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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!