Saturday, January 31, 2009

Learning New Things, The Painful Way

Last night I had the pleasure of participating in one of the craft slumber parties at Raleigh's Panopolie.  It was five hours of crafting, food, fun, and classes.  And perhaps a little shopping too.  :-)  I came away with lots of ideas for my photographs.

The first part of the evening I was introduced to felting.  For those of you who haven't felted before, you take raw wool and, using very sharp needles, and combine the layers into whatever shape you desire.  Now, when I say very sharp needles, I mean very sharp needles.  And not just any needles, barbed needles.  You have to have the barbs to catch onto the wool fibers and interlace them, making the felt.  Remember that.

I discovered that felting can be quite relaxing.  Place on a tuft of wool and just start poking away.  Before long you get so into it, you just keep poking and poking, and you forget where your finger is.  Believe me, you realize very quickly when you've stopped poking the wool and started poking your finger.  But, after a carefully placed band-aid, I was back to poking--just a little more carefully.

My second project of the evening was to make domed and riveted necklaces.  The metal texturing and doming were quite fun.  Again, like the felting, you just keep whacking away with the hammer (I kept my fingers out of the way this time).  The riveting was not quite as relaxing.  Where you got to whack away at the metal disc to texture it, you had to gently tap the tip of a tiny piece of wire very precisely to create the rivet.  The ideal is to have the bead tight against the domed metal.  Both of mine had a little "wobble-age" (my instructor, Tracy, said this was the technical term for it), but I did manage to make both of my charms without breaking the glass beads.

So, I learned a lot last night.  1) Felting can be quite relaxing, as long as you avoid the needles.  2) Riveting, not so much.  3) Crafting until midnight is a lot of fun!

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