Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some of My Wool Projects -- Felting & Dolls

For a long time now I have wanted to post pictures of some of my wool projects and, finally, here they are! (You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.) This is my favorite hobby. It's a great thing to do on a rainy afternoon (which we never seem to have here) and also very portable. Mom and Dad gave me one of those nifty "scrapbooking suitcases" for my birthday which actually works perfectly for wool felting supplies. The picture below is of most of my wool roving, tools and samples of the many shades of wool felt.

Now, what do you do with all that stuff? First of all, it is usally sorted by color into little bags and pockets so that I can find just what I need for a certain project. You can felt in two basic methods: needle felting and water felting (these pictures are of needle felting). To begin, you just take a small ball or roll of roving and lay it on the felting pad (plastic pad with nylon bristles in pic below), then you start to poke the wool with the felting needle. The needle is about three inches long and barbed (very small barbs that you can barely see and can't really feel). By running the barbs of the needle through the wool it turns to felt! The more you poke the needle into the wool, the harder and firmer the felt. I have a bright pink "pen" handle to hold the needle, but you can hold the needle by itself if you want to.

This pen handle can hold up to three needles. There is also another needle holder (you can see it in the top photo) that holds up to five needles, but that is only used for applique. If you turn the piece of roving around, poking it in different places, as you stab it with the needle, then you can actually makes 3-D sculptures. If you just continually stab the wool in the same place or area, then you have a flat, applique type of design. Below are some pictures of birds that I made for Mom. These each took about an evening to make (and a few pokes in the fingers --- ouch). The first one is a Cardinal, the second is a Cedar Waxwing (It was kind of hard to take a picture of.) and the third one is a Goldfinch.

Another fun project, though not very much as far as the felting end of things, are these little dolls in the pics below. The tallest ones (several of the Lord of the Rings characters and the WWII Sailor) are four inches tall. The short little Hobbit dolls are 2-1/2" tall. The bodies are made of pipe cleaners wrapped in embroidery floss. The clothes are made out of pieces of wool felt, and the weapons and accessories are made (by Dad) out of popsicle sticks, toothpicks and assorted scraps of things. The heads are needle felted and the hair is roving. Elizabeth makes all of the clothes patterns herself! It took us a year (not full-time work) to make the Fellowship characters. The sailor took about four or five evenings. His little G.I. Joe buddy is in the works now!

Well, this should give you all an idea of some of the cool things that you can do with a barbed needle and some wool roving. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and I'll try to post some more of the other dolls that we've made.

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