Autumn Pumpkin

Autumn Pumpkin

It’s that time of year again, when the long warm summer nights are fading and the nights are drawing in.  I love all the seasons, but the Autumn season is one of my favourites as I love the colour pallette nature provides, with its hues of amber, yellow, orange, red, brown and every shade in between.  It’s the time when the earth starts going to sleep, sound in the knowledge of new beginnings in the spring.


As our blog this time falls a few weeks before that famous holiday date at the end of October, we thought we would make something that people would have time to make before the holiday period arrives.  Hense, we made a pumpkin.   I apologise in advance that this blog is not unique, as others have done this before but our original plan did not seem such a good idea once the pumpkin was made.  I had planned to make one that could be used as a ‘trick or treat’ container.  But once it was made, I just wasn’t sure that it would be strong enough to hold up to my plan to cut a 3/4 circle for the lid and still hold its shape.  The idea was to find out who would be brave enough to slide their hand inside, to find out whether they were dipping into a treat, or a trick.  Although the pumpkin held its shape well, I did not feel it was quite strong enough to fulfil the purpose, so I’m afraid I chickened out because I didn’t have enough time to make a second pumpkin if it all went wrong!! But it’s still something I would like to do in the future, now that I know the strength of this 3 layer pumpkin.  So next time, I’ll make it with 4 layers!


I’ve made a small pumpkin before, using the method demonstrated by an American lady, in her weekly tutorials on Living Felt.  That turned out really well so I decided to use this method again, only making the pumpkin much larger.   I searched my house and garden for a circular template, and found a large green planter tray that I use to catch the water underneath some of my bigger pots.  It measured 38cm (15″) in diameter and was perfect for the job.


    Here you can just make out the planter tray, holding my palette of wool batts and merino tops.  Also, you can see my first born little pumpkin that I made last year!  He had to make an appearance (can’t have them feeling left out!)


I chose a two-colour wool for the outer layer, that was a combination of a yellow and red carded together.  For the inner two layers, I chose a lighter yellowy colour, so that the inside of the pumpkin would be paler than the outside.  (At this point, I was still planning to make the pumpkin trick or treat pot.)   The red and yellow mix for the outer layer weighed 1.3oz  and the yellow wool for the pumpkin flesh weighed 2.4oz, as I would need two layers of this colour.  The merino tops were for decoration and accent colours on the outside of the pumpkin.  I also wanted to add in some additional bits and pieces, to add interest to the surface of the pumpkin, so I collected some silk hankies that I already had in my supplies, and also some orange neeps and curly tops (which in the end I didn’t use in the wet felting process).

I love these colours!!!!!!!!!         


I then started making my resist.  Making the circle was the easy part, but I then needed to make eight petal-like protrusions, to form the lobes of the pumpkin.  My partner did look at me rather strangely when he saw me rummaging through the crockery looking for a suitable saucer-like object that would fit nicely for the job.  I eventually found a bowl that was a good fit, and used this as a template to make the lobes around my circular resist…


  As usual, Eccles had to get involved!  She is not a problem, but Elliot (her brother) decided to strike while I was looking for the bowl, and pinched three of the merino wool tops off the tray.  By the time I came back, I had three bird’s nests which I then had to card to get them back into some sense of order!  That cat has such a passion for wool, it’s unbelievable!   I don’t have a photo to show, as I forgot to take one but he really made a mess of them!  He also managed to pinch the little pumpkin out of its box where I had safely (or so I thought) hidden it.  I later found it under my dining room table, where he’d left it after playing with it!  I must be mad to have taken in another rescue cat, but she is adorable and I couldn’t resist!  Here is Penny!

I think you can  safely say she’s made herself at home!!!!!                                           


Anyway – back to pumpkins!  I then began laying out the fibre.  I started with the yellow wool batt, putting two layers on each side of my resist.  I added soap and water and covered with a mesh before gently agitating the fibres to start them knitting together.  After a little gentle agitation, I flipped the resist before  folding over the edges of the wool each time ready to start the next layer.

          from this…………………………………………………………………………………………………….to that…             


After putting two layers of yellow fibre on each side, it was time to put the red and yellow mixed fibre….

  Here you can see I have put one layer and flipped the resist ready to do the other side.  You can see the edges of the reddish fibre curled around the edges of the resist.

And now, the final layer…

I love the effect of the two-tone fiber, which shows well in this photo in contrast to the yellow above….       


