This past Sunday I took part in a craft show. Knowing that an early winter storm was due to arrive the night before, I didn't anticipate a great turnout, and I wisely packed a book to take along with me. I would have had plenty of time to read if..... the most incredible 9-year old girl hadn't happened into my life.
She was with her mom and together they were selling knitted items at a table near me. I wandered over to see what they had for sale, since the best therapy for not making any money is to spend money. The young lady had a huge wad of wool roving which immediately set me drooling. As you may remember from one of my first posts, I have an insatiable craving for wool in any form, despite not really knowing what to do with it. And just to get off track for a moment, the scarf I started way back when is still on the needles since I decided I wanted to add length but do not know how to change from the emptied ball to the new one.
The girl showed me the project that she was working on... a multi-coloured needle felted cupcake. I nearly squealed with excitement. I have been fascinated for some time with the concept of needle felting. I had always pictured some horrible medieval torture instrument being used for the process and was so surprised that it was in fact just one solitary needle, albeit, a very long and thick needle. She showed me briefly how she attacked the roving with the needle and magically a shape began to appear. Then, gasp, she ripped off a hunk of roving and passed me a needle and told me I could take it back to my table to try for myself. Giddy! I was absolutely giddy with the excitement of it all. I started poking away at my little cotton-candy like fluff of purple softness. I figured out how to manipulate it and slow coax it into shape. Eventually it was a somewhat rounded shape. The girl came back to check my progress and told me that I had done it; I was done. Then she ran off, and came back lickety split with more fluff, this time green.
I started playing with the new piece of fluff and my second attempt was a tighter, more compact ball. I figured out that the more I attacked, the better the effect. For someone who grew up hearing the phrase "you win over more flies with sugar, than with vinegar" this type of venomous violence was rather new to me. Alarmingly, I am not sure if it is the ability to finally let go and attack, or the amazement of seeing something take shape from nothing, that led to the feeling of elation. Whatever it is, I can't wait to go and buy myself a felting needle. The knitting stores in Toronto seem to all close on Monday so sadly I wasn't immediately able to get the needle. But maybe that's a good thing as I think my thumb needs a chance to heal from all the misguided pokes it endured over my learning session.
Here are photos of my first attempt at felting. The purple ball was my first, the teal was my second.
*** Post-Script ***
I have since made my trip to The Naked Sheep in Toronto where I picked up a pack of felting needles and some beautiful multi-hued roving.
Last night I made a little ball that being deep green with a spot of deep purple reminded me of autumn ornamental cabbage. I decided that making the little balls, though exhilarating was a little limiting. Thus, I used my next little ball and turned into the centre of a flower. I thought I was gettting a little ahead of myself in trying to master something that required so many little pieces, after all I had no idea what to do to get all the pieces to stick together if I did actually manage to make them into a shape other than a ball! But, in time I had a wad of purple roving that was beginning to resmble a flower. An off the cuff decision to stab the two pieces together resulted in one full piece all stuck together. So looking at my roving and thinking, "hmmmm - green", I decided to aim for leaves for the flower. So an hour or som of fiddling and I ended up with a blue-centred purple flower, with yellow-veined green leaves.
Here it is: