Today I wet-felted the little acorn bottoms out of some beautifully hand-dyed wool roving, most of which is from Etsy-seller Fibrespace Supplies. Look how silky the balls of wool roving look snuggled together in a bowl. I love the subtle colors.I had a little bit of trouble with a few of the balls. One or two ended up with an annoying "seam." The method that worked best for me was pulling apart the wool roving into two-inch strips and making a small pile of them, one layer at a time. Each successive layer was laid out perpendicular to the first. Then I pulled off longer strips and wound them loosely around that first wad of wool. Each successive strip was also perpendicular to the previous one. I ended up with a loose ball of wool like this.
I formed the wad of wool into a ball shape with my hands under hot running water and then dunked the ball into a bowl of hot, soapy water. (That first step under hot running water helped with the shaping; I found that if I dunked the dry wool into the soapy water first, the wool was too slippery to form the shape I wanted.) Then I worked the ball gently between my hands for a few minutes until it felted firmly.
Resurrection Fern has a tutorial for easy wet felting that bypasses the handwork and uses the washing machine. However, you would miss out on playing in the soapy water while watching your local wildlife through the kitchen window--in my case, our resident woodchuck was eating dandelion leaves in our yard and then flattening himself on our driveway. A squirrel was watching his antics curiously.
The acorns look jaunty and a little French with their little caps, no? The green ones are looking a little like Pepe the Jalapeno Acorn, so I like those little fellas.So, what's the deal with all the acorn love, you may well be asking. (Even if you're not, I'm gonna tell ya.) My kids and I have been collecting acorns and acorn tops (and the occasional cicada case and spider egg case) this summer, and occasionally we'll find twin acorns that have fallen off the tree together.I didn't realize why I found them so magical until I noticed one on a hike with a friend and a memory of a little tinkling of bells echoed in my ears. I had a quick memory flash of a truly magical movie that I had seen as a kid. It involved a girl who was given three magic acorns (I thought). Every time she wished for something, the acorn would open and the wished-for item tumbled out, accompanied by the tinkling of little bells.
Pre-Internet, that memory probably would have stayed a wispy, happy fragment. Ah, but today we have Google, the memory-replacement tool. I typed "what is the name of the movie with the magic acorn that grants wishes?" into Google, and the first hit, via Turner Classic Movies, gave me the answer: Three Wishes for Cinderella (1973). It's a Czech version of the classic fairy tale, and Cinderella here is a feisty heroine who lobs snowballs at the obnoxious prince and challenges him to a shooting contest. Oh, and she has a pet owl and a tall white horse that she rides through the snow. And the magic acorns were actually magic HAZELNUTS. Of course.
A little more Web surfing revealed that a dubbed version of the movie aired in 1973 on the CBS Children's Film Festival, hosted by beloved puppeteers Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. The program showed kids quality movies, most of them foreign, which is where I must have gotten my love for foreign films. (You can watch a clip of the movie on Youtube here.)
Thanks to the Web, I can align that almost-forgotten memory with how old I was and where I was living. If you don't mind indulging me in a little nostalgia, I can tell you that I was a tall, chubby, dark-skinned, bookish first grader living in a small, dusty, oil town in South Texas. Very small. Very dusty. Football and baseball for the boys, and cheerleading and twirling for the girls. My large, awkward self felt completely out of place there, and I lived through books. You can imagine how powerful it was for me to see Three Wishes for Cinderella and imagine myself galloping through the snow on my trusted steed and using my magic hazelnuts to make myself into the person I wanted to be.
Anybody have a tutorial for a set of three felted magical hazelnuts?