2.9.08

Little felting bee

At the end of my marathon autumn clean, I was rewarded with a welcome visit from an old blogging friend and her little dears. This is turning into an annual pilgrimage; it is the third year she has made the journey over the county border. The girls scampered into the back yard and were soon playing at amateur archaeologists, digging up the various bits of gubbins which have been deposited in the cottage garden over the years and washing the muddy 'finds' in a tub of water with an old toothbrush. With some peace guaranteed, Mummy and I dived into tea and chat, which inevitably led on to needle felting and Mummy found herself with needle and wool, embarking on her first stab. Within minutes, a manic gleam had entered her eyes and I knew I had hooked another convert. With only a little instruction from me, she turned out a very respectable pin-cushion...




In the middle of this impromptu lesson, the girls trooped in, having found all the antiquities in the garden (and several lumps which looked suspiciously like stones, although I was assured they were ''parts of the house', which wouldn't surprise me at all, it is falling apart in places). Finding Mummy having such a wonderful time, they naturally wanted to join in. I have often pondered how children would take to needle felting, which, let's face it, does involve major freehand use of a jolly sharp, barbed needle. I think it depends on the child. These two being sensible and with a lovely Mummy who has encouraged them to craft, it was judged that WITH CARE they could give it a go. Spare sponge foam was brought out, my wool sack pillaged, and creations were started...





As my three guests were immersed in their new found hobby, I picked one of my own projects up, and with nice
Einaudi playing softly in the background, we chatted and felted. It reminded me that this is often how female lore is passed on, through the little ones half listening to the quiet chit-chat of their elders. 'Little pitchers have big ears', as Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pa used to say and I was reminded of L M Montgomery's frequent descriptions of quilting 'bees' in her 'Anne' books with gossip, dreams and home spun wisdom putting the world to rights, while hands old and young busied themselves with flying needles.



Amazingly, no-one stabbed themselves seriously; despite the above picture, most of the time the needles went down into the sponges, not into soft little palms. It was some time before we remembered that we were supposed to be off to the woods for a late summer picnic and with reluctance the little dears were coaxed out for a muddy trek to a fallen tree, where egg sandwiches and crisps were consumed and blackberries foraged for. Then it was back to the cottage for more felting...with what I can only describe as extraordinary results. On the left, we have 'the Farmer's Wife', her companion who's name escapes me, and two dogs of the sausage variety.




The day had passed all too quickly and my guests departed, new zealots to the cause of needle felting. Catch 'em young is what I say.


Keeping on the craft theme, many thank to Aglaya's Knitting Garden, who included me in her Blog Day post, with a lovely review, and to Cat of Scatterbox 2, for showing my geesey-storky birds on her blog. Cat had not one but three items picked for the Etsy International Gift Guide. Cat has two Etsy shops, Scatter Box Originals selling her funky designs ranging from cushions to toys to bags and Treacle Toffee, for her stylish and subtle jewellery. I recommend having a look, because girls do love their accessories...



21 comments:

Jess said...

Hiya Gretel!
I'm so (selfishly) pleased you've finished your assignment because it means I get to savour more of your lovely blog posts! It's like visiting an old friend, thankyou for having me!;)x

d. moll, l.ac. said...

What a great visit, thanks for sharing it. I love New Goosie's purse, and the hat but I said that previously. They teach needle felting at the Waldorf School here around 7th or 8th grade.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

A most charming description of the perfect afternoon! I would love a private lesson if I lived nearby. It's true about the enjoyment of women working on some sort of fabric art together. Such companionable activity. A good friend and I have enrolled in a knitting class that begins next week. Time to move beyond scarves. This same friend and I learned to quilt together about 20 years ago, so this should be fun! And, this is the time of year to knit, I say.

Frances said...

You're a fine teacher. How generous of you to spread your craft to the next generation.

Love the photo of the long-necked one with handbag.

xo

Kim said...

Hi Gretel, What a lovely way to spend a day. Children just love to be involved with what the 'big people' are doing, and they learn far more, this way and it's fun for everyone :)

Kim x

Jo, Freya and Anja said...

Thank you for a most wonderful afternoon - we thoroughly enjoyed it, and have just taken delivery of a bag full of beautiful felting wool, foam blocks having been purchased on Monday, and felting needles (with holders!!) having arrived yesterday. I would have been happy to sit felting, chatting and musing well into the late evening :) xx

Soozcat said...

There's something intensely satisfying about various sewing "bees" and other craft clusters, isn't there? It's both traditional and timeless.

LOVE your goosey goosey gander. Whither shall she wander in that fine hat and lovely little bag?

suzanne said...

Sounds like a perfect day! Why is it that only an egg sandwich will do when you are on a picnic - especially if that egg sandwich is crammed full of ready salted crisps!

Miss.Maddie's said...

I chanced upon your blog by way of those who seek enjoyment from others with common passions.
The visit has been delightful.
I am also very pleased to share your thoughts on the transfer of knowledge from women to children over the centuries.
In my line of work it is those treasures that have been passed down through generations that allow us to share with our ancestors the beauty and talent they created.
Susan

Caroline B said...

Sounds like a wonderful day - it's great when children show an interest in learning a craft. BTW, one of my dogs actually looks like that roll of brown fluff there.....

the flour loft said...

i love the children's creations... especially the little brown dog. sounds like you all had a great day.
ginny x

Pearl said...

I bet they had the time of their lives being creative at your house.
Love the little pin-cushion.

Hope you are doing well my friend.
Hugs,

trudette, said...

Hi, I am glad I found your Blog, I will be visiting often :)

Wyld_hare said...

What a magical day! May you have many more like it, the days of childhood pass far too quickly.

natural attrill said...

What a sweet little flower, and lovely to see the kids creations!
Good to see you on Penguin and Fish the other day as well.
P.x

ellen said...

What a wonderful day, so special with special people. I really can't add to what has been said here. The whole shebang just makes me feel comforted, encouraged and happy.
It is a blessing to be with women, young or old and share such a common spirit and joy in companionship and creativeness.

Rima said...

How lovely! I am very impressed by the girl's felt creations.. and yours too :)

Rima said...

Yikes! I got an apostrophe in the wrong place!!
"..the girls' creations" - it should read..
How mortifying :)

ittybittybirdy said...

OHHHH I am so in love with your work!!!! I do hope I get the chance to own my own sometime in the future. They are so sweet! You have an amazing way with composition and capturing a sense of innocents!
Just make my cheeks hurt! From all that smiling!

ittybittybirdy said...

OHHHH I am so in love with your work!!!! I do hope I get the chance to own my own sometime in the future. They are so sweet! You have an amazing way with composition and capturing a sense of innocents!
Just make my cheeks hurt! From all that smiling!

Lisa "Oceandreamer" S. said...

See, this is precisely what I want to do.....
I love the idea of creating with company....learning and teaching one another new techniques, new art forms. All the while chatting and learning about one another. I am sure those children will remember that day always.
XOXO