Bat on a stick…..

Bat on a stick…..

One of the things that I have enjoyed doing over the last few years, is watching and chatting during live YouTube felting tutorials from Sara (Sarafina Fiber Art) and Marie (Living Felt). I have been inspired by projects shown by both felters.

As you probably have noticed, when seeing my adventures with the four-person Mer-family and their Mer-family pets, I don’t always follow the instructions exactly as suggested. In fact, I tend to fall off the rails…., wander off into left field, or was that right field?… ok, I tend to get distracted part way through a tutorial and wind up doing my own possibly completely different thing.  I am not saying that is a bad thing. It can open new options and create something that is vastly different than the original tutorial goal.

For Sara’s Mermaid project (google You Tube “Mermaid Felt Along 1: Armature”, “Mermaid Felt Along 2 – Body Shapes”, “Mermaid 3: Wet Felted Tail” and “Mermaid 4: Finishing” to see what I was supposed to do), I deviated first by wanting to do a merman but felt he needed a family. Instead of using both wet and dry felting, I used only dry felting.  With the change of scale and shape, I needed to augment the armature strength. Lastly, I made them Fish-People (Pike, Koi, Shark, and Arctic Char) rather than the more traditional mermaid shapes Sara was creating. I created some accessories for them and more will be needed. For the Mers themselves, I wandered off into thoughts of what kind of family pets would a Mer family have.  So the addition of family pets was created, Miss Manta and Sharkette. This could continue to spiral outwards from the original tutorial with Mer-Nabours and other yet unthought-of Mer-friends and accessories! Years of enjoyment even for someone who really would rather not get wet.


Two weeks ago Marie, from Living Felt, out of Texas, sent me off on another spiral with her “Needle Felt Simple Animals: Bat, Owl, and Red Panda Forest Friends!”.  This is a very beginner-friendly project, with simplified shapes and lots of explanations of tight wrapping to build up the core understructure. She did examples of blending and layering colours of fibre. All three projects were extremely cute. I am not sure I do cute, especially extreme cute, well not as cute and friendly as Marie can do at least.

Marie started by using a wooden skewer to tightly warp her layers of core wool, creating the basic shape. This got me wondering about other skewer like objects that you could use which I had on hand *actually I looked as far as the shelf beside my desk to find 3 options. I had also purchased at the Almonte Fibre Fest in early September, some short fibre Maori batts, one of which was white and another was charcoal. I had wanted to investigate working with short, somewhat springy, fibre and this seemed to be an excellent opportunity.

1) White Maori Batt, wooden skewer, knitting needle, one mettle chopstick

I decided to try the chopstick. It doesn’t have quite as much grip as the wood, but it’s not quite as slippery as the knitting needle.  I like the slight taper,  it was comfortable in my hand and oddly like the single knitting needle it happened to be sitting in a cup with my pens, markers, small files and metal pick set (that was for cleaning my drum carder, I don’t know why it’s here) by my desk.


one mettle chopstick on white batt of Maori short stale lenght fiber 2) selected a chopstick and Maori batt

using a chopstick to wrap fiber around and build up the core structure.3) using a chopstick to wrap fibre around and build up the core structure.

Adding thin layers of roving, wrapping tightly and tacking down, then poking from the base to further firm core layer.

Tearing off thin strips from the batt then drafting them to a narrow roving. This shows the VM and makes it easy to remove.4) Tearing off thin strips from the batt then drafting them to a narrow roving. This shows the VM and makes it easy to remove.

I found the white short-fibre Maori batt had more bits of VM than most of my spinning fibre. It was not a large problem and easily picked out before wrapping it to the core. It compacted to a firm core shape and was easy to work with.

Looking at Marie’s bat she used commercial felt to make the wings. While extremely cute you can’t pose or position the wings. Ok, I am going off instructions already!  There are a few ways to add an appendage with wire to a body. This time, since I was adding a symmetrical structure, I chose to pierce the body with a floral wire (unlabeled but suspect it is 22g). I centred the body on the wire then folded each wire up at the point it pierced the body on each side. I then folded each half, in half, twisting to create the leading edge of the arm, leaving a loop to add the “fingers” at the end of each wing.

wire piercing body, center body on wire and bend the wires5) wire piercing body, centre body on wire and bend the wires

folding each wing wire in half6)folding each wing wire in half

Next, I needed to add the “fingers”  to the end loops.

wing one armature with fingers added and wire bent ready to add to bats right palm loop.7) wing one armature with fingers added and wire bent ready to add to bat’s right palm loop.

both wings have full arm armatures. note that the fingers have 3 different lengths.8) both wings have full arm armatures. note that the fingers have 3 different lengths.

