Have you ever been guilty of shrinking a sweater in the wash? Maybe you've pulled a sweater out of the laundry only to discover that it has shrunken about five, six or even seven sizes too small. Not to worry, you’ve discovered felting!
The wool that comes from sheep is called roving, and once it has been cleaned and dyed it can be spun into yarn. The old nursery rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep comes to mind:
“Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane”
Mini Pouch Necklace Craft Project
The kids at Central got to try their hand at a super kid-friendly felting craft, by making mini pouch necklaces.
We started with a colorful assortment of wool roving. Once we had our colors chosen we fluffed up the roving by pulling the fibers apart. Then we made a ball out of foil to create the hollow space inside the pouch, and wrapped the wool roving evenly around it.
The felt covered foil ball then went inside a sandwich bag with some warm soapy water, and the excess water got squeezed out over towels. Felting inside a sandwich bag is a way of getting the job done without all the waterworks--much drier and neater than without!
Next came the fun part, we agitated! That means we smacked, poked and prodded that felt ball to make sure all the fibers locked together. Agitating ensures that the wool fibers will shrink up. After a good 5- 10 minutes of this we gave our felt spheres a cold rinse of water and made sure all the soap was washed out.
We allowed the felt to dry up some, and then an adult carefully cut the top flap and wedged the foil ball out. An adult also poked two small holes on either side of the opening flap to string yarn through. The kiddos got to choose a tiny figurine toy to place inside of their pouch necklace, and voila we were done!
More Resources for Further Exploration
If you are interested in exploring some wool-related activities, we have a couple of unique opportunities to do so in the Kansas City area. Missouri Town 1855 in Eastern Jackson County hosts a sheep shearing day annually This year's event is planned for May 5. The Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site is the only surviving Woolen Mill in America and it still has the equipment intact. It's located in Lawson, Missouri which is less than an hour's drive from Kansas City. If you aren't able to make the drive, the website provides some wonderful photographs and historical information.
For other cool craft project ideas, check out some of the books in the Library's collection including these books:
Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham
Do-it-yourselfers ages five and up can go retro with enough projects by legendary designer Oldham to fill entire rooms. Taking inspiration from mid-century designers and artists such as Charles and Ray Eames, Marimekko, Alexander Girard and Dorothy Draper, Oldham revisits modernism in the new millennium. Bold, vibrant and kid friendly, these projects provide days of fun for burgeoning modernists.
Nature’s Art Box by Laura C. Martin
Whether it's a city park, a suburban backyard, a farmer's field, or the sandy seashore, there's a treasure trove of natural art materials out there. Twigs, vines, pinecones, flowers, leaves, rocks, shells, moss, feathers - they're all gifts of the earth. Add just a few inexpensive store-bought items, such as glue, string, and wire, and anyone can create beautiful, natural works of art. In NATURE'S ART BOX, writer, gardener, and nature-crafter Laura C. Martin offers 65 cool projects kids will love to make, using materials they can find just about anywhere.
Cool Crafts With Old T- Shirts: Green Projects For Resourceful Kids by Carol Sirrine
Grab some old T-shirts and get to work. Wrap gifts for your friends in fancy gift bags. Snuggle up with a T-shirt pillow. Make a dog's day with a sure-to-please toy. Learn how to make all of these projects and more when you reuse what you already have.
If you’d like to participate in other art projects stop by for Saturday Crafts at Central (ages 7 and up) every third Saturday at 2pm with your arts and crafts go-to-gal, Jasmine. We hope to see you there!