75th Anniversary Moose bag -Needle felting on a ground fabric

75th Anniversary Moose bag -Needle felting on a ground fabric


For the last few years at least, you have occasionally, through the blog posts, been invited along to see what the local weaving and spinning guild is up to.  There are a few of us, on this blog, who are members of the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild.  (The guild goes beyond spinning and weaving, having also a number of felters, dyers, and other fibre arts). The Guild was started in 1949 by a group of local weavers after returning from a conference out of town. By the time I joined, over 30 years ago, the weavers had already been joined by spinners (and changed their name from OVWG to OVWSG).

I am sure you noticed that 2024 will be our 75th Guild Anniversary. There are a number of projects planned to help celebrate this momentous occasion.  (The compiled list of suggestions was quite long and the planning committee narrowed it down to 5 projects, there may be more!) Today I want to show you one of them.

One of the suggestions was a project bag to commemorate the occasion. We wanted a bag that was reasonably sturdy, big enough in size to hold a project and it would need to have a graphic and text element that would allow its use, even after the event.  Bernadette took over the quest for a bag to be printed on. I pulled out a lot of the ideas I had been working on for logo and bag options the last time I was asked to work on ideas.  I also did graphics for a few other ideas from members. One was Glenn’s moose antlers as a skein winder idea. I found a free clip art silhouette of a moose which was a bit pixilated and needed to be redrawn, but it would work as a prototype.   I added the yarn to the antlers and it was added to the other images up for selection.  It was the only funny one.  Although,  the octopus trying to weave spin and do fibre prep was funny too, but it was a bit too cluttered as an image. (I still liked it! maybe for a future bag?)

Glenn’s Moose idea was eventually selected, and suitable bags were found and printed.

2 large 1 small box 1) Three boxes containing the new bags arrived in the studio

The bags arrived mid-week. I found them when I arrived to work on the library and was asked to unbox and take photos of the contents.  So, I took pictures of the unboxing to let the rest of the guild enjoy the anticipation of discovering what was in the boxes.

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2-11) the unboxing

A few close-ups;

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12-14)close up of bag details

Part of the idea of the project bags was for those who purchased them to make them their own, by embellishing them. It could be as simple as sewing on some yarn through the red screen printed yarn on the bag. The weavers may want to make a scarf to add to the moose.  Or it could be more elaborate, adding a background to the image.

I would like to show you what I did. You probably remember how I have trouble keeping 2-D images not wandering into 3-D places.  First, let me mention this is a mid-weight canvas cloth and that I have not tried felting on this type of fabric before. I guessed on gauge and pulled out two T-38 333 needles, in case I broke one. (Which I did not, but I did manage to misplace one of them…. Maybe I should go find some footwear?) Next, where did I put my embroidery frames? I haven’t used them for a while…. Ah in the bedroom? I started with one of the middle-sized ones that fit the head and antlers.

15) Moose on bag set into 7-inch embroidery frame.

16) bag of unknown fibre, labelled with a warning it might be superwash. The (7) boxes of needles are in the background.

Now it is time to add wool. I found a mystery bag of charcoal fibre, which may be super-wash merino wool. Laying over the pre-printed shape I started to add the fiber.

17) starting to add wool to the ground fabric

The angle of the needle is perpendicular to the fabric.  I am felting into a very old block of foam that is 7”x 6” and 3 inches thick.

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18-19) You can see there is good adhesion of the wool to the ground fabric.

Time to add the antlers, The bag said  “Finn sheep, roving – semi wersted”. I got it early this summer and it was 6.00/oz. the antlers I wanted to keep more 2-D so I could augment them with yarn later.

20-21) Inside and outside of the bag, the moose is already starting to turn a bit 3-D

I found it easy to follow the edge of the antlers and moose.  The wool is still adhering well to the ground fabric.

Once I had a base of felt established I started to create a more 3-D element, unfortunately having chosen the black fibre it is not as easy to see the contours.

22) Adding ear

I created an ear (I am pretty sure this is supper wash, it took a while to felt the ear) and added it.

23) 3-D view

I had now reached the edge of the hoop and needed to move it to continue working. I decided I did not want to put the areas I had already worked on under the edge of the hoop. So, I would have to locate the bigger hoop I was sure I had. There is a really big one in the basement near the furnace, but that would be too big to fit the bag… Ah, I found it in a different spot in the bedroom… why are most of my embroidery hoops in the bedroom? I have moved them to the office.