Now for the fun part!!  Time to start the embellishments.  I used some of the wool top to accentuate the lines in between each lobe, and I wanted to try out some silk hankies to make some sheen on the pumpkin.  Here are the different designs I made on each side.  I wasn’t sure how dark to go with the wool top lines, so chose a brown for one side, and a redder colour for the other.  I went with an olive green for the silk hanky.


            I left ‘tails’ at the edges, so I could wrap them around the other side.


Now to start felting.  Recently, I purchased a sander because I do suffer a little with my joints.  I hadn’t tried using it yet, but thought I would give it a try on this project.  I would say at this point, that anyone considering the use of a sander in felting, needs to do their research.  I was quite scared at first, as electricity an water (as we know) don’t mix.  Also, some countries don’t have the safety systems built into their domestic electricity supply, so doing your research before embarking on using an electric sander is a must.  But having done my research and purchased my sander, I thought I had better try it out.  I only used it at the beginning of the process, and I was careful not to take the sander up to the edges of the resist, only using it in the middle and in between each lobe.  But it certainly helped considerably, and after I had finished the project, I didn’t feel my usual pain and fatigue, so that’s good!

  I can’t wait to make a scarf next!!!!!


After using the sander, I hand-felted the edges of the pumpkin, to make sure it was all nicely knitting together before I started rolling it.  Once I saw the felt was starting to shrink, I removed the  resist from inside  the pumpkin.  Easier said than done!! I didn’t want a large hole left in the pumpkin, but my resist was quite thick and firm, so it took some time to remove it as I also wanted to keep the resist for future use (I know, I’m a skinflint, but I’m also ecologically conscientious).

After the rolling was finished I fulled the pumpkin by throwing it a little until I was satisfied with the shrinkage.  Then it was time to rinse the soap out, give it a quick soak in vinegar water to restore the PH levels and I always like to give a final rinse in water containing a nicely scented essential oil.  I love to hold my small pumpkin and smell the fibre, as it often helps my emotional wellbeing at times when I am stressed.  Is that strange?! But it works for me!


After removing the excess water by wrapping it in a towel, I then stuffed it with a shredded bed sheet.  Wow – I was surprised to find I could fit a whole king-sized bed sheet in that pumpkin!

    and then I tied string in between each lobe, so accentuate the shape as it dried


Once it had dried, quality control arrived for his weekly Chinese Takeaway!  Alex checked my work and told me that he really liked the pumpkin.

By the look on Alex’s face, I can see I’m going to have to make another one because his sister Lizzy has been patiently awaiting a pumpkin for her new home!!


Once it was fully dry, I removed the copious amounts of shredded sheet from inside.  It was at this point, I had cold feet about cutting a lid in the top.  Although it kept its shape well, I was not sure how cutting it open would affect the stability of the structure so I decided at this point, just to stuff it and keep it intact.  I will try this idea another  time though, because I would like to make a felted ‘creepy hand’ to poke out from under the lid.  Seeing people’s reactions would be funny!


I decided to make the stalk out of needle-felted wool.  I chose different shades of green, charcoal grey and yellow to felt together to make the stalk.  I also put a pipe cleaner inside, so I could bend the stalk into the shape I wanted.  I also needle felted a leafy-looking base at the bottom of the stalk, just for effect and added some bright green curly tops to look like tendrils.  I did make a pumpkin leaf for it, but in the end I didn’t like it so did not use it.


I quite like the yellow accents on the stalk……..           


It didn’t take Elliot long to get involved!  But then again, he’s the right colour isn’t he?!!



And here’s a photo taken in natural light for colour comparison……


We hope you like the pumpkin.  Happy Autumn!!

Lisa and Alex








20 thoughts on “Autumn Pumpkin

  1. Nice result Lisa! Looking at that photo of Alex holding the pumpkin it’s clear to see you’d better be getting on with making another! Good to hear you got on ok with the sander, it really does make it easier particularly when you’ve got a big project on.
    I was thinking about the “cut off lid”. What shrinkage did you achieve with this pumpkin? To get the stiffness you need I would suggest you start larger, using another 2oz of fibre, and shrink it until it literally won’t go any more. Maybe Alex could help with that, if he’s like me he will love throwing felt around!
    P.S. nothing strange about caressing and smelling your felt as far I’m concerned!

