Thursday, February 16, 2012

Twisted wool roving worms


Our friend Jen showed us a new way to play with wool - yipeeee!! Really. If you are at all into making things with wool, you need to try this.  I have no idea what to call it - I've been googling all kinds of descriptions just to see what all a person could do with this, but I'm not coming up with anything! (ok, I just went and looked again. For a long time.  Nothing.)  I took pictures as she made a few pieces, and then Eliza got excited about making a photo tutorial, so here is a combination of the two for you!
You will need:  
wool roving (the carded, unfelted "loose" wool - it's still recognizable, though sometimes dyed, as coming from the sheep. The wool we used for this all came from my friend Emma's beautiful Jacob's sheep, and are all naturally dyed.)
wooden skewer - you could also use a pencil or a chopstick, but the skewer makes for a nice, tight roll, and is long, which is good for the twisting part.

A foam block helps, but if you don't have one already for needle felting, don't worry about it; a table top will do.
Wool, skewer, and foam block - check!
Lay out a piece of roving about 2 inches by 3 inches in size.
Lay the skewer along the side closest to you, on top of the edge of roving. You are basically going to roll the piece of roving like you would a roll of sushi, up and over the skewer, tucking in tight as you go.
Eliza style - preparing to roll
Jen starting to roll
After the initial tuck and roll, you can use one hand to slowly twirl the skewer away from you while maintaining tension with the fingers of the other hand, continuing to coax the wool around the skewer, and to keep it even.  What is hard to show in a photo is how much tension there is in the fingers that are riding the roll.
One hand twirling the skewer away from you, the other providing tension

Eliza's trying to keep an even tension here, and doing a great job, though her hands are smaller.
Twirling...
When you've twisted the whole piece of roving, and it's nice and tight, you can slip it off the end of the skewer, and voila! A worm! Someone has a more elegant name for what you have, but that wouldn't be me.

Now what can you do with your worm?? Aha...well, it could become a mustache, non?
It has a nice elasticity to it, and can actually be bent into all kind of shapes, and needle-felted in place.  In the photo below, Jen has figured out how to add another color by layering another piece of wool roving over the end of the first worm, once it has been slid almost all of the way off the skewer.  She's brilliant that way.
One loooooong worm
We've been spiraling them into these wonderful little pieces. Once they're spiraled (and they kind of stick together), you can use a felting needle to secure them, poking from the outside toward the center of the circle.  We've also put a backing on, which you could make from a felted sweater (just needle felt the whole thing right onto a cut circle of felted sweater!) or could needle felt a circle of roving quickly, attaching it by, you guessed it, needle felting.  Shoo, articulate, aren't I? 
Simple needle-felted backing
 Well, I hope you can figure this out, that you are as excited by wool worms as I am, and that you let me know if you've ever heard of this before! Jen learned it from an artist who creates whole creatures and hats and such from pieces like this...we'll share what else comes from this inspiration in the coming weeks, 'cause we can't seem to stop...
Eliza's rose
Ani's spiral

A collaborative spiral

 Shared on The Magic Onions for their Friday's Nature Table round-up. Check it out!

10 comments:

The Monko said...

these are lovely, what a great and simple idea

Rebekah said...

I love the spiraled wool!!! Learning needle felting is on my to do list.

Diana Troldahl said...

Wow, sort of an art-forward spinning method, as you are adding a small amount of twist as you coax it 'round the skewer.
Love it! I think it would make great trivets, perfect for protecting surfaces. And more of them on a shaped base would make a terrific hat!

Anonymous said...

I can see a hat growing out of that, Rastafarian looking

Lenny said...

I do love wool and spirals - this is a great idea for playing with wool for children, a little bit of magic. Thanks a lot for sharing your idea!!! X Lenny (Holland)

Jzin said...

Thank you so much for your clear and fun tutorial. I am definitely going to try this! I am inspired to make a big felt project. This worm technique will come in so handy. Thanks a zillion!

Anonymous said...

I believe you are making puni's. Most commonly used for spinning cotton.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I am very addicted to making coasters!! In fact my girlfriend like them so much she asked me to make her some!!! Love em! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

could use as dreadlocks

Polly said...

ABSOLUTELY FAB description with a great deal of wry humour, can't wait to do my own. She is a very gifted story teller as well as a have a go approach. Write a book woman !