24-25) After some tugging and adjusting I got one side of the bag into the 14” hoop.

26) adding wool to the legs

I had to decide which legs were on which side of the silhouette. You could just leave the back-side legs wool-less. I didn’t investigate the gate of a moose, so hopefully I have selected the correct legs on the correct sides.

I continued to add wool but worked at a more shallow angle now and did not feel the needle entering the ground fabric. I added more wool to the back edge of the mandible, the withers, the back edge of the belly, the shoulder and hip.


I am pleased with the moose and antlers, but I need to add an eye. I wanted a blue eye (I did not research so I don’t know what colour  Moose eyes should be. Yet!)

 28) added eye

It was not as visible as I had hoped. So added a bit of light bage (maori) fibre to the underside of the eye. That helped, I also loosened the thread that held the blue bead and it looks better.

Next, we need to add the yarn to the antler skainwinder. First I added threads for the back of the wrapping. (I did not wrap them but sewed them back and forth between the antler prongs. Sneaky)  Then I added the top of the wrapping. I used two shades of blue to add more interest. The careful application of blue has covered up the red from the original silk screen. If there is gaping I may try couching the strands in place.

29-30) close up of added yarn to the antler

Overall, I am quite pleased and hope this will inspire more moose embellishment! The project bags will go on sale at the Guild sale Nov 4-5th (2023) which is for me tomorrow (for you it would be today!)



30 thoughts on “75th Anniversary Moose bag -Needle felting on a ground fabric

  1. Oh I love him Jan, he’s gorgeous. What a great idea, and it’s good to know that hand needle felting into this sort of fabric works. I’ve done it on cotton hessian bags with an embellisher, but that has so much more force than I’d dare to use with a single needle.
    Have you thought about making the Mer family a spinning, weaving, fibre preparing octopus? I’m sure you could do it, and I’m sure your Guild members would love to see it.
    Hope the Guild sale is going well.

    1. Thanks Ann, next time no Souper wash wool!! it dose tecnicaly needle felt…..slowly….but it also gets rubbed easily, i will find a good audio book and just stab him till he is even firmer. glenn’s is going to be more 3-d with shadeing (as requested), it is using Maori short staple bat which is felting well. i would also consider shetland.
      i will think about an octopus for the Mer’s. but after i have all the Mers done.
      the sale went very well and i will give you a tour soon. today i am in at the guild working on the library and looking forward to tomorow(sleep in and see if i can save the Dalias for over wintering.)

  2. Jan, this is perfect, exactly the sort of embellishments I was hoping for when the idea ! I hope others get on board and start getting as creative with their bags as you are with yours, just plain love this.

    1. thanks Bernadette, i herd there may be a woven scarf being added to one of the bags, maybe next year we can have an exhibit of all the various augmentations that have been made?
      oh the guild computer is not being recogied by the blog as me, its jan

    2. thanks Bernadette, i herd there may be a woven scarf being added to one of the bags, maybe next year we can have an exhibit of all the various augmentations that have been made?
      oh the guild computer is not being recogied i will try to relog in and see if it notices its me (jan)

    1. Thanks! i am working on Glenn’s now and he has requested more 3-D and more shadeing. it almost feel like cheeting, it is very easy to follow the silowet edge! i am looking forword to seeing what others do to enbelish there bags

    1. THanks Ruth! i was pleased with the 3 d-ness but its not as easy to see in the photos as i hoped. glenns lighter moose should be much easyer to see the shape. i am quite pleased useing the T-38 333 needles.

  3. I think he’s magnificent Jan! What a brilliant idea to celebrate such a momentous occasion. Are they for sale to the wider public? M in the UK and I’d love to buy one 😊 Lisa

    1. thank You Both!! we would like to be able to sell them farther afeald Ann has been looking into shipping costs which are looking prity horrible. it would be cheepest to do a group order of a few bags. i am sure Ann will update us. it is a very cute moose and so helpful with his skane winding ability!

  4. Oh Jan, he is a magnificent proud beast and so typical of you converting a 2-D into a 3-D image.

    Long may he be by your side to carry your projects….a fabulous fun idea. So pleased this image was chosen.

