Welcome

Penguins

Penguins

union jack flag

Welcome to the home of The Greedy Crocodile. Here you can find out more about needle felting, and the felted sculptures of Amy Wright.

You can navigate this site using the page tabs above, and in the sideboard to the right you can find links to other interesting sites. As yet it is not possible to purchase sculptures or materials directly through this site, but you will find links to my Etsy and DaWanda sites on the Shops page, and you can also contact me directly.

german flag

Closing Down Sale

husky 2

 

The Greedy Crocodile is closing down. After the 18th July 2014 it will no longer be possible to purchase a unique piece of fantastic artwork from The Greedy Crocodile.

 

Until the 27th June 2014 there is a sale on all made to order items. After that they will be unavailable.

Between 27th June and 18th July 2014, there will be a sale on all remaining stock.

From flocks to socks: an insight into processing wool

This is an interview with Colouritgreen in Devon from a couple of years ago. She talks about the sheep on her smallholding, and the processes involved in using their wool.

bettyandbertie2

Betty and Bertie
Photos courtesy of Colouritgreen

What is your daily routine with your sheep?

Daily, it is a matter of checking on them, counting heads and checking they have access to grass, water and shelter – that everyone is the right way up :-), that no one is limping or behaving oddly or appears out of sorts etc. After that it is the matter of dealing with problems – such as pulling one out of a fence when she forced her head through the fence and couldn’t back off…, or trimming a hoof etc.

Are there seasonal differences in how they have to be kept?

Yes – there’s a whole calendar to it.  If we intend to lamb, the ram will go in with them in Autumn – traditionally the ram goes in on bonfire night, for lambs on all fools day.  After his visit (we borrow a ram) there is not much to do for the sheep during winter, in fact it is best to handle them as little as possible if they are pregnant.  We give them extra food if it snows, and move them from field to field to get fresh pasture.  As they approach lambing time they get extra food.
Lambing is a spring thing, and very intensive, we have to check them through the night and assist with lambing if necessary. Then you have to check the lambs are ok and worry about them too!
Early summer and we have to think about shearing (and that lovely wool!). They are more prone to pests during the warmer months so we have to check and treat as necessary.  Come autumn, time for any lambs that are being sent off to go, to check the condition of the ewes, and the ram comes to visit again.
Are they individuals with their own characters?
 
Oh yes! Sharona, our old girl is grumpy about everything.. although she always seems to end up alongside for a scratch along her back… Bertie is just gormless.. Saffie is stroppy but friendly at the same time.. the two newer girls stamp their feet at us and run off.. :)
What are their common diseases/problems?
There are many many sheep diseases, whole books of them – often with funny names – such as ‘daft lamb disease’ – I mean really, how would you know?  But with ordinary good luck the problems are flystrike, worms, and maybe  fluke.  These can be treated.  We don’t go in for routine treatment, but do if  a problem develops.  Sheep can also have problems with their feet, as they are designed for running about on rocks, not in fields, so they need a pedicure now and then.  Fortunately our flock is so tame we can just pick up a foot horse style and deal with it easily.  See all that patting and chatting to them pays off :)
And what are their strengths?
In many ways sheep are a lot more hassle than other livestock, but their strength has to be that they are not a threat – cows can be dangerous and pigs bite, and smell, but  you can stroll through fields of sheep without fear, and they turn grass into meat and lovely lovely wool.
I lived on a farm with sheep around us and just saw it as part of the scenery, but when we got our own I was blown away with how entertaining they are  – they are companiable, and funny, lambs racing around and springing about the fields are pure entertainment.  I wouldn’t be without them now.
Processing the wool
After they are shorn, we take the fleeces and pull off any dirty bits, and wrap them in a cotton duvet cover and store it in one of our out-buildings.When it comes time to wash some – well there are differing opinions but this is what we do.  We pull off about 100g of fleece at a time, and wash it in hot water with soap – carefully as hot water and soap plus wool equals felt!. Then carefully rinse it out.  Then we dye it at this point – or not if it is to be natural.

etsy.com/colouritgreen

Carded wool by Colouritgreen

We dry it on a rack, then it is time to card it. We use a drum carder, and passing bits of the wool through this removes any double cut pieces, debris, and knots and straightens all the fibres out into a bit fluffy batt. At this point I often blend the colours on the carder, to get interesting shades and combinations – it really is colour therapy!

Spun wool by Colouritgreen

From there it is spun on our wheel into yarn, then plied then we measure the yardage and wraps per inch, and skein it and then it is good to go!

Felting supplies now in stock / Filzzubehör jetzt im Laden / Vilt benodigheden nu verkrijgbar

The Greedy Crocodile has begun to stock supplies. You can now find felting needles (in 32, 36 and 40 gauge) in my Etsy shop, and soon in my DaWanda shop. And the range will soon be widened.

trockenfilznadeln

Das Gierige Krokodil hat jetzt Materialen zum nadelfilzen im Laden. Schaut mal in meinem Etsy shop! Ich habe mit Filznadeln angefangen – mehr Filzzubehör kommt gleich, sowie in meinem DaWanda Laden.

A Trip to the Poles of the Earth

white bear, snow bear

Polar Bear / Eisbär

I have been planning to make some animals from the polar regions for a long time, and at last I’ve actually made some. This polar bear was one of the first (there was a baby polar, but he sold a little while ago). He is supposed to be a fierce bear, standing up on his hind legs to fight with another bear, or perchance to threaten a foolish human who has strayed too near… But I think he looks incredibly camp, and a little bit as if he should have a handbag over one of those paws. I think I may have been watching Brave at some point while this was being made, which may account for the extreme girlishness of his stature. It is quite incredible how subconscious influences shape what come from the felting needle. Anyhow, this terrifying example of pure bear power has been named “Cindy” by my little girl, which I think sums his character up neatly.

polar fox, snow fox

Arctic Fox / Polarfuchs

If you search google for images of arctic foxes they are often curled up into a tight ball like this one. I suppose that is probably to keep them cosy and warm in the freezing weather, but it also looks very cute, and is easier to felt than a fox with legs. I do have a be-legged fox in the making, but it isn’t ready yet! This fox is in a similar pose to my cats, and the simplicity of the pose draws attention to his bright orange eyes and pointy little fox nose. Another absolutely amazing arctic fox, by the way, has been made by my friends at Grin, Grimace and Squeak.

penguin

Emperor Penguin / Kaiserpinguin

baby seal

Baby Harp Seal / Baby Sattelrobbe

tern

Arctic Tern / Küstenseeschwalbe

All these items can be found in my Etsy shop, or my Dawanda shop.

Das Gierige Krokodil entdeckt Dresden

Today the greedy crocodile decided to explore Dresden a little bit, while helping out on a photoshoot with some of his felted pals.

Croc and baby croc enjoying the sunshine in the Neustadt

The croc getting in the picture

First he went down to the banks of the Elbe to check out the view of Dresden and the Augustbrücke, a la Bellotto.

The croc admiring the view to the west

Next he wandered over the Augustusbrücke towards the Altstadt, stopping on the way to admire the view to the west, in the direction of Meissen. I love the light coming off the river here.

Don’t jump!

He leaned over the edge to look into the river…

Face on the Augustusbrücke

and noticed this face on the bridge – visible to boats going under the bridge, but not really to people on top.!

Mini Scott monument

He passed by this blackened gothic thingy (I’m sorry, I don’t know what it is! I will look next time I go past). It reminds me of a miniature Scott Monument.

We are in Germany after all!

Then he headed for some shade and some refreshment!

The Arctic Tern

I am very gradually (very, very gradually) working my way through the fauna of Shetland in needle felted form. I am officially addicted to Shetland ponies, almost completely because of Frances Taylor’s blog ShetlandPonyEverything (as I seem to remember saying before!). I will continue to make these fantastic little beasts – next up is a rolling Shetland pony, showing off a nice round tum.

 

But as well as stabbing wool I also enjoy spinning it. Having finally knitted this yarn into a beret, I wanted something to jazz it up.

Lupin and Haar, Shetland wool tops from Jamiesons, spun on my drop spindle. Suitable for 5mm needles, my perfect yarn for berets.

The name of the blue yarn is haar, which is a sea mist, and this colour is a lovely bright sky blue with trails of misty lights threading through it. So I thought, why not a bird pin? The Arctic Tern is a very distinctive and beautiful bird, suitable for making in miniature. Apparently it is called a Tirrick in the Shetland dialect (anyone care to correct me/elaborate?)I don’t have any of my own photos of Arctic Terns (I’ve never seen any here in Dresden, funnily enough), so you’ll have to google them. They are stunning! Their wings and tails are the most amazing shape, so elegant.

And here it is

It is the first bird I have made, and I am very pleased with the result (though as usual my photos are rubbish, for which I apologise). Although it is small it has come out very well – it’s very firm, and has quite a lot of detail, and plenty of shape. Unfortunately I don’t think it works very well as a hat embellishment. I have attached a brooch back, though I quite like the idea of it hovering over my desk.. I am at work experimenting with a clay base and wire.

I am also making a larger version… but it might take a while. I’m not even doing the feathers individually – only some of them, and I am BORED NOW!! I already had a huge amount of respect for Mel of FeltMeUpDesigns – how she gets the patience to do all these lovely little feathers I don’t know! It’s definitely worth the effort (please go to her Flickr page and take a look at her amazing owls). But the smaller bird was very satisfying to make, and more will be coming!

And, by the way, I recently found this fascinating website

http://www.shetlanddialect.org.uk/

well worth a browse! I myself will be rummaging rather than browsing.

 

 

 

New Wool!!! From ColouritGreen in Devon

Today the postman brought me a present – some wool from ColouritGreen in Devon.

Look at the green envelope!!

I love CiG’s wool* because:

-it is lovely wool – little bit coarse, little bit soft, lovely for needle felting, good for spinning – everything you could wish for in your wool;

- CiG dyes it fantastic colours – some are commercial dyes, and some are natural. My mediaevalist’s imagination will never ceast to be captured by the idea of woad, and the fact that there are still people living on Dartmoor growing and using their own woad – well, it’s just quite exciting;

- the wool comes from CiG’s own few Devon Closewool sheep on her smallholding, so it fulfils any kindness to animals issues you might think of (and their are some in wool production), and ticks all sustainability and environmental boxes;

for some reason these curls make me think Morgana… after all, everyone knows the Arthurian legends are based in the South West of England (no matter what the Scottish may claim…)

- CiG and her sheep live on Dartmoor, in Devon, very close to the place I myself come from. And although I have left England and would not choose to live on Dartmoor myself, that doesn’t mean I don’t value it greatly for its clean winds, beautiful landscapes, soft water, stone age villages, amazing plants, very old twisted trees, extreme weather conditions, interesting geology, myths, monsters, lovely ponies, the sea – the list is endless (in fact, if you haven’t been there, you should. Though you should also take a look at Exmoor, which is smaller but in many ways superior…).

Dartmoor: image from Wikipedia

CiG can be found on her own website (well worth a browse)

on Etsy

and on Folksy

And a while ago I wrote about ColouritGreen on this blog as part of a series about wool (a series which I haven’t finished… it’s having a ‘break’…!)

*CiG does have a real name, I believe – but I always think of her as CiG. That’s the power of good branding…