Sunday, November 2, 2014


First fire of the season.

It's been in the low 30s (F) all day today, but more than that, it's been blowing up a gale since last night and I'm hoping very much that no trees come down in a difficult place. Seemed like a good day for a fire in the woodstove. Piper agreed. She is almost asleep standing up in this picture.

My big task for this weekend:
a total clearing-out of the screenporch.
Made big progress on Friday, but dropped the ball yesterday
when it was raining and raw all day.
And today, well.
This nice fire can't watch itself burning, now can it?

Erm, maybe I'll get out there in a little while.

But not yet, because I have another "first" to share!

Years ago, an online yarn order arrived with a "bonus" hank of what I think falls under the heading of "art yarn." It's got alternating sections of tightly-spun single ply and completely unspun fiber. Like this:

Aren't the colors lovely?
I saved it for a planned venture into needle felting.

At the Vermont fiber festival, one little gift I bought myself was a set of three felting needles. These are little L-shaped needles with a roughness that helps "felt" the fibers together. Do you know about felting? It's what happens when friction or temperature (or both) causes the scales on animal hairs to  grab onto each other and pull the fibers tightly together. Forever. Have you ever accidentally shrunk a woolen sweater? That's felting. (Some would argue that shrinking a woolen fabric is more accurately called "fulling," and I would not disagree, because life is short.)

The other day I decided to break out the new needles and try making a felt button.
I cut some of the unspun sections and gently pulled them apart a bit more:

And then I shaped them into a soft lump of wool, put the lump on a thick piece of packing material, and started stabbity-stabbing away. And soon it began to look like a button:

I've made four buttons now, trying different things each time:
different size, shape, thickness, blend of colors.
Here's the most recent, with the needle:

I've already managed to break one of the needles!
Good thing there were three in the set.

After years of thinking about it, the incentive to try needle felting right now is that one of my WIPCrackAway projects, a neckwarmer, requires two buttons. None in my button tin seemed right. And I have not found any for sale that were 1) right for the project, 2) of reasonable price, and 3) made in Not China.

I thought of trying to make buttons with wood (of course), but there has been so much rain lately, the branches in the brush pile are soaked through. So I'm playing around with making felt buttons instead.

All the time I thought about needle felting, I never planned to make a utilitarian object. I imagined little figures of animals or plants, or landscapes "painted" with fiber. And maybe that will come. But for now, I'm having a lot of fun making simple fuzzy buttons.
And if I make one that seems "just right" for the neckwarmer, then I will try to make another for a set.

No hurry, though...

It's really good fun.