I often make very thin wings for the little dragons I’ve been making. I usually wind up using a fine fibre combed top laid in thin wisps in various directions. I have also used hand-carded fibre such as on Mrs Mer’s Finns effectively.  I was curious how the short fibre of the Maori batt would work for a top coat as well as for thin wings.

The Charcoal coloured Maori batt beside the small white Maori batt9) The Charcoal coloured Maori batt beside the small white Maori batt

I started with wrapping the body and armature.

wing/ arm armature and body covered in the short staple Maori10) wing/ arm armature and body covered in the short staple Maori

It was a bit fuzzy, but with further poking the surface became smooth and firm.

At this point, I again became quite distracted with another thought. Those scrawny arms are not going to be able to move those wings!!! So I had to add deltoids and bicep muscles, now he could try out his arms as we went to enjoy hamburgers at the butcher shop in Bell Corners (he did not have any since he doesn’t have a mouth or eyes yet it could get messy.)

You Tube Video link  

11) Video: bat on a stick in KIA trying out his muscles before he gets his wing membranes

Ann checks out Bat in progress12) Ann checked how firm he was and laughed at his fabulous physique.  (don’t tell bat!)

I made a couple of attempts with just the Maori but was finding I was not getting as firm and thin as I would like, so added a longer fibre in a thin web to let the Maori attach to it. when I had a thin layer of felt  I carefully attached it to the fibre wrapping the wing armature. I bent the armature and then sculpted the wing membrane further.  Once I had the wings looking more wing-ish, I made quick ears and added them.

I decided I wanted a more three-dimensional face (oh no deviating again!) so added a small nose and eye sockets which I filled with small beads for eyes.

Marie’s Bat only had its stick stuck in while she was creating the core shape. It kept your fingers and the sharp end of the needle well away from each other. She then removed it and added the layers of colour to make her cute bat. I like the bat-on-a-stick look and have kept it so far. Bat on a stick may be a cool Halloween hair ornament or a felting supervisor in a demo basket.

I have not had time to finish off the last bits for Bat on a stick he still needs his teeth, I tried to make them with the Maori white but was not happy with the first attempts. Next, I resorted to wet felting but I was still not happy.  I have a couple more options to try to make tiny teeth. I am also considering feet or legs and feet, so I may be adding another part armature to finish him off.

In the meantime, I have been taking him with me to the OVWSG guild library. I am working through the last few years of donations, sorting ones to keep in the collection and getting the rest ready to sell. Bat has supervised as I wrote the database for the sale books. I am almost finished with the data entry for the books. The magazines that are extra I have sorted by title and year ready for shopping! (it was a big job)

box of magazines sorted by year 13)just a few of the magazines being prepped for sale.

He also watched as I had my last of 4 evenings of nalbinding workshops which has been fabulously fun. I now know I can’t count since I keep losing track of where I am in my increases for my hat. I am off to find a stitch counter so I have a hope of getting the mythical (in my case) flat starting disk to make my hat. For this workshop, I do want to follow the instructions. (I have had a blast wandering off instructions for the felting though)

Felt Bat on a mettle chop stick with articulated wings  14)Thumbs up!  Bat on his chopstick supervising from the shelf above the desk at the OVWSG Library.

Each trip to work on the library bat has accompanied me. He has found a spot on the shelf above the desk where he can sit in a clip on the extending magnet. He is giving me a thumbs-up on all the work! Even without his teeth or feet, he is very supportive.


I hope you too get a chance to watch some of the various online felt-alongs. You may also find inspiration in previous blog posts by all the fibre artists here. You never know what might inspire your next project, maybe you too will find a multi-year project! Or maybe just a quick little bat! (with or without a stick).

