All three boys, C included, are away for the weekend in Whitefish helping some friends, who have a 6 year old son for the boys to play with, to build a pergola over their patio. I didn't go with them because I had signed up for a needle felting class held today at our LYS and taught by a woman who came over from Helena. That means that I get two whole nights and almost two whole days all to myself! It feels like I'm at away at a retreat only that it's being held at our very own home.
The class ran all day from 9 am to 6 pm. Although all of us in the class were people with various degrees of fiber interests (many who raise their own animals) we all found ourselves saying things like, "Oh, mine won't turn out anywhere near as well as that one.", "I'd better choose a color other than skin-tones since I doubt mine will look at all human anyways.", "I don't like how this nose is turning out.", "Oh dear, these feet don't look right." We were all filled with such doubt and were so unsure of what we were doing but, by the end, we were all so pleased- no, thrilled, amazed - with the results, both of our own and of others. We all started with, essentially, the same ball of wool yet we all came home with something unique and full of it's own character, and not necessarily anything near to what we each had been planning, in our heads, to end up with. It was amazing, beyond our expectations, a tribute to the instructor, really, and to the creative process itself. She showed us just what we needed to know, and then, as she suggested, the wool would tell us the rest. These creatures almost created themselves if you just followed a certain sequence, a few simple guidelines, and just had fun and let the rest fall into place.
I forget sometimes how helpful it is to work on something together in a group setting and with a personal instructor. Sure, you can learn just about anything from a book, from the internet, or from just going for it. On the other hand, I've never been disappointed when I've spent the money to take a class like this, whether it's spinning or weaving or sewing or yoga. That's where you get all the little tricks, as well as a good dose of motivation.
It's not that I'm going to give up knitting and sewing and become a needle felter. I'll probably do some more finishing work on this guy that we couldn't get to in the class which, normally, is a two day class except that we all requested a single, long-day class. I'll probably make some clothes for him someday. Maybe not. I'll also finish the needle felted troll above that I started from a kit a couple of years ago but didn't have the know-how or the confidence to complete, instead putting it aside because it started looking more like an alien than I wished it would. This time, maybe I'll just let it become the alien kind of troll that it apparently wants to be. Then, who knows? Who am I kidding? Back to knitting, of course.
Oh, and here is the very best needle felting site out there, in my opinion: Birgitte Krag Hansen, except there seems to be many, many parts missing in the photo gallery since the site has been redone which is rather disappointing. Maybe they will be added back sometime? I was able to browse through her book, New Felt, today at the class and it was just beautiful, although she shows some rather different techniques than what we learned today. Ah, to take a course from Brigette Krag Hansen herself, in a place like these!
Only one more thing: this new, felted guy, above, needs a name. I already have an idea for one but I'm curious to see what all you creative folks can come up with. Maybe you'll change my mind.
Had a long, uninterrupted, conversation with my brother on the phone this evening. Now, I'm off to enjoy a strangely quiet house. I just might have to turn on the radio for some company. I'm off to do some sewing. And, guess what? There's not a dirty dish in the house. !