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Crafting with the girls: felting


Saturday afternoon, while H is at hockey, and Pip is hopefully having a nap, is my craft time with the girls.  It’s not an exclusive thing, they make and create things all day long, but I try to make Saturday afternoons a little bit special, a time when I can just push away the outside world for a little time and focus on my girls.  Making it a part of our weekly rhythm is a bit of a work in progress though and this week we got to Saturday and I wondered what on earth we were going to do, I hadn’t planned anything, or even thought about anything.  The answer it appears is to have a house that is full to the brim with craft supplies because this week’s project literally landed at my feet when a little parcel of bright pink carded wool tumbled off the dresser into my lap.

Space for the Butterflies - crafting with the girls

It was Kitty’s, a birthday present from Elma, but it had sat unopened just waiting for us to try another experiment in felting.  And so that’s what we did.

I’ve never tried needle felting before but I do own a needle felting tool, a rather vicious piece of kit that holds five felting needles inside a circular guard.  What I don’t own is any sort of felting mat, either official, or clean washing up sponge purloined from the cupboard, so we used a garden chair cushion on the basis that it was largely foam and if I accidentally felted something to it, I could live with that.

I’ve seen a few beginner projects that start with making a 2D shape inside a cookie cutter so with Valentine’s Day approaching we thought we’d try hearts. My first effort, just using layers of fibre did very nearly end up being part of the garden cushion, but then we  put down a background of wool felt and that helped, although we still had to gently lift it off the cushion from time to time.  Those of you who know about felting, is that normal on a proper felting mat or is there something clever about it that stops things sticking?

It was the perfect project to let Kitty loose with, stabbing away to her heart’s content and adding layer upon layer to her pretty heart while Elma and a newly awake Pip and I had another go at wet felting.

Space for the Butterflies - crafting with the girls

The last time we tried wet felting, hoping to make little felt balls we could string as beads we ended up with wiggly worms, so this time I thought we’d set out to make wiggly worms, managing all our expectations from the outset!  Thanks to Christmas I also had quite the collection of bubble wrap envelopes and it turns out they’re just the thing for making wiggly worms.

Space for the Butterflies - crafting with the girls

We practiced teasing out the wool until it was as light as a cloud and then laid them all on top of each other, splashed on a bit of warm soapy water (Pip’s favourite part), and rubbed them back and forth between two sheets of bubble wrap envelope until they were all stuck together.Space for the Butterflies - crafting with the girls

Elma has decided that they’re wands, although a wobblier wand you’d be hard pushed to find, but I’ve got every intention to sneak them away when they’ve finished playing with them to try needle felting the wet felting to some background felt as the outline of a heart and making it into a little heart for them each for Valentine’s Day. What do you think? I’m very much a novice at the whole felting thing – would that work?

Space for the Butterflies - crafting with the girls

But the bit that made me smile to myself was that when the felting and the construction lost its appeal neither of the girls could quite bring themselves to put down the wool! They made streaks for their hair, pretended to powder their noses, and just generally squished and mashed it between their fingers. I think their exposure to all things woolly from a very early age is starting to show, and it does make me happy to see!

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  • Jennifer 01/02/2016 at 8:46 am

    That looks like so much fun! Needle felting is a craft that I’ve not tried yet as I don’t have any of the materials, I keep meaning to put a beginner felting kit on my Christmas list. I love the idea of setting aside a particular time of the week for crafting, I often line up a craft ready for the children to do when they come back from school to try and ward off the inevitable demands for the TV or iPad for as long as I can!

    • Carie 01/02/2016 at 10:40 pm

      H has an after school craft routine for much the same reason!! I’m definitely tiptoeing on the edge of felting at the moment but I think it could be rather addictive!

  • sustainablemum 01/02/2016 at 9:19 am

    We made some of those worms recently with some roving we had. We ‘tied’ them onto a hair band to make it a little funkier. If you fold it in two and put the ends back into the loop (over the hair band) they stay in place. I have over ever tried wet felting so don’t know how it compares to needle felting.

    • Carie 01/02/2016 at 10:38 pm

      Oh the girls would love that – thank you for the top tip!

  • Kim 01/02/2016 at 11:43 am

    Looks like fun! I love needle felting, but don’t do it enough, and the little man and I do quite a bit of wet felting. His favourite is wet felting rocks 🙂

    • Carie 01/02/2016 at 10:37 pm

      How did I forget about rocks!! I’ll have to see if we can find some good pebbles on the beach at Grandpa’s house!

  • Andrea 01/02/2016 at 1:07 pm

    With the needle felting, turn the project over from time to time and stab at it from the other side. That helps move the fibres into the middle and helps prevent them sticking so badly to whatever is underneath. I still turn it over when I felt on the felting base that I have. It makes the whole project more cohesive when it is done.

    • Carie 01/02/2016 at 10:37 pm

      Oh thank you, I’d never thought of that but it makes perfect sense 🙂

  • Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely 01/02/2016 at 8:05 pm

    I wondered about felting after I saw it on a TV programme just before Christmas. I’ve never tried it before but bought a couple of beautiful decorations. I might give it a try with the boys … we can learn at the same time. P.S. I went on a beginner’s sewing course on Saturday and it was the BEST!! I’m completely in love with my sewing machine now 🙂

    • Carie 01/02/2016 at 10:36 pm

      Yay! It’s the start of a wonderful slippery slope!

  • Claire @ Clarina's Comtemplations 02/02/2016 at 12:03 am

    So cute!!! I’ve never tried felting… Always one of those ones that looked too scary and complicated. Great job, girls!

    • Carie 02/02/2016 at 10:51 pm

      And yet when you actually get started it really isn’t – definitely worth a try after beeswax candles!

  • Cheryl | TimeToCraft 02/02/2016 at 2:42 pm

    I did this with my children when they were a similar age. Flushed with success I then took it into school and managed to get 24 five year olds doing it. That is probably why I’ve not made wiggly worms since. We did go on to make little bags with resists, but now they are all old enough to handle needlefelting, that seems to have taken over. Beware it is addictive.

    • Carie 02/02/2016 at 10:54 pm

      It does have that feeling about it – but it’s too much fun to resist!

  • Sally 02/02/2016 at 6:19 pm

    That looks like lots of fun, I think maybe Maria and I need to try some more wet felting soon. And as for your needlefelting, I’ve done very little of it but your plan sounds very logical to me, hope it works.

    • Carie 02/02/2016 at 10:55 pm

      Me too – I just have to find the wiggly worm wands now – I think they may have been co-opted to be a very important part of some game or other!