Sunday, 24 February 2013

Needle-Felting Disaster Rescue

Even the craftiest amongst us - perhaps especially the craftiest amongst us - make mistakes, have disasters.  I am no exception.  This little guy was a perfect, fat, fluffy, cuddly-looking polar bear until I washed him with soap and water - something which I have been told to do to my creations by the Internet.

Polar bear collapsed.  His legs no longer held his own weight properly; the joins at his hips and shoulders looked narrow and frail; he was a mess.  I had no idea what to do with him.

Then more wool arrived from the fluff emporium I order from in Yorkshire, and it was many colours!  I was inspired to make my feeble flat polar bear into a base for a happy Stegosaurus.

Happy Steggy even inspired my Man, who is usually unimpressed by my crafting, to remark 'it's like he [polar bear] is wearing a costume,' and giggle a bit.  I did leave his little legs sticking out the bottom, as it seemed too much faff to coat them in a dinosaury colour, and why shouldn't stegosauruses have white legs anyway?

Speaking of legs, as he was a dinosaur and I wanted to decorate him a bit to make him scaly, I made the effort to add some beads to his hip and shoulder-joints.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Stitch and Bitch - Starting a Craft Club

It has come to my attention that some of my recent craft projects aren't... well, really that Simple.  The initial technique of say, a simple cable knit, or needle-felting a rounded shape, is very easy.  But there is a big jump between making this jumper, which spells everything out for you:

 ...and this jumper, which I haven't bothered blogging about because I am myself finding the shaping and following the (translated from French) pattern very tricky and annoying.  This is probably my fault because I still can't be bothered to swatch properly.  O well.  Similarly, there is a difference between being able to felt an oval body and realising what you need to add to it to make it into a chubby fox as opposed to an owl.

So I have let this blog fall by the wayside a bit.  Sorry about that.  But!  I do have a Simple thing to Do which I can tell you about: setting up a craft club.
My mother attends knitting and crochet/other sessions with other ladies in her Colorado hometown known as 'Stitch and Bitch' - the idea being that you all get together in a very feminine, empowered setting and bloody well knit and gossip to your heart's content.  It's a great idea, and one I am experimenting with doing needle felting.
We're calling it Gin and Fluff, after our lubricant of choice and the large amount of merino which gets everywhere.  All you need is a felting needle each, a few large bathroom-cleaning sponges for mats (available very cheaply in supermarkets), and a bag of fluff or two.   So far I'm being paid in alcohol which gets brought to the session and providing the fluff myself - although an anonymous benefactor did send me some more needles the other day which means the next session can be expanded.  Thank you, lovely person!

Set Up A Craft Club
1)  Choose your craft - knitting works well for people to bring their own projects from home, especially to get help where they're stuck.  Ditto embroidery projects.  Fluff seems to work best in-house as then one person can keep an eye on the needles.
2) Decide on a groovy name!
3) Set up a mailing list on Facebook or email, letting people know when the next session will be (and who's hosting).
4) Acquire the necessary materials - sponge, fluff, needles, embroidery wool and needle, beads, gin, tonic, limes, crisps in our case.  Set up.
5) Decide whether you need to take a small amount of money off people.  I decided I didn't, as I would rather buy in fluff so that my mates would like to come over and fluff with me than spend money seeing them in a pub.  If your club includes wider acquaintances or initial strangers, you might want something to cover the materials at first.
6) Get crafting!  I provided a model and taught three mates to make a grumpy baby penguin or a wistful owl.  While we stabbed and bitched about our work days, I made some things which an absent friend had commissioned earlier - ring-tailed lemur, more complex owl, and a badger. 
7) Make sure to take feedback after the event - do people want to make more complex things, are they looking for inspiration, did people miss out and want to come to the next one?

This is why I hope I can keep the meetings going - I get to spend time on my hobby at home, and spend time with my mates, and they get to make stuff to take home and show off to their work mates, and all get together in an intimate bitching session to stab things - which is very therapeutic.
Look what we made!
Left to right: E badger, A owl, E owl, S 'turtle,' C penguin, E penguin, E lemur, K penguin