able to stand on their own.

I don't know. I might end up getting a copy of this just for the proportions of some of the more usual animals, but I don't find myself really wanting to attempt any of the projects in the book, even the mouse that I was initially so interested in seeing. And it also really bothers me that, if I did want to work on any of these projects, I'd have to guess whether or not I'd have enough wool.

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