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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Soft as a rock

During a rare slow period this past winter, I recklessly decided to start a new hobby.  In retrospect, I needed a new hobby like an Eskimo needs a Frigidaire (as George Jones would put it).  But the curse of the crafty is that when you see a new craft, you think, "I can do that!".

Needle felting, that's what I'm getting to.  If you are reading my blog, I'm assuming you have seen some felted projects around the blogosphere, Etsy, Supermarket and the like.  Anyway, I loved the aesthetic of felted pieces and had heard over and over again that needle felting was "easy" (with the small footnote that even experienced needle felters occasionally spill their own blood).

For those of you still in the dark, needle felting is a way of turning raw, unspun wool (a.k.a. roving) into felt.  Have you ever washed a wool sweater and had it come out of the washing machine looking like it might fit a neonate?  Well, that's wet felting.  The water, heat, and agitation of the washing machine denature and tangle the strands of wool into a thick, tough (shrunken) mat of felt.  With needle felting, the wool stays dry.  A very sharp (remember the blood I mentioned above), specialized needle with tiny divots in it is used to poke at the wool and mechanically tangle the fibres.

So, given my (short-lived) free time and the low start-up cost of needle felting, I gave it a try.


Stones like these were my inspiration.  Stones are a great starter project - there is no right shape to aim for.  A little wiggle room is ideal for your first project.

So I found some lovely grey and ivory roving (at this little shop during my trip to Ottawa) and gave it my best poke.  Well, my best million pokes.  And came up with something like this:

felt stones

Not too bad, I think!



For now, they decorate a large glass vase/candleholder on my table.

 table display

I have a few more items in the works, mainly consisting of decorations for our inaugural Christmas tree (for which we have a current total of nine ornaments).  I would love to do a Christmas post on a few of them.  Guess I better get felting!