18 thoughts on “Bat on a stick…..

  1. He’s fun isn’t he? I love his face. I’m glad he’s keeping you company while your working hard at the Guild.
    I have just been watching the bears catching fish on the live cam website and I noticed that they also have several bat live cams. Here’s the flying fox one When I looked they weren’t doing much more than hanging around, but they may give you more inspiration. I could spend all day just watching the various animals, when not reading posts here.

    1. Loved that they hung the teddy upside down in the bat cave. I was so hoping to see one of the bats envelope it in its wings!

    2. COol Bat cam Ann!! Thanks!! i got distracted for a while watching them there was one starting aruments by pokeing his nabours. i will have to do a more accurate bat next time! i think i need to freeze frame and try to get reference screen shots.

  2. Nice one Jan. I like that he’s not just any old bat but a bat on a stick!
    I’ve also enjoyed many of Marie and Sara’s YouTube tutorials, both ladies are very informative and entertaining….much like your posts!

    1. i have enjoyed watching both felters they have sent me off on quite different projects but none of them are quite what they were makeing. i look forword to see what they are up to next. i am glad you are enjoying my posts they are a bit odd sometimes.

  3. Bat on a stick has a friendliest and most encouraging little face Jan. He (I am making a presumption here) would sit merrily in any studio. The ‘you’ve got this … keep going’ look is just so cute.

    I for one am so glad that you go ‘off piste’ when it comes to following these directions – it makes for really interesting and of course entertaining (to use Karen’s word) posts.

    1. thanks i am now wondering if he needs teeth or not? i am suspecting he is a he too. but i dont want to impose my persepions apon him! i have enjoyed looking up and see a thumbs up of aproval as i was working on sorting books.
      some times i intentanaly wonder off instructions, other times i missread the instructions and wind up with something interesting by not quite expected (Mega Stego purse template comes to minde!) some time words say the strangest things. what ever it is its usualy intersting and fun.

  4. We love the expression on his face 🙂 and can’t wait to see how you make his teeth, feet and/or legs.

    The library work is very impressive – so organised!

    1. thanks i realy want to make him just the rite teeth not too big or too small. and i am enjoying his smile so now i am wondering if he needs teeth? probubly how can he attract other bats without good teeth?

      i think i am at anout 177 ish books in the data base for sale and i didnt count the magazines but probubly should. i am also adding to the main collection too. so i had 3 data bases going (2 are interconnected) and an excell spread sheet. with you tube playing in the background. it was 7:40am then it was porring rain then it was getting on to 6m and time to pack up and go home. i still have some sorting and labling which book is in which bag. but that will likly be the next trip in!

  5. He’s sooo cute! I love bats, and enjoy sitting in my garden watching their air-acrobatics at dusk ❤️🦇

    1. i have fond memorys of going down the hill to the dock at my parrents cottage and lyeing there wating as the sun set for the bats to arive. i was a masketo magnet and knew i could attract at least one bat to come bop around above the dock if i just lay there like a smorgazbord for the evil masketos. bats were my galent night with wings and fluffy armor hunting down and eating my hated enimy masketos. Yah! Bats!!!

  6. Bat teeth – Might this help? I made some little pointed teeth for my water sprite (another UFO) by cutting two slices of toothpaste tube – the plastic type – snipping out the teeth and putting stitching holes in the “gum” section then needling/stitching them in and putting lips on top.

    1. Ann thats brilliant! it may be too small a bat mouth this time but i can see that working on a project that would be a bit larger.

  7. Thanks for the laughs, Jan! I loved watching that little bat coming to life. Even without feet he looks great! See, you can indeed to cute 🙂

    1. Thanks! i am trying for cute but we have to wate for completion. Maybe bat on a stick dosnt want to scare peole, which he would if he has teeth. i will have to consult and see how he feel about it.

  8. Bat on a stick as very cute. would the tips of a couple of golfing tees work for teeth do you think? Sure make me feel guilty for being to busy to go in much to help you sort magazines and books. I hope most with go at the guild sale leaving fewer to sell on line.

    1. thanks Ann, i hadnt thot of golf tees ehter. i am not thinking out side of the box am i!
      i think the books will find new homes quickly they are very resonably priced.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!

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