Okay, maybe it's the only New Year's Crafting Day I've ever had, but isn't it a great idea? Everyone has that day off and unless you're terribly hung over (and I hope most of my friends are past those days of regrettable drinking), just the perfect way to begin the new year.
We began our crafternoon, as we always do, with a potluck brunch. Yum! Egg and spinach dish, German Potato Salad (with loads o' bacon), scones, chocolate chip muffins, quiche (with more bacon) and other tasties.
Brunch was so yummy, it took an effort to get down to the business of crafting, but once we got started, we could barely stop.
We shared our stashes of wool roving (batting), which gave us a pretty nice array of colors to select from, and various needle felting tools.
We started by wet felting wool balls and beads, as in this tutorial: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/felt-balls
I'd never wet felted balls before, but since I'd seen this project originally in an article about fun projects to do with kids, it seemed safe to try out... and it was! Basically, you just take a rough ball of wool, try to smooth out any hard edges, dip it in hot, soapy water and gently roll it in your hands (without squeezing out the water) until it forms into a ball. Miraculously, it does! And after it becomes more formed, you can add embellishments, like stripes and spirals. And you just keep rolling 'til it turns into the right size.
Skewering them with toothpicks turned some into nifty beads.
Then we turned to needle-felting.
This is the process of taking wool batting and poking it with felting needles til it turns to felt. You get more control with the process and, of course, things stay drier.
My friend, Beth, brought catnip, which we rolled inside a wad of wool batting and then wrapped more around it and felted the big ball (which shrank and shrank) to make catnip balls for some lucky felines.
This got the attention of Joey, who seemed to be volunteering to be a tester from his perch on Jane's lap.
Experiments were made.
I was completely enamored of these adorable felted chicks: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/needle-felted-chicks?backto=true. With a little string, mine turned into a lovely Christmas tree ornament.
Fun crafternoon! I'll be doing it again!