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for the advice. It shrank from 38cm diameter down to approximately 28cm. Not sure what that works out at as a percentage? (Maths was never my strong point! 😂) I probably could have thrown it more though, so next time I’ll follow your suggestion and hopefully I’ll be able to make a usable trick or treat container!
      You’re right, I think Alex’s face firmly placed his order!! Thanks, Lisa

  2. It’s a wonderful pumpkin and what a good idea to put the pipe cleaner in the stalk. Amazing that you got a king size sheet in the pumpkin.

    Elliot is the perfect colour for Halloween and just look at those eyes!

    Lovely progress photos and text – glad you got on with the sander ok!

    1. Thank you, yes Elliot makes for a perfect stage prop doesn’t he! He has to be felt’s biggest fan bless him 😂

  3. A great pumpkin. and it doesn’t look like Alex will be giving it up easily. Elliot look good with anything orange I am sure. I like the way you lit it up from the bottom among the leaves.

    1. Thanks Ann, yes he’s a beautiful boy! I’m glad you like the photos, I do try to make them look nice and the autumn lights were perfect to go with it I thought.

  4. I love this pumpkin! I actually just today needlefelted two smaller ones. But this wet felted version is calling to me. Thanks for the details!

  5. I think your pumpkin is great, it’s really worked well.
    For extra body, I would probably have used four layers of fibre at least. I think that it would have stood up well then.
    I have been intending to buy a sander for felting for some time and I did do a lot of researching, reaching the conclusion on which one I should get, but by the time I got round to looking it was no longer available in the shops that I looked in. Can you tell us what make yours is? Did you get it at B&Q by any chance?
    Looking forward to your next effort, mind you if you cut a lid in it, you may find Elliot will use it for a bed!

    1. Hi Ann, yes, I definitely agree that an extra layer would really help with the strength. As for Elliot, I think you’re right! He’d look funny with his head poking out of a pumpkin 🎃 😂

      I ordered the sander online, but you may find them in B&Q. It’s a Makita BO3711, I went for that one as its got a variable speed. It is also one of the quieter ones. I can’t wait to try a scarf with it next, I think it will work well. 😊

  6. Lisa, that pumpkin looks gorgeous. I would never have though about using a sander to aid in wet felting, I wonder who thought of that first? It seems genius and bonkers at the same time 😀

    As for having yet another rescue kitty, all I can say is, there’s no such thing as having too many! Cats and their antics keep us on our toes, but I have it easy because neither of my girls care for wool. Maybe you need to bring your furry children over so mine can teach them to ignore fluff? Hehe

  7. Glad you like the pumpkin Leonor, they are so much fun to make! I would agree with you about never having too many cats but my partner wouldn’t!! 😂
    As for the sander, I found it a great help with me having joint problems, and although I prefer to felt by hand it’s nice to know when my joints are bad I don’t need to stop felting 😊

  8. Love your pumpkin Lisa! Like you this is my favourite time of year and I adore those colours. i am tempted to try to make one now thanks for the excellent instructions. Looks like it’s going to be a firm favourite with Alex too. Happy days!

  9. Lovely job Lisa. The colours, & shape are great and all finished off to perfection with your stalk.
    I hope you have already made another to satisfy the family….I don’t think, looking at Alex’s face, that he wanted to be parted from it! And yes you have the perfect Halloween prop with Elliot. Just image him popping out of the pumpkin when the kids come knocking!

    I too use a sander and it is certainly a useful tool to have to hand. Thankfully as wet felters we don’t need too many tools.

    As others have suggested….more wool and more work/shrinkage, would help produce a ‘firmer’ container suitable to cut a lid.

    In addition you could use PVA glue….when still damp stuff the container to create the shape using plastic against the inside surface. The idea is to start drying the outside surface but leave the inner damp. Remove the stuffing. Then carefully brush apply a dilution of PVA glue to the inner surface. The damp inner will help ‘wick’ the glue through the fibres. Note – Do not dilute more than 50/50 PVA/water otherwise it will soak right through and spoil your shiny silk sheen, whilst a 75/25 PVA/water dilution will not soak through the wool fibres as much and will give a much stronger, stiffer inner surface. Trial samples are useful to determine how stiff you want it. Good luck.

  10. Wow, thank you so much for your advice. That’s what is so wonderful about sharing our projects on the blog. I absolutely value the feedback so much, because I want to improve my skills and i know that for me personally, I have a long way to go!!

    I will definitely use these ideas and suggestions, thank you. I’m hoping to make another one this weekend , so Alex will be pleased!! 😁

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