needle felting

Needle-felted Sir John A. Macdonald

The Wool Shed at Topsy Farms was visited by a life-sized, needle-felted Sir John A. Macdonald.

Closeup of Sir John A., outdoors

Closeup of Sir John A. sculpture

He is an amazingly realistic, life-sized, well-dressed sculpture, who rides in the front passenger seat of a car, or in an antique ‘push-chair’.

He ‘lives’, much of the time, clutching an empty glass, awaiting his next refill.

This needle-felted Sir John A. Macdonald was made entirely of wool.

The sculpture of ‘the Father of Confederation’ was made by Gesina Laird-Buchanan on the 200th anniversary of his birth, for an International Bridge Tournament in Kingston.

Gesina said “it took 8 small fleeces to create him”. Some days I felt so obsessed, I worked on him non-stop from 8 am until after midnight.”

Gesina is an experienced sculptor in clay (see Working with wool was new to her, but she learned fast, finding many similarities to clay sculpting.

She said “I started with his head and face. If I couldn’t succeed in finding his true likeness, there was no point in working on his body”.

Sir John A. inside Wool Shed showing yarn in back ground, holding roving

Sir John A. inside Wool Shed with armfuls of roving

Peeking boldly under his cuffs and under his pant leg, one finds felted wool everywhere.

He graciously (well, grumpily) agreed to let go of his glass for a few minutes to hold a great armful of washed and carded wool or ‘roving’ in the Topsy Farms Wool Shed, demonstrating the medium from which he was built. We didn’t ask him to hold felting needles, thinking he might be sensitive on that point.

Creator Gesina purchased a giant bag or two of roving wool from Topsy in anticipation of her next project.

Topsy Farms has a huge range of needle felting supplies: 4 natural and 20 colours of washed and carded wool roving, beginner needle felting kits and hundreds of felting needles, available here:

Sir John’s hands have a wire armature, so adjust readily. He was glad to let go of the wool armfuls, and to again clutch his empty glass.

Gesina says “at home, he prefers to sit near the fireplace – it is also rather near the liquor cabinet.”

Needle Felting Kits

 Topsy-smNow available:
Needle Felting Kits

Needle Felting Kit showing pad, 2 needles, white and dark natural wool fleece

Needle Felting Kit




Each Needle Felting Kit Includes:

  • 1.5 ounces of washed and carded wool,
    natural white and dark grey
  • 2 – 38 gauge triangular needles
  • 1 high density foam pad
  • 1 wooden skewer


Sample Card displaying coloured Felting Wool available

Felting Wool Colour Sample card

Cost is $15.00 plus tax and mailing

For more information, or to order, please contact:

  • (613) 389-3444
  • 888-287-3157

Coloured wool is available in 12 colours;

$2.00 an ounce


Unusual Uses For Wool

Just wearing your sweater, you know that wool keeps you warm. Sheepskin and wool have been used for warmth as long as sheep and people have been around. Wikipedia says “Sheep wool is a natural, sustainable, renewable, theoretically recyclable and totally biodegradable material that does not endanger the health of people or the environment.” Sheepskins add beauty and comfort and can be healing for poorly sleeping infants or bedridden sufferers. These uses for wool are familiar.

Here are a few less usual ways that wool is being used…

Wool is an ideal natural mulch. At Topsy Farms we have an excess of ‘belly wool’ which contains too much dirt, chaff and fecal matter to process for yarn. However, it is ideal to use as mulch around the base of trees and shrubs. It is porous and cooling for plant roots yet impervious to weeds. As a side benefit, the birds in our area often use bits of this mulch to line their nests. They know a good thing when they see/feel it.

Ontario Local Lamb 1 Ontario Local Lamb 2

Tri-Art Audio in Kingston uses our wool for audio insulation in amplifiers and speakers. Their website says: “Wool is an ideal vehicle to dampen out sound. Tri-Art Audio blocks use local, 100% natural sheep wool to control sound frequencies in the cavities of the blocks and the Tuned Acoustic Damper.”

insulating with wool batts from Living RoomsWikipedia again: “Sheep wool is a natural insulator because it has a crimped nature which traps air in millions of tiny pockets.” At Living Rooms in Kingston sheep’s wool is available for buildings in batts, rolls, loose fill, rope for around windows and for use in log homes. Since wool is a natural insulator, wool is also used extensively in yurts in western Canada. It beats the toxicity of fiberglass or caulking and presents no danger to the installer.



Ontario Local Lamb 4Andrea Graham is a felt maker and fibre artist in Odessa, gaining world-wide fame with her wool felted creations. She uses Topsy washed and carded wool among other sources.


Pure wool felts beautifully.  Topsy Wool Shed carries environmentally recommended felted wool dryer balls, hats and purses.

One of our lamb customers has a daschund with damaged hips from too much joyful jumping so he has lived in a wheelchair for the past 5 years. Dominic is now far more comfortable with his chair padded with sheepskin.

Ontario Local Lamb 5


Most dogs love sleeping on sheepskin dog beds, they find them cozy and the wool doesn’t hold moisture the way alternatives do, so odor causing bacteria can’t thrive. Cotton-encased wool mattress pads, comforters and pillows offer the same lofty, supportive comfort to people too.

Wool enhances all our lives!

Topsy Farms is located on scenic Amherst Island, west of Kingston, in Lake Ontario. Our sheep farm has been owned and operated for over 35 years by 5 shareholders, and involves 3 generations of the Murray family. Our flock of about 2500 sheep graze on tree-shaded pastures, protected by over 20 miles of fence and numerous guard dogs. Natural farming methods without spraying pesticides, or using growth hormones, chemicals, or animal by-products, produce animals of the highest quality.
Nous vous invitons à communiquer avec nous en français à, ou par téléphone: 1-888-287-3157. Demandez à parler à Sally.