    I hope you will post how others in the guild embellish their moose

    1. Thanks Antje, i do have a bit of a problem with keeping 2D flat! i enjoyed getting my moose to this stage (moose got a jacket droped on him and i think some one used him as a seat back cushen, he got rubed and now looks rather scruffy, its the bain of being made of super wash mareno)i had prommised to make a bag for Glenn, it will likey cary bord games about trains. i should show you his moose as its quite difernt from mine.

      as decorated Moose aperar i will definatly catch them(with the camera)!

  5. Not surprised to hear Glens moose was chosen for the bags….what a great design! I hope more members follow your lead and have fun embellishing their bags too!

    1. Thanks Karen, i liked it too! it was simple and had a canadain flair. we also use to have a moose each spring that would wind up ins someones pool in the ariar over by the air port. the city has now spralled past the air port and the moose have to find pools farther to the south to wind up in.
      ithink we sold 51 bags at the sale and should be selling more at the december meeting. Ann is still looking into shipping options. i have seen a few attending socials but so far not embelished. So i am very hopefull more decorated moose will apear!

    2. Oh heck, I hope the mouse weren’t hurt! Nice to know the bags are popping up at various venues. You must keep flashing yours about to encourage others to embellish!

  6. What a lovely moose/elk! Your idea to add a handmade 3D element to it is genius. Of course, your felting makes the beast have a very anatomically correct shape, which makes it even better. Well done, Jan!

    1. Thanks Leonor! Wate till you see what Glenns moose looks like so far! i am having truble finding the bag with the next colour i want to add. (i used it for bat on a stick, so where did i put it? bat jsut keeps smilling at me and giving me a thumbs up. not very helpfull).

    1. Thanks!! Oh this may meen i need to get another bag and make a summer Moose!!! Glenn’s moose has the lighter base colour.

  7. What a wonderful design! I’d love to see how others embellished theirs! So many options available.

    1. we have sold about 51 bags at the show and a few before. i soon as i see an embelished moose i will try to capturer it and give an up date when i have a few.

  8. Great bag design and you’ve done a fabulous job of personalising your very own moose. What a lovely project. I hope the other guild members are being equally creative

    1. thanks Lindsay, i hope so there are so many options, embridery, make him a handwoven scarf or jacket, add handspun yarn in his antlers…… once i see a few i will try to show them here.

    1. Thanks Carlene! i cant wate to see what you do with your moose!, will he be fully entangled with handspun? or will you weave him a coat to keep him warm. (stupid snow again yesterday!!)

  9. First of all, congratulations to all on this very significant anniversary Jan.

    The bags were a super design, so well made and I hope they sell like hot cakes.

    Your moose is absolutely gorgeous. Don’t be too surprised if a lot of bag buyers follow your idea. As the saying goes ‘imitation is the greatest form of flattery’.

    1. Thanks Helene! I hope we get more felted moose too! i am also hopeing for moose reperesnting lots of other fiber arts, i know we have a fabulous tatter in the guild i wounder if she will make her moose a lovely lace coller or maybe a shawll?
      75 Years is an acheavement for a guild! we have a few differnt ideas planed for the year, this is the first one rolling out. Ann has another one about to start too.

  10. As usual I am playing catch up on comments. 😝

    Jan, I think your “dear” moose 🫎 wins first prize 🏆 in my book. What a way to sell those bags, to guild members, too! I’m sure they are all eager to embellish their own woolly beast for themselves. Now, I am sorry we didn’t make the trip! (But, Brian and I discussed it thoroughly, and will be making it over to see our Canadian FFS friends soon.)

    I’m hoping to donate fiber related tools, books, and dyed yarns, to your Guild. Your guild can use the items, or sell them, to raise funds at next year’s sale.


    1. Thank You Capi!! it will be grate to meet you in person! i can show off the Guild library. humm maybe i sould give a tour on the blog some day? since the snow has started already it may be more fun to wate till that idea gose away again maybe by April? but who knows what the weather will decide on this winter. (rummers of +8c later in the week)
      the bag was a fun projcet and i am looking forword to seeing other embelishments of the moose, or maybe just add a background for the moose? the posiblitys are emence!

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