Well, it's finally getting warmer out, and the mountains of snow have turned into rivers of sludge. I fought a losing battle yesterday trying to clean out the barns, and decided to wait until more of the snow has melted, or until it gets cold enough for the ground to refreeze so that I am not slip-slidin' away on the slimy mud. Frustrated that I couldn't get things done outside as I had planned, I decided to spend the afternoon doing something completely different. I have seen needle-felted figurines on many of the fibery websites and at crafty shows and often thought that I would like to try making one. I make stuff out of clay all the time, so clay to fiber didn't seem like a huge leap... sculpting is sculpting....sort of.
I should have taken pictures all the way along, but since I kind of threw myself into this project I didn't have that forethought.
If you are not familiar with the process, you basically take a ball of roving or fiber, roll it up tight, stab it, a lot, with incredibly sharp needles, and keep stabbing it until you make it into something. Someone more adept at the process would probably argue that there is much more to it, and I am sure that there is, but I didn't have any patterns or anything so I just kind of winged it. Oh, also, it helps to avoid stabbing yourself with said incredibly sharp needles...it happens...a lot...OK, maybe it just happens to me.
So, I decided that I wanted to make a sheep...I KNOW...I am so imaginative! I started with a gob of britch wool from last year's shearing (always wondered what I was going to do with that stuff), made it into a ball, and went to town stabbing the bejeezers out of it; which I found to be an excellent form of stress relief, until I stabbed through the fiber, and into my finger....repeatedly. I would like to note that it really slows down the process when you have to stop every few minutes to wait for your fingers to stop bleeding.
After a few hours, I ended up with this-
As I mentioned, she isn't finished, I know it's kind of wonky at this point, but that's what is nice about needle-felting; you can add more fiber and reshape it as you go. When I brought the little sheepie out to show my husband, I promptly told him that it wasn't finished and I started to go through a laundry list of conformation flaws as if I were looking at a sheep in the show ring: "It's head is too big, the topline isn't level, the back is too short, the tail is too low-set..." When I finally stopped with my dissertation he stared blankly at me for a moment and put it all in perspective, "You do know that this isn't a real sheep....aaaand it's made out of a ball of fiber, right?"
Why does he always have to be so practical?