The other day we went to a Seattle API handcrafting group which meets once a month. It’s a parent/child thing and right up my alley. We’ve been to one or two before but haven’t found the easy rhythm we have at the Mukilteo Yarn Circle we also go to, so we haven’t been regular attendees. Which is a shame, because it’s usually hosted by Leah, who is the most inspiring felt artist ever. I would say the most inspiring felt artist I know, but she’s also the only one so I wasn’t sure that would be saying much! Seriously, you should check out her Etsy shop, Spiderfelt. I never knew I needed flower lariats.
ANYWAY. We went to this last meeting because 1) it’s always a good idea to keep trying events as the child ages. Even a month break from something can make a world of difference. And 2) there was a theme — felted easter eggs! I thought if nothing else the child can play with water and soap and what’s more fun than that? So we went.
This is what we came home with:
They are so fab; I love them. Okay, the green one is wonky, but I still love them. Let me tell you more about how they were achieved!
The lime/dark green and orange/pink ones have plastic eggs on the inside. The purple/green one (I know the colors didn’t show up that well in the photo but I promise it is purple and green. Well, more purple and teal.) has a styrofoam egg on the inside. The original idea was that you could cut open the plastic egg ones, take out the plastic egg, then use the felted egg to hold treasures and such, tying it back up. This is why the green one is wonky — the egg opened up in the felting process so it’s all crooked in there. (By the way it was your basic felted wool ball process, just with a form on the inside to make them egg shaped.)
I cut my plastic ones open today and suffice to say that idea isn’t going to work for me. I suppose they could have been felted more to make them stiffer, but mostly they’re super floppy and flare where they were cut. I wanted my plastic eggs back though, so I’m going to stuff them to the gills and needle felt them closed. Might look at it as an opportunity to introduce some needle felting decoration!
The styrofoam one is wonderful. It’s light and perfectly shaped. The only problem I have with it is that I want to make MORE, yet I have a complex about buying styrofoam. I don’t want to. Can anyone think of a “Greener” solution? I thought of wood, but then wooden eggs are so pretty in their own right, plus that would make them very hard and heavy, and that’s no good, especially if it gets chucked at a window. So I’m sort of stuck on that. Maybe look in second hand stores after Easter? Because I’ll be SO mobile then!
Anyway — the really brilliant part of this whole experience was Leah’s novel method of felting the eggs inside the toe of some hosiery. Well that’s just awesome. Even the kiddo could do the felting with me with ease. We’ve done balls before but until you get to the stage where it is almost done, the wool just comes off in his hands and gets all mis-shapen. With the hose, that doesn’t happen. Yay! I’m definitely doing this with balls in the future. Lord knows I don’t wear any of the hose sitting at the bottom of my lingerie drawer!
So we had a great time making these eggs. There was great company in the form of other kids, and their mamas whom I had actually only met over email before, so that was fun. We came away with some wonderful new toys and decorations, and the lad was quite happy with the whole deal. He picked out most of the colors too. His decision making process was so funny. His first color choice was white. White? Like an egg? He’s so literal! So that’s why there’s white under the green. It took a lot of persuasion to get him to pick another color or two!
I highly recommend this as a group and kid friendly project. Although it certainly helps if you have Leah around to guide you 🙂
ETA: I’ve worked with the cut open eggs a little and decided part of the problem is entirely my own! There are significant portions of my eggs that are just too thin and floppy. I started thinking about other felt vessels that you can cut open that retain their shape, and I think that this idea would work for eggs provided your felt was thick and firm enough. This translates to lots of wool and lots of time spent felting! I’ll try it again someday 🙂
In the meantime, my eggs have been stuffed and needle felted and they look like you would expect a woolen egg to look. I’m going to wet felt them again for good measure because there are some apparently needle holes, but for whole eggs the styrofoam center definitely wins the “this is easy!” award 🙂 Incidently, I needle felted the insides first before closing and it looked pretty interesting — might be fun to have some open like that on purpose that look like real eggs 🙂