Saturday, February 12, 2011

(Felt) Balls to you all!

When I'm not being the person behind Nicsknots or being a teaching assistant, or a Mummy, I can sometimes be found teaching Mums in a local Children's centre to sew.

Since I started in September, it has been a lovely but fairly laid-back affair; the mums have brought projects that they want to do or told me what they want to make, either for their children or presents for friends and family members, almost never for themselves, it has to be said, but in the very near future, the class will changing to a more structured form where I will have lesson plans and schemes of work and other organised things. At the moment we are in a state of flux; I am trialling ideas on the current Mums and they are making the things that they want.

A few weeks ago, I asked them what they wanted including in the course, one of the things on the list that included being able to follow a commercial pattern, cushion covers, inserting zips and refashioning their childrens' old clothes, came felt jewellery. I was a bit nervous about this one and admitted that the only experience I have with felt was making one solitary bead at Woolfest. Add that to the fact that the wonderful lady who helps me is a felting wizz, I felt somewhat pressured, so, like a good girl, I googled, I pleaded with people to help me on Twitter but nothing really jumped out at me and answered my plea so I put together all that I had found and got up at 7am this morning and got stuck in.

It would seem, the reason why there aren't pages and pages of advice is, mainly, because it is so easy (unless I am missing something really fundamental) but fairly time-consuming to make these perfect balls.

Basically, you get some fibre, you then roll it into a ball, dip it into fairly hot water with some washing-up liquid in it, you then roll the wet ball around in your hands until it goes hard...continue this process until your shoulder joints ache so much that you want to see, the reason I kept looking for help was that I thought it must be more difficult than that but it seems to work, although making different shapes is a little problematic because I am a bit OCD about perfect shapes.

Lou even made these without one of us having a tantrum. Although, now she wants to make a million more so obviously my house will be filled with felt balls and bits of fibre but that has got to be better than standing on Lego and Sylvanian Families.

I've made a necklace so far. It doesn't look as good as this though because I am incapable of getting knots in the right place. And don't have pretty beads.

'Pink and Violet Felted Balls Necklace by SaraNora'

As much as I enjoyed the way that the almost sloppy feeling fibre very quickly changes to a pleasingly firm ball in not much time, I did also like the look of the supplies shops that provide you with ready-made balls like Paperfish

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