Monday afternoon: Tera, mother of three and veteran homeschool goddess sends me an e-mail asking whether I had plans for our monthly AP craftgroup meeting on Tuesday. Could we felt Easter eggs? Sure! I love it when other people come up with the ideas. Providing the materials is the easy part.
Monday evening: I share with Lance my checklist of things I need to do the next day. First on my list, before picking up all the teensy toys with small parts, is a stop at the drugstore to get some plastic eggs. After a moment’s hesitation, he said ‘I guess I don’t need to hold on to this surprise any longer’ and plunged head first into his closet, emerging a couple of minutes later with a box of styrofoam eggs he’d picked up on clearance in May 2007, intending to surprise me this year with a set of felted eggs. I gulped and gushed simultaneously, apologizing for all the times I’d complained about his habit of hording and stashing seemingly useless ephemera.
Tuesday morning: clean, tidy and organize the house in preparation for curious children and watchful (though forgiving) parents. Bring wool, towels, styrofoam eggs, nylon stockings, liquid soap, squeeze bottles, ribbon, scissors and needles upstairs.
In the interest of time, I decided it was better to use solid forms for the eggs, rather than try to create an entirely wool egg. A couple mothers brought plastic eggs, which we wrapped with masking tape to give the wool some purchase; the rest of us used the colored styrofoam eggs.
We drafted small amounts of wool roving and then wrapped it around the eggs. It is challenging to get a round form evenly covered with drafted roving. The little hands needed help with drafting and wrapping their eggs to ensure there was enough wool and thorough coverage.
Once wrapped, we carefully stretched a nylon stocking to create a large enough opening for the egg, trying not to disturb the roving as we placed the egg at the toe. Once in place, we tied a knot as close as we could get it to the egg, then squirted hot water over the little package. Dipping our hands in liquid olive oil soap, we started to rub a dub dub.
This is where the fun began and the tedium set in. Lots of kids like to dip their hands in the soap and love the suds they create, but after 30 seconds of rubbing, they start to wonder how soon the egg will be done. Realistically, it takes five to ten minutes of rubbing before the process is completed. I made one egg as a demonstration, and finished four eggs begun by the children.
I found it more effective to remove the stocking after a minute or two of rubbing, once the wool was no longer slipping around on the egg so I could felt it on my hand, rolling around the shape, applying equal pressure to the entire surface. Both times I left my egg in the stocking, they grew little spikes on the top, which I cut off and then felted the cut edge.
The pink egg was my favorite. This mother was pulled away from her task repeatedly by her children, forgetting when she returned to it how long she had already spent rubbing, effectively felting it much longer than the rest of us. I’m always amazed at just how good felt looks when it is really worked for a long time (note to self: hang in there longer than you think necessary). Check out Carrie’s post for her description of the morning.
Tune in next week for the follow-up installment: felted bird nests with my daughter’s second grade class.