Say “Hello” to Hootie! I can’t tell you how happy I am with this little guy, who measures just 2 1/2 inches tall. He’s my first-ever needle-felted critter, but more importantly, he was 100% crafted from the wool of our own sheep!
It has been a goal of mine for years to take the wool from Ben & Jerry (our two Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep) and do something with it. But, for too many years, the fleece has spent the winter in a bag in the garage, only to be added to the compost pile the following spring (yes, wool is compostable…after all, it’s a natural fiber!).
This year, I vowed it would be different! The wool sat in bags in the garage from the shearing in April until last month (September), when I finally took the plunge.
I guess it would be more accurate to say that the wool took the plunge…into a bucket of very hot water and Dawn dishwashing soap. The water has to be hot to melt the grease (lanolin) in the wool and break down the dirt. After it is rinsed in not-quite-so-hot water a couple times, the clean wool was dried on metal racks in the sun.
Dyeing the wool was next, but before I did that, I spent a few evenings watching television and pulling a little Mother Nature out of the pieces (grass, seeds, the occasional bug). Then I dyed a handful of wool in each of the dye colors I had purchased from my daughter’s favorite all-things-yarn store, Paradise Fibers. I bought some $2 pots at Goodwill for the job.
Carding the wool was the last step before felting. The cards look like two large, wire dog brushes. Pieces of wool are put on one card and brushed with the other. The process continues until all the wool fibers are going in the same direction. This, too, was the perfect job to do while watching a good show!
Needle-felting is a simple form of art…simple in that anyone can do it, form of art because the possibilities for creativity are endless and people make amazing things!
I loved this project so-o-o-o-o much! Not just because I think Hootie is adorable, but because the process meant so much to me! Being able to take wool that was on Jerry’s back earlier this spring and turn it into whatever I want, is magic…pure magic!
I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing felting classes on The Studio’s calendar soon. You’ll be able to sit in the warm studio creating with fiber from the two adorable critters in the field right outside the studio window! That’s what I call crafting full-circle!
Peace to all!
p.s. Hootie and the rest of his family are going to be Christmas ornaments…how cute will that be?