Monday, January 6, 2014

The importance of wool felted balls

Let's do some math, shall we?

One car (which my husband takes to work everyday) + 3 kids (one who is 3 months old) + sleep depravity + cold winter weather = One tired stir-crazy cabin-fever Mama

I've been in search of a project lately.  One that I can do while in a constant zombie-like state so I don't lose my mind.  Nothing big that I will have a complete melt-down if I don't finish in a sitting because I am summoned to fill another sippy cup.  Something that I can keep my hands busy with-- that has nothing to do with folding laundry or changing diapers.  Just something I can look back at and see where my time went.  Something that won't un-do itself.  Or need to be redone.  Like folding  laundry.  Or changing diapers.  Or filling sippy cups.   

I'm in need of some serious craft therapy.

Lucky for me, I am the daughter of the Queen of Craft and All-Things-Awesome.  One trip over to the homestead and my head is a-buzz with excitement with ideas of how to keep my hands from being idle, even when my mind and body are weary.

Nothing stirs the soul like a good dose of creativity.   

Its New Years Eve and my hands are single-minded, maybe for the first time in months.  As the ball is dropping, I'm on my belly on my hardwood floor taking photographs of my little gems.  The air smells like Dreft and wet lanolin and the fire is warm on my face and my fingers are wrinkled and pruny from an hour of wet-felting 107 little balls of wooly wonderment. 

One. hundred. and seven.

There's something about a large number with 3 digits that makes me feel accomplished. 


It is a New Year I am awake before the girls come downstairs and I am feverishly wrapping more and more colors of wool to add to my mountain of progress before I'm summoned again by a small person.  I don't know why I'm not feeling tired, when really I've only had 3 two-hour naps during the night.  My oldest stares through the bars that surround the woodstove and is convinced that they are dragon eggs, waiting to hatch.  She's not too far off.

The creative process feels so similar to gestation. 

The rose parade comes on, and I'm still turning bits of wool into orbs of color.  I dig out and empty my sewing box and separate the balls into felted and soon-to-be-felted piles. 

I stockpile.
They are random entities that beg to be organized and put in their proper places.
They are each single colors that ache for companions to become patterns.
They are possibilities.  And time.

It is a Sunday evening and my babies are asleep and I'm mourning the loss of Matthew along with Lady Mary and I'm drowning my sorrow into bits of wool.  Wrapping and wrapping and wrapping.  And tossing them into the pile.  The pile. The pile.  And I think of how time passes-- how sometimes you have something to show for it, and sometimes you don't and how both are desperately needed.  I  think how my time has manifested itself into wool felted balls and how great and monumental that feels.

My fingers start to have a memory, and my mind starts to stir again, and that tired achey always-stay-at-home-mama feeling doesn't feel so heavy.  

I thread a needle and arrange them into patterns.  I hang them.  I take pictures.  And my home becomes a haven filled with colored time on walls, strung up on white pearl cotton.

And I change diapers.  And I fold laundry.  And I fill sippy cups.  And I look at strings of wool-felted balls hung in rows and smile.  And I think how the number 3 makes me feel so accomplished. 



  1. This is one entry of contentment. It is amazing how making something and seeing what you have done with your time gives an inner peace. Good for you Megan.

    1. Thanks, mom. And thank you for facilitating :)

  2. Really nice Megan. Although I was a working single mother through my eldest's young life, and worked/schooled my way through Seth's babyhood, I can relate to your experience, funnily enough, now. I am the mother of a grown up man, and a young high school student... not busy anymore filling up sippy cups, but I have seem to have lost a bit of myself along the way and between not working outside the home and not having littles who need me anymore, felting balls just seems the right thing to try.

    1. Thanks, Sheree! I think you would really like it. Felting is so rewarding and colorful and happy :) We'll hook you up! I know a supplier ;)

  3. Well done, and well-written Megs! I definitely relate to the desire to come to the end of the day and wanting to see something permanent as opposed to the endless stream of things that are done and undone and redone. One day, I held out my arms in frustration and said to Jason, "I just want to see the work of my hands!" And he placed Peter in my arms. Life with a newborn and littles to spare is all-consuming, Cut yourself some slack. The sippy cups and diapers add up to create well-loved, eternal souls. That will last well beyond anything we see as "permanent." But still, I love this idea, and I am thoroughly impressed by the sheer volume of your work!! I love all the colors and the sorting and the patterns! Have your girls started naming them yet?

    I've been thinking about doing something similar with cutting out felt circles when my hands are free. You can make a garland out of them by just feeding them through a sewing machine one after another.

    1. Thanks, Robin! I agree. Some days I'm happy with the planting of seeds, and some days I just want to see some fruit! No naming as of yet. I'm sure that's coming once Molly finds my stash.

      I love those garlands- they're so happy! I've seen you can buy the pre-cut felt circles on etsy, but I'm sure half the fun is keeping your hands busy with mindless monotonous work. I know it is for me!

      Love you! :)