Archives for posts with tag: Bead

what ever could this be...

As I mentioned the other week, I am in the midst of teaching a course on felt-making. To make the class interesting and varied, I’m including a range of options for forming loose wool into felt objects. This last week my students and I formed little “sushi rolls” out of wool.

wool, not rice nor seaweed

The beads that one makes in this technique end up looking like little spirals or, like I did in the sample, can look sort of like sushi. It is a technique that is fun and takes almost no skill, once you know what to do.

roll the "sushi" on and in the bubble-wrap

Lay out some wool roving on bubble-wrap. Lay a second layer on top, going at roughly a right angle. Maybe lay a third layer… then spray with warm water, put on a light drizzle of dish-soap, pour hot water over it, and roll up. Roll it inside the bubble wrap, back and forth. After a while roll it in between your hands, pressing as hard as you can. The wool will felt into a tube, which you can cut with scissors or a blade to get “sushi roll” styled beads. These could be used as decorations, as “mini sushi” or as earrings, beads in a necklace, as buttons…

little rolled bead (in progress) and a pinch of a "sushi"

While you’re at it, you can roll some little bits of wool up into little balls. Just keep your hands soapy, roll it around until it becomes a ball… about ten minutes is usually more than enough! You then have a round bead. Personally, I find that I am a little impatient with making round beads, however, they are cute and decorative. Every one that I’ve made, I’ve used for something!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

A few months ago I taught felt-making and other craft techniques to a large group of students. The project was massive, and very rewarding for me to see what the kids could do. While working there I received a pretty neat book as a gift. If you are really motivated to learn a new craft right now in time to make “stuff” for Christmas gifts, you could try some of the projects in this book: “Felt (Handmade Style)“, by India Flint. A worst-case scenario would be to buy this book, and then give it as a gift (or a promise of gifts… “I’ll make you what’s on page 36!”) if you just don’t have time.

Kids really love felt-making.

The idea of a promise is a good one… I have a few people on my gift-list who I have promised specific things to this year, and they will receive a rain-check on them. If I don’t have time to devote a whole morning to someone’s gift right now, then they will receive it later! That holds especially true for experimental gifts… trying to make a fitted hat for a friend who lives across the country, or trying to design a massive piece of felt that would be light enough to wear as a head-wrap. These things take time and creativity.

CRAFT TIP FOR NOW: If you want to do one craft that is mentioned in the book that you can do right NOW without referencing the book… well, you can make some wool beads! It’s easy. If you have a small amount of wool roving (or batting) then you can do it. Take a pinch of wool, use a drop of dish-soap and some warm water, and start to roll it around in your palms. Over time this will form a ball, and you can keep rolling it in your hands or on a bamboo mat or piece of bubble wrap. Experiment adding different colours to it, experiment with different sizes. A little wool bead normally takes about 5-10 minutes to do. It’s a good craft for kids, because it takes up time, keeps their hands busy, only involves soap and water as the “messy” stuff, and for some magical reason all kids like to do this! In the end you can use your wool beads for jewelry, as decoration on other things like tuques or mittens, for Christmas decorations… the sky is really the limit what you can do with them.

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