We spent some time making something fun this past weekend. It was a group effort, totally kid friendly...er at least 4 and 6 year old friendly. My big kid especially got into it. I didn't really let on entirely what we were making so we started off by pulling out our wool roving.
We littered our entire living room rug with colored wool bits. Simon and I set to work piecing those bits into balls. I shared the pattern on my knitting blog a few weeks back and finally got around to putting it together this past weekend. With the crazy winter weather we've had this year we've spent more time inside than normal. This was a perfect project, much like the crayons, for us to spend time together chatting and busying our hands sans any electronic media - which we try to steer clear of most of the time anyway.
We followed the pattern on Purl's blog pretty closely...but didn't have any white wool, so we made our garland multi-colored, which fits more accurately into our world anyway. We made our balls by laying our wool roving out in approximately 8 inch strips and then spreading it out a bit. We layered two pieces in the shape of an X and then folded it over itself a few times and basically wadded it up into a messy ball. When we had our messy ball ready we made use of our nylon stockings and stuffed the raw wool ball in, tied each one off and inserted the next ball.
I still hadn't told my kids what we were making at this point, which I think actually helped keep them interested. We filled up 4 nylon stockings with these cushy wool balls. They asked me if we were making caterpillars? balls? The wool filled nylons made pretty fun whips for two boys. The only thing they knew was that we were crafting for Gussy's birthday.
Look at all of that hard work. How pleasing. I think we sat on the living room floor for over an hour chatting and working away.
Time for felting...
We put our nylon wool filled caterpillars in the washing machine and put them through a hot cycle, with mild detergent (and dirty laundry). The pattern said that you could dry them for 10 minutes if you so desired and we did.
The next step was to cut the wool felted balls free.
And they came out beautifully. They weren't exactly perfectly round, but does it really matter?
I took a needle and some thick thread (no embroidery floss at our house) the thread we had on hand did the trick. I strung the felted orbs on the thread to reach across one of Gussy's walls in his bedroom. Disclaimer: This was intended to be birthday garland, but Gus doesn't turn four for a few more weeks. Who can wait that long?
Happy Early Birthday Gus, er Happy Everyday!