Friday, March 12, 2010

Tutorial: Felted Wool Easter Eggs While You Wait

I must tell you that Willow and I are getting QUITE good at the guitar. We can do walking fingers, and Easter Bunny Gets Depressed After Easter, and tomorrow we are going to the music shop to buy music notebooks so that Will can do the rest of her guitar homework, which is to draw some quarter notes.

Will woke us up early this morning with her guitar practice, and it's a good thing that she got it done, too, for she has been sick AGAIN today. Thank goodness no barfing, because I don't think my nerves could handle another stomach bug so soon, but I am firmly against medicating a non-severe fever, and guess whose child of course gets hysterical every time she has a fever?

Fortunately, the child was placated with an endless supply of Mythbusters and Magic School Bus, and so I still had time to sew, and do laundry, and draw pictures with the baby, and cook a veggie chili that I distractedly made far too salty, and straighten the house, and read , and felt up some Easter eggs.

Felting with wool roving is one of the very few crafts that I do using new materials, and one of the very few activities of any sort that I do using animal products, and it's still not my favorite thing, frankly, but in a child's Easter basket it's non-plastic, non-sugary, non-factory-farmed chicken egg...and also colorful and soft and fun and suitable to be handed down to future generations of guitar-playing little girls, so there you go.

To felt your own Easter eggs, you will need:
  • egg forms. After Easter, when I can pick them up for free at the Recycling Center, likely, I have plans to make felted wool shaker eggs with those awful plastic Easter eggs, but for these particular eggs, which I intend to be heirloom-quality for my children, I'm using wooden eggs from Casey's Wood Products. I also have a fondness for their wood dinosaur cut-outs, if you must know.
  • wool roving. I buy my roving from The Arts at Eagle's Find, where I am assured that the shop owner knows the happy sheep from which the wool came.
  • hot water
  • dish soap
  • aluminum foil and a clothes dryer--just go with me on this for a bit
1. Cut off a goodly amount of roving--anywhere from twice to three times the size of your object, depending on how bulky it is: I always try to get by with a smaller amount of roving than I really need, but don't be like me--give yourself a generous amount of roving to work with.

2. Roll up your egg in your roving, trying not to have a bunch of the edges of the roving meet in the same place.

3. Get your roving-wrapped egg nice and saturated in the hot water and dish soap, and just sort of pat it down for a while. Pat, pat, pat all around the egg, gently working the roving into an even layer all over the egg. You don't want any spots that are too bulky, and you don't want any thin spots where the wood will peek through:
4. Keep doing this for a while, perhaps ten minutes or so, until the roving feels somewhat felted and holds itself around the egg. You can also rub, agitate, or roll the egg around in your hands--all that friction helps the roving felt.

5. When the roving is pretty well felted around the egg--it doesn't have to be perfect by any means--rinse out all of the dish soap, and then, while the egg is still soaking wet, wrap it snugly in some aluminum foil:I'm not a big fan of aluminum foil, either, but parchment paper and wax paper just didn't work. Aluminum foil works.

6. Throw the foil-wrapped eggs into your dryer along with a load of clothes, and dry everything on hot. The heat and agitation in the dryer will do an excellent job of completing the felting on your eggs, while you go do something else.

When you're done, your eggs will look something like this:
Aren't they cool? I think that I'm going to felt around most of the smaller eggs in our collection, and save the larger ones for decorating in other ways. Easter is coming up, after all, and we haven't gotten out the Sharpies or hot glue even once!

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Anna said...

Those are eggcellent! (Sorry, I had to.) Unrelatedly, would you like a couple of ridiculously soft, king-size, modal pillowcases for dress-making, or are you already overrun with the things?

kirsten said...

those turned out great! they would be awesome for the nature table. i was planning on buying some wood eggs for it anyway...

julie said...

I TOTALLY want to do a nature table sometime! Must clear crap off of some surface in my house first. Or buy another table.

Heck, yeah, I'd LOVE a couple more pillowcases! I have this idea to let the girls graffiti all over a couple of white pillowcases with Sharpies, and then make them pillowcase dresses from them.

Anna said...

There's a cream colored one and a goldish one~ they're extra big and extra soft! I could drop them at Montessori next week, or elsewhere this week.

cake said...

those are awesome. and i am intrigued by your dryer technique. i have wanted felting to happen magically in the washer and/or dryer, as i have heard it can, but it never has worked for me.

last year, i made a felted egg with white roving, then cut it open in a classic jaggedy manner, with a craft knife, and put a felted chick inside. i'll have to try these too.

julie said...

I imagine that the dryer itself really affects the product. Our dryer is practically brand-new, and I do many mean things to it.

How about Montessori this week, Anna? The administrative kerfuffles have ceased, so you're unlikely to come across adults weeping in the halls now. Actually, first grade admissions are coming up--adults weep in the hall then, too.

jocleyn said...

If you pit them in a panty hoes and put in wash on high agitate hot water, mid soap and then into the dryer it works wonders then you dont have to worry about the tinfoil.

julie said...

I've heard that pantyhose works really well, too, but I can't imagine another situation in my life, EVEN a crafty one, in which I will ever buy pantyhose again.

My main worry about felting stuff is ruining my washing machine. Matt cleans out the line running from it every now and then as part of the washer's regular maintenance, but I've heard of a woman who says that her washing machine clogged completely with felted wool bits over time.