A Pictish shepherd for my little blue sheep

A Pictish shepherd for my little blue sheep

Alright, I have put aside the strange creature Glenn can’t identify to provide my last little sheep with a proper supervisor. (we are presently cat-less so it must be a shepherd)

1 1  I am sure all my felting friends will immediately recognize what I am making! <Grin> (the merino I have will not work for the topcoat so I have to hope to find something more appropriate in my stash or wait until the Co-op is excepting shoppers again!)


So change of gears and on to the shepherd. I looked at the height of the sheep then went for the 20 gauge floral wire I found when I started to clean my desk. ( I probably should finish cleaning it and see what else I’ve lost there). I double wound the wire leaving loops for hands, feet and head. I used the very spongy Rideau Arcott again for the first layer of the understructure. I then remeasured him against the sheep….. drat, he seems taller than I had anticipated. That will make for a very diminutive breed of sheep.


22  My shepherd somehow grew too much, starting shepherd #2.


Many years ago, long before any thoughts of felting flitted into my brain, I had purchased antique floral wire from the local Salvation Army thrift store (aka the Sally Ann). It was quite stiff and covered in fine cotton yarn. One piece had migrated from the bookshelf in the living room where it had come to reside on the desk in the office by the computer. I was considering making a dragon with it but hadn’t come to a final idea. It was just about the right length for the head, torso and legs for a shorter shepherd. I used the 20 gauge doubled for the arms.

3 3  Two different wires to create the armature.


I am again using the foam (like a pool noodle) kneeling pad and a combination of the 36 triangle and the unspecified “3 sizes” needles from Amazon. You can also see the 3 needle holder with the blue handle I got from one of the amazon resellers. It is not quite as sturdy as I had hoped but works if you keep your fingers holding the darker blue part. If they slide foreword the front cap/guard comes off. I did take it apart and with a bit of a struggle, I got it back together. It seems to have a few design weaknesses but does work. I think it will be more useful with picture felting or larger 3D projects.


44 Three needle holder from amazon reseller.

As I started adding wool to the second shorter shepherd I found I was breaking needles. Particularly just superior to the patella above the coccixs and the inferior aspect of the bracial plexis. (ok anatomy sticks in the brain even when felting) I am wanting a very firm understructure. Then plan to overlay in pasty pale northern skin tones then add the Pictish woad blue. I will have to take a quick peek and see if I can find the roman description of their Pictish opponents. I have no idea where I put my university history notes so I will do a bit of a search and see if I can find an English translation of the Roman text I remember.

From Tacitus’s Agricola – “the inhabitants of Caledonia,  their red-gold hair and massive limbs proclaim  German origin”. I am embarrassed to admit fell asleep while re-reading the Agricola. That was not the passage I was thinking of so maybe it was a quote from Bede I was thinking of that was a bit more descriptive?

I found that Pict derived from a Roman word meaning to paint.  So I am still unsure if it was blue overall or patterns of blue. I found some illustrations I remember seeing before but are much later from the 1500’s. (I will have to figure out how to show that without being too educational.)

5-15 illustrations c1585, by John White. Woad stained Pict warriors (with careful smudge added to keep from shocking the kids)

I will continue to look at some of the Pictish patterns and make a final decision later. I spotted an unfinished standing stone that had blacksmithing tools at the bottom of it.  I wish I remembered my university history class more clearly. Oh, maybe there is a reason university seems a little foggy is because it was over 30 years ago! EEK!

I got distracted when I started to work on him. I was listening to an audiobook by Kalayna Price.  It was the second one of her books I’ve listened to.  This one was called Grave Dance. As you can see, I made reasonable progress while listening to it.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

6-9 Progress while listening to book 2 in the Alex Craft series

I am particularly pleased with the patella, glutes and gastrocs. The thorax is progressing but needs more work. I’m thinking washboard abs may be added. Still have more work to do. Yes, I noticed the hands and forearms are missing too. But for now, it’s past time to stop and make dinner (and I have to buy the next book in the series before I get back to felting). I will try harder to stop and take pictures.

I have been working on the feet fussing with the arch and malleoli. I have the right one close to what I want but the left still needs work.  I used the embroidery snips to remove a bit of the hairiness from the felt and the ankle suddenly looked better.

10-16 progress on the right foot

I am having fun with him and am still debating how anatomically correct I should make him. If I make him check or plaid pants (trues/Breeks) or a grate cloak or maybe a tunic no one will know what is under his clothes! (if you don’t peek). Have fun and keep your hands in lots of warm soapy water felting!! (not dishes)


1717 Humm, maybe a bit more lateral glute on the right side?

9 thoughts on “A Pictish shepherd for my little blue sheep

  1. He is coming along wonderfully. As to how tall he needs to be. The sheep were smaller back then. I am sure there must be a legend about a giant and scary Pict shepherd. You would think they could have worn some boots of some sort, it’s chilly in the winter.

    1. Ann! i suddenly have visions of him in boots like jean simmons wares in Kiss!! i can always have the unusually tall shepherd and a more normal sized one. i was thinking sheep more the size of shetlands or Icelandics.
      Scotland sounds chilly but i cant remember hearing about -40c pluss wind chill. we will have to ask. i suspect the running around without cloths was to frighten the Romans.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: