How to needle felt your very own Little Rabbit

Swapna Haddow Adventures With Little Rabbit Leave a Comment

Alison Friend’s gorgeous illustrations of Little Rabbit in Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise got me inspired to create a plushie of the character. During my travels of New Zealand’s South Island, we stopped off at The Woolshed Canaan to enjoy some delicious ice cream and I took the opportunity to learn about needle felting.

That’s right, folks! I needle felted a Little Rabbit and I’ve put together this tutorial post so you can make your very own too.

First off, I had a good long look at Alison’s illustration of Little Rabbit.

For ease of needle felting, she is essentially four colours: brown, white, with pink and black for features. I used merino wool but any sheet of wool will work.

To make a Little Rabbit, you will need brown wool, white wool, black wool and pink wool. You will also need a couple of felting needles of different gauges and an old cushion to lean on. (Trust me, it’s not fun getting a felting needle in the thigh.)

Tear off enough brown wool to form the ball of the head and the tubular shape of the body. You will want to form the shape of the head and the body and I found this tutorial here really useful for perfecting the technique.

Essentially you are poking the felting needle repeatedly into the wool to create the shape you want. Use an old cushion to support your work and protect your knees and furniture from the needle.

Once I finished shaping the head and body, I used the same technique to place a white belly on Little Rabbit’s body.

Next up, the features on Little Rabbit’s face. You will want to switch to a finer felting needle to neaten up the features, using the same technique of pricking the needle into the wool repeatedly.

I finished by creating Little Rabbit’s legs and ears, all the while using Alison’s illustrations as a reference point and decided I wanted a seated Little Rabbit to sit alongside her books.

I hope you all have a go at creating your own Little Rabbits and if you do, please send in photos of your creations because I love seeing your work.

Dave Pigeon at KidsFest 2019

Swapna Haddow Roosting With Dave Leave a Comment

Today, I was at KidsFest, in association with WORD Christchurch, at the beautiful Tūranga in Christchurch where I got to introduce an audience to my terrible but financially rewarding habit of telling tales.

We had a game of Guess Which Statement Was One of Swapna Haddow’s Many Many Outrageous Lies and then I got to meet with twenty-two budding young writers for a two-hour writing workshop.

I had such a blast meeting the young writing talent in Christchurch and it was an absolute honour to be part of KidsFest 2019. Thank you so much to all who came along and made this a very special afternoon.

Return to Wonderland on 27th June…

Swapna Haddow Scrapbook Leave a Comment

Just three more sleeps until the Return To Wonderland anthology, illustrated by Laura Barrett, is officially out.

I’m so chuffed to have been part of this gorgeous collection of stories alongside some of today’s biggest children’s authors including Robin Stevens, Pamela Butchart, Patrice Lawrence, Maz Evans, Lisa Thompson, Amy Wilson, Lauren St John and Piers Torday.

My story, ‘The Missing Book‘, revisits Carroll’s Mock Turtle in his Wonderland library – I had the most fun falling back down the rabbit hole and reimagining the Mock Turtle. I won’t give you any spoilers but I really hope you enjoy his story.

Happy reading everyone!

Dave Pigeon at Queenspark School

Swapna Haddow Roosting With Dave Leave a Comment

Today, I visited years 3, 4, 5 and 6 at Queenspark School as part of their Book Week celebrations.

We had a blast talking about imagination and creativity and giving Mean Cat the stories she never had in the Dave Pigeon series.

Mean Cat got to meet donkeys, toilets, ponies, a meaner cat and a whole lot of poop.

Thank you so much to the pupils and staff at Queenspark School and a HUGE thanks to super librarian Maree for making me feel so at home at Queenspark School.

The Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!) Launch Party

Swapna Haddow Halfway Round the World with the Haddows, Patron of Reading Official Business, Roosting With Dave Leave a Comment

Hurray hurray! The very brilliant Zac and my Patron of Reading school, Halswell School, hosted the Kiwi launch of Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!) on Tuesday evening. Thank you very much to everyone who came along to celebrate and for those who didn’t manage to make it, here are some pictures from a most pigeontastic evening:

There were royal crowns for everyone.
Dave and Skipper were on hand to greet the guests.
My gorgeous fluffer didn’t want to miss out on the action.
There was a most magnificent royal cake.
There were royal activity sheets…
…And royal Cheerio bird feeders.
We even had our very own Zac the librarian as MC!
Of course, there were many many selfies.
Before I got to my reading there was an extra-special message, from Sheena Dempsey, all the way from the UK.
Here I am, reading from Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!).
Thank you so much to everyone who came along and made it such a special event.

Dave Pigeon visits Ouruhia School

Swapna Haddow Roosting With Dave Leave a Comment

Yesterday, I was invited to speak to the pupils at Ouruhia School. This was the very first time I was taking Dave Pigeon (Royal Coo!) into a school and I was excited to meet the pupils and see what that thought of the new book.

I was greeted by a brilliant ‘Swapna Haddow’ display in their warm, cosy library.

Years 0 to 4 joined me for a Royal Pigeon character creation workshop and we designed character crowns together. There was a Prince Hamburger, a pigeon in a flying squirrel suit, a royal rabbit and a royal cat amongst many more pigeontastic characters.

Next, I met with the older pupils and we talked about creativity before writing our own Mean Cat stories together. There was lots of poo and deadly endings and I met many budding authors that morning.

Thank you so much to the staff and pupils at Ouruhia School, especially Maree, who made me feel so welcome in their wonderful school.

Dave Pigeon at Auckland Writers Festival

Swapna Haddow Halfway Round the World with the Haddows, Roosting With Dave Leave a Comment

Kia ora, Readers! I’m back in Christchurch after an epic weekend away in Auckland at the Auckland Writers Festival.

I was so chuffed to be invited to this brilliant festival to take part in Family Day and introduce the Kiwi kids to Dave Pigeon.

Of course, I went along to as many events at the festival. The line up was impressive to say the least and I got to see the prime minister Jacinda Ardern, my writing hero John Boyne and the legendary Joy Cowley who was this year’s honoured writer amongst many, many more.

On Sunday, I ran a session where I confessed to where my love for telling tales came from. The kids were so fantastic and had so many questions about writing a publishing we lost track of time!

Photo by Josie Shapiro

I had such a fantastic first trip to Auckland and have to say a huge thank you to Nicola Strawbridge and the team of volunteers who looked after me at the weekend.