I am seriously charmed by three things: Eggs, fiber arts, and crafty holiday projects. I’m seriously charmed by many things, but these are the whims that have my heart today as I’m thinking about Easter. I have played with felting and wool roving before–most ambitiously when I tried to craft myself up the felted rocks I saw on Design Sponge last month. They are pretty cute, but I couldn’t get them to look rock-y enough, so I decided to try a different approach and make some felted eggs for spring and Easter.
The concept behind felting is pretty simple–when wool fiber is introduced to hot water, soap, and some friction, the scales of the fiber tack to one another and the result is a compressed mass of the fiber. It’s similar to what happens when a wool sweater meets the hot washing machine. (Although, technically, that’s referred to as “fulling” not “felting” because the process happens to fabric, not plain fiber–see the wonderful things you can learn in your “History of Organic Materials” class while working on an obscure college degree?)
For the eggs, as the rocks above, you’ll need wool roving. Wool roving is wool that has been combed, washed, carded and pulled into a twisty clump of wool. It’s wool in the state right before it is spun into yarn. You can buy it in natural colors, or dyed. I buy it on-line, but you can get it at farmer’s markets and fiber stores too. If you use dyed roving you can wrap in the designs with different colors. If you use natural roving in a light color, you can dye the eggs afterward. The egg pictured above was made with marbled beige and gray pieces of roving, and then dyed with turmeric.
To make the eggs, you’ll need wool roving, tin foil, an old stocking or panty-hose leg, laundry detergent and a washing machine and drier.
1. Form a wad of tin foil into an egg shape.
2. Pull apart the roving into pieces, and wrap them around the tin foil egg form. Wrap several layers, so that it is pretty thick–up to 2 inches. (It will shrink a lot.)
3. Carefully place the egg in a piece of panty hose that is long enough to be tied off on both ends; then, tie off at both ends.
4. Place in a load of hot laundry with regular laundry, and then put it in the dryer with the laundry.
5. Remove the egg, and trim any fuzz with scissors.
If you have used natural roving in a light color, you can then dye the eggs. Use natural dyes such as turmeric for yellow (add 1 tablespoon turmeric to hot water), beet juice for pink (use straight beet juice), smashed blueberries for purple.