Sorry for the tardy post, it’s been a week full of technology drama, and we all know how that can devour time. I don’t have any new knitting to show you because I haven’t done any. Instead I’ve been needle felting as much as humanly possible. I’ve been working on Ducky from the Land Before Time for a while now and she’s turned out to be more complicated than I had anticipated. I’ve learned quite a bit from this project!
1) I found that the foam mat was slowly coming apart and getting bits of foam in my needle felting that I would have to pick out. To keep that from happening I cut a piece of scrap fabric and lay it over top of the mat so all the bits of foam stay under the fabric and out of my needle felting.
2) I want Ducky to stand up, but being a bipedal character means that could be tricky. I decided to try to weight her feet down in hopes that will help keep her upright once she’s done. I took some lead fishing weights and folded them into the wool. I carefully felted the wool around the weight making sure not to stab too forcefully or quickly with the needle so I didn’t break it.
I put the weight on top of a bunch of wool…
…then I stuck more wool on top of the weight…
…and I folded it all together and did my best not to break the needle.
After getting the entire leg felted together they actually do stand up! Hopefully the body won’t throw it off-balance later.
3) The whole thing doesn’t have to be made of wool. After finishing the legs I was getting worried about my dwindling supply of green wool. I got some styrofoam shapes to build some of the other body shapes on to conserve my wool supply. The body is being shaped around this styrofoam egg. It’s much smaller than the body should be, so I’ll still need to use a fair amount of wool to get the shape and scale right, but at least it’s a start.
4) The more complex the project, the bigger it will be. I’m really glad I decided to start this with the smallest parts first and scale the rest up from there. If I had started by making a body about as big as I thought the whole thing would be, then I would have run into some major problems once I got around to doing the detail work. Ducky is turning out to be HUGE. Like, at least twice the size I was intending. That means it’s also taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m going to have to start taking breaks from Ducky to work on other needle felting requests because she’s driving me a bit crazy. She has been teaching me a ton about my needle felting process though, so I will definitely keep working on her, just not exclusively. At the moment I’m roughing out her tail and body shape.
In addition to Ducky felting, I took a quick detour into another type of felting. My sister worked out a barter with an online friend – he will send her a microphone so her online friends can Skype with her easier and she will send him a set of dryer balls (that I will make). I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently he wanted some.
I followed the instructions on this site – How to Make Dryer Balls on the seasoned homemaker – which basically involves throwing some balls of yarn in the wash and hoping for the best. Normally I detest wet-felting for this very reason. The control freak in me wants assurances that everything will turn out alright. Thankfully, it did!
I got 7 dryer balls out of one skein! I’m not stopping there though. I want to decorate them! I’m going to needle felt a design on one of them and then throw it in the dryer with my next load of clothes to see if the needle felting comes apart at all. If it doesn’t explode or bleed or whatever then my sister’s friend will be getting a set of very exciting dryer balls. If the dryer test run is a disaster then he’ll be getting some boring utilitarian dryer balls. In any case, since there’s no shaping involved at all it should be a pretty quick felting job!