Hello again. Last week when I shared this book, temperatures were finally starting to feel more like fall. Oak and maple leaves have begun to turn, and to my delight the seeds from one of my decorative pumpkins (purchased in October 2019 and left to disintegrate in my garden after the holidays), had decided to finally produce two very tiny pumpkins. All summer we had only lovely leaves and beautiful flowers, but no fruit. Will these wee pumpkins actually grow to any substantial size before the cold really sets in, is anyone’s guess? But, no matter the size, they will be given a place of honor in my kitchen window for their sheer determination and resilience.
Crisp mornings make me think of wool sweaters, well-loved jackets, warm socks, hot cups of tea with lemon, and weekends with pot of something simmering on the stove while I’m snuggled under a quilt with a good book or a bit of hand work. So, getting cozy with a bit of felted wool handwork armed with Makiko Arai’s book Happy Felted Animals was definitely on order last weekend.
Happy Felted Animals by Makiko Arai (C&T Publishing) presents a menagerie of 30 fuzzy palm-sized or smaller adorable critters with charming life like personalities with Makiko’s careful attention to shaping, color and texture. From bears to bunnies, cats, birds and mushrooms, there’s sure to be numerous characters to spark your interest. I mean really, who could pass up this adult and baby polar bear without melting?
Needle felting, with a few bits of wool roving can be a relaxing and fun way to spend an afternoon. Instructions are clear, and easy to follow step-by-step illustrations, guide you through the entire process from start to finish. The addition several pages of illustrated tools is also very helpful for those new to this type of craft.
I decided to tackle the mushroom brooch to learn Makiko’s process. The three- dimensional figures, while ever... so... tempting, had me thinking it was better to start with a flat figure before progressing to the more complex.
I was surprised how easy the shape could shift as I worked (probably due to my enthusiasm!), if I wasn’t careful. So, I cut a piece of plastic in the mushroom shape to use as a guide to keep the size and shape correct. Before long the little mushroom really was coming along. Referring to the step-by-step photos definitely made the process easy and enjoyable.
My first mushroom brooch may not be the most spectacular, but with more practice, my skills should improve. These little motifs are really quite addicting; I can definitely see more of these adorable fungi (and small animals) creeping into my wardrobe and as little fuzzy gifts for friends and family.