Most of the talk of creating sea creatures for the Stitchin’ Fish project has focused on knitting and crochet. When I looked at the Ecology Action Centre’s species wish list, I knew I had to make a leatherback turtle since, in my former life, I was heavily involved with the Atlantic Canadian Recovery Team for this endangered species.

The idea of knitting the world’s largest living reptile was somewhat daunting, even if I didn’t make it life-size.

Photo: DFO Maritimes Region (click photo for more information)

I decided that it would be a perfect candidate for a needle felting project. This is only the second time I’ve used this technique, but I quickly learned that it is addictive. Once I got started, I couldn’t wait to finish, seeing it literally take shape beneath my fingers. Needle felting can be dangerous, and I did draw blood a few times, but I feel that the effort was worthwhile.

Leatherback turtles are long-distance swimmers and deep divers, so it wouldn’t be unusual to see them in the same areas as our cold-water corals. My woolly turtle is nowhere near life-sized, but maybe we can put him off in the back of the display so it looks like a huge turtle (900 kg!) that’s far away. They feed mainly on jellyfish, so I’ll have to make sure we have some of those in the display too.