Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wool beads from roving

This project has been on my mind ever since Julie told me about it. She saw it in a magazine and we knew we had to try it. Ok, so here's what it is. It's wool beads from roving. Roving is wool from the animal - sheep, goat, camel, dog - that hasn't been spun into yarn. This first picture is a bunch of different kinds of roving that my friend, Cindy gave me. It's all been carded (cleaned up) and twisted into the hank. I don't know if that's the technical term, but that's what I call it. Most of these hanks have been dyed. Some with kool-aid (yes!) and some with natural dyes. I'm anxious to try them all. Ok, so here's what you need to get started making these beads. You need the roving of course and believe me, you don't need very much of it to get going. All this roving will make a truckload of beads or wood projects. Next thing you need are the felting needles. I got 3 needles for $5 at the quilt show, but you can also get them from the Heart to Hand website. In the close up picture, can you see the end of the needle by the VERY SHARP point? Click the picture to see it bigger. See how the needle shaft is barbed? You can't feel it, but it is cut out so that when you put the needle into the roving, it packs it in. More details coming up on that. Ok, so to get started on a bead, get yourself a hank of roving. In the first picture, you can see I used a fairly small amount of the roving. Oh, his pretty roving has some sparkly stuff it in. Way cool. So, ok, you got our bit of roving, now what? You go to the kitchen or bathoom and run some hot water. Once it's hot, take your fluff of roving and put it in the hot water. You know what happens to a wool sweater or pants when you put them in the washer? Uh huh, it shrinks! That's exactly what we want here. To your now wet roving fluff addt a tiny bit of soap. Just use your liquid hand soap, it's fine. Now start rolling the fluff between your hands in your palms and do it EASY! Don't press hardly at all. It will just start to bind up roll up by itself. As the water runs out between your hands, then put the fluff in the water again. You're going to do this a lot and it's going to take a long time, maybe 5 minutes to make one bead. You need to roll out all the water from the bead. You'll notice that the bead will get tighter and tighter as you roll it between your palms and as you get nearer the end, you can roll it a little harder. The reason you don't want to roll hard initially is that the roving will not bind up in a ball, it will just bind to the adjoining fibers and be flat. That didn't come out right. It's hard to explain. Just don't rub too hard is all. Once your bead is to the firmness of your liking and the water is all out, you set it aside to dry. Once it's dry, you can play with it a bit. Since this was my first bead, I though I'd just go for it. I got a teensy bit of green roving and balled it up (dry) and set it on the round bead. I got my felting needle out and started poking the green roving into the bead. This took awhile since I didn't know what I was doing, but I quickly got the gist of it. You poke and poke until you get the shape you want and the roving is poked down into the bead and even with the surface of the bead. So as you can see, I added more green and some red roving dots. Those little red dots took hardly any roving at all. If you try this, you'll be surprised how far your roving will go. Then I took some cotton thread and added some seed beads. I buried the ends of the thread inside the bead. Oh, I did't use the felting needle to add the beads, I used a regular hand sewing needle. This little bead was made with a much smaller hunk of roving. It is very tight and I love how the variegated colors came out on this bead. According to the article in the magazine, you can embellish these beads with various items: feathers, glass beads, wooden beads, etc., just let your imagination run wild. I'm going to find the magazine with the beading article in it and edit this post. Come back and see. You know you want to.....

6 comments:

Julie said...

Awesome! I've been wondering what you'ev been working on over there...it's been way to quiet! They look great!

Tami said...

I can hardly wait until you come back. I've seen felting done before on larger projects, but never was interested much. This, however, is amazing and I need to see more. I'm holding my breath....

Kim said...

Sweet mother of Jesus...these are awesome! I love this beads. What are you going to do with them?...oh I can hardly wait to see what you do with them!

Jennifer said...

Oh my...Debbie, don't just leave me hanging here. I want to see more. I'm loving this. So THIS is what you've been up to.

I've got the materials here right now to begin but I need more info.

Come baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Heather Grow said...

Ok. Cool. Now what are you going to do with these things?

Godelieve said...

Great project! Thanks for sharing what you did!