Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Ornaments -- more obstacles to overcome

Last week I finally came up with a plan for my annual Christmas ornaments, and delegated my daughter-in-law to buy some white wool felt for me.  Yes, I was planning to not only use felt, but felt the felt -- I had some bits and pieces of other colored wool felt left from previous projects and thought I would needle-felt them together onto the white background.

But first I had to find my needle-felting tool.  It had been in my work box for months, at the ready in case I wanted to felt up a miniature for my daily art project.  Toward the end of summer I decided to police up the studio, and I put the needle-felting tool away. 

Bad plan. 

Where is "away"?

I spent all day Tuesday trying to find the tool.  Meanwhile, I put away many, many, many other things that I found in the studio that didn't belong out on the worktables.  Lots of fabric and thread that needed to be folded up and stowed back in the drawers.  Lots of open boxes of whatever that could be closed up and put back on the shelves.  Lots of stuff that could be thrown away.  But no needle-felting tool.

This morning I went out to buy a new one.  At only the second store, I found one!  I read the back of the package to re-familiarize myself with how it works.  The barbed needles are encased in a protective floating plastic sheath so you don't stab yourself.  To use it, turn the sheath to the Unlock position and when you press down on the handle, the sheath will stop when it hits the surface of the felt, while the needles continue to penetrate and felt the wool. 

Except my sheath wouldn't stay in the Unlock position, with the red market dots aligned.  It popped back an eighth of an inch, just enough so the needles couldn't float free and penetrate the wool.  (This photo, of course, is upside down -- when you use the tool the needles point down into the felt and the handle is up in your hand.)

After some muttering and cussing I decided that I could just wire the sheath open.  It wouldn't pass the user safety test, but it should allow me to finish my project.

So finally I started to apply the needles to the felt.  But after at least a minute of energetic stabbing, I realized that the two pieces of wool weren't adhering to another at all.  Hmmm.  I tried some other bits of wool and they didn't work either. 

By now I had spent a full work day in the studio, plus a half day of shopping, and still didn't have a thing to show for it.  Time to go to Plan G, or whatever letter I had reached. 

So I sewed the two pieces of felt together instead of felting them.  In two more hours of studio time I got almost one quarter of my ornaments well underway.  Finally, a plan that is working.

For which I am thankful.

PS I guess you have all been busy grocery shopping and baking pies for the holiday, instead of reading blogs.  I am extending my offer to give away an ornament to a reader who leaves a comment until Monday.  And now that you know that the ornament is going to be made of felt but sewed together, I bet you really, really want one.


  1. Dear Kathleen,
    I love your blogs and your stories of how you create your. Pieces of art.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.

  2. Daily art as you do it is simply not in my genetic make-up, but daily art IS part of my life! You do such interesting things, too. Not all your readers are out shopping and cooking...if someone wanted to cook for me, I'd be at their door in a heartbeat! Hope your Turkey Day is wonderful and your felting adventures are without further frustration!

  3. Oh, gosh, I just saw your blog on Carol's blog..Beads and Birds. I so can relate to spending hours hunting for something. And too often for me, it is something I have just had. And then there are the times I spend half an hour looking for something I have had and haven't moved since I had it last!

  4. I’ll be thankful if you dont stab yourself with that lethal looking weapon❤️

  5. Yes that sounds like me... NEVER GIVE UP! we will make this thing work... regardless... we will find that thing (or another thing) get it going... Yes OSHA trembles at mention of my name too. My Native American name might have been Runs With Scissors! I would love to have one of your ornaments!!

  6. That's what always happens when I try to clean up. I can't find stuff!

  7. I'd love to see how you do this and what they look like. It sounds like something I might be able to get done before Christmas!!

  8. Dear Kathleen, I am always reading your blog Posts and of Course I would love to get an Ornament :-)

  9. I love the fact that you really DO daily art and that you are kind and share the travails; Thank you. seasoned5 at yahoo dot com AKA Carol

  10. What I hate is when I think I am not going to use a tool anymore and gift it to someone. Then a blog friend peaks my interest again in the art and I have to decide if I want to buy another one. Wool that won't stick together? Must have been a blend, don't you think?
    xx, Carol

  11. Looking forward to seeing the end results. Your travails with missing tools, non-functioning tools, and other bumps in the road are just some of reasons why I needlepoint my Xmas ornaments. Albeit, needlepoint is a lot slower, at least for me. And this year I did have a product fail a week before gifting time (at Thanksgiving). And an idea didn't work. Hmmm....