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Topic: Tributes to my doggie, needlefelted  (Read 3125 times)
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« on: April 27, 2011 03:57:02 PM »

At the beginning of the month I had to say goodbye to my sweet, grumpy old cocker spaniel, Shelbe. She was a rescue who I adopted about 6 years ago, and she was almost 16 when she died. She survived so much adversity that she may as well have been a 9-lived cat...I won't eulogize her further right now, because it makes me cry.  Cry  Smiley

I've long admired the talented feltpets, and have avoided needle-felting because I'm generally too clumsy and prone to mentally wander for such a potentially dangerous craft. But in the final days of Shelbe's life, before making the decision to have her put to sleep, I decided I should try to make a felted version of her, while I still had her there to be a model (and a marvelous model she was--as long as I didn't annoy her, she would stay still for an hour or more while napping). She'd started shedding a lot, so I was able to harvest a significant amount of straight black fur/fiber by just sitting and petting her back. Then I created this likeness using an unidentified wool for the base, and needling her fur over all of it, with brown accents where needed. The greyish fiber I used as the base was able to show through in all the places her fur had been going white.

It's just a couple inches long. Shelbe lost one of her eyes to glaucoma a few years back, and the other eye had glaucoma as well but was treated without being removed, though that procedure cost her her remaining eyesight. So naturally, any rendition of her would have to be one-eyed!

And I always loved the little stump of her tail...Her fur, though "softer than a velvet Elvis" as someone once remarked, had bits of weird crud in it due to ongoing allergies and skin conditions, so some of that crud rightfully found its way into the felting.

Fast-forward a few days; Shelbe passed away peacefully and the household began the process of grieving, with smiles and laughter remembering her mixed in equally with tears. I had no crafty mojo in me whatsoever but I needed to do something that would tend to my soul and also occupy my mind and time. So since my mom fell in love with the tiny needle-felted Shelbe, I decided to make another one she could have, sans model.

This one's a big improvement, way more realistic. It's going to sit on top of the tin her ashes are in, which is slightly larger. (And, tempting as it is for me to alter a plain tin, I'm leaving this one otherwise undecorated for now.)

It is a fairly accurate pose, since she liked to lay with only her head on a pillow at times, and rest her back against something. One more, from the back (where "cocker crud" is again visible):

All things considered, it isn't difficult to create something that looked like that dog, because she generally looked like a blob in photos. Take, for instance, this wad of fiber from last year (on the left):

But it was helpful for me to put the time and love into making these. I couldn't create these kinds of things for other animals I don't know and have it resemble the animal, which feltpets does an amazing job with. I'm satisfied with how I did for the one little creature I did know so well, though. If she could talk and see these, there is no doubt what her response would be, because it was her obvious response to everything...

"What a bunch of nonsense. Where's my dinner?"
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011 03:58:28 PM by calluna » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011 04:45:54 PM »

awe. that made me tear up!  Your dog must have been a wonderful girl.  Your tiny little needle felted version of her is fabulous.  And using her own fur in it is wonderful.  Lots of hugs Smiley

« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011 05:45:28 PM »

Calluna, that is beautiful. It's an amazing remembrance of Shelbe and you did a wonderful job. Snort sends her approval, as well. Smiley

« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011 05:57:11 PM »

I'm sorry about Shelbe. This is a wonderful tribute. Great job. I love the little details.

« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011 09:23:55 PM »

I'm so sorry for your loss, but glad that you created such a heartfelt trinket to remember her by.

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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011 02:24:19 AM »

These are gorgeous, calluna. Your love for her really does come through. They are both very good likenesses of her. I wish I had done one of my cat while I still had the chance to use him as a model. He was sick but I didn't think the time was coming. I kept some of his fur that I brushed off of him (complete with his own ick) but I'm realizing that modeling him is going to be harder and harder as time passes. Thankfully I have sketched of him from over the years.

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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011 05:18:49 AM »

Very sorry for your loss!!

I also have to compliment you on adopting an older rescue dog! I did Border Collie rescue for many years and it was very common among rescues to not take in dogs over the age of 4.5. I fully understand why given that it takes longer to rehome older dogs, but they are wonderful pets. I've adopted some older pets and they've always been very special.

You've made a lovely tribute to your Shelbe!! Kudos!!

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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011 08:40:21 AM »

Well snap girl, you got me in tears now. Condolences for your loss and what a wonderful way to remember your beloved dog.
Ive got a few bags of dog hair from each dog we had. Might make that into a felted pet now.
Keep the strength.

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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011 05:45:06 PM »

What a wonderful keepsake, calluna. That one little eye peeking out is a heartbreaker for sure.
Thanks for sharing.

« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2011 07:19:53 PM »

It's so adorable!  Cheesy
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