Once upon a time, Maria and I visited the Atwood Street Festival and it was there that we learned what we could do with all the wool we had stashed at home: make wool bracelets by gently rolling the fibers, in sudsy water! It was a simple and fun project that gave us the confidence to venture into more wool felting projects. We tried making felted wool balls... small, colorful, fun, success! Then we felted a bar of soap, too. Felting soap feels really great. The texture of the wool and the suds, plus the sweet fragrance are a delightful sensory combination.
Have you ever noticed when you learn a new word, or concept, that you start to see the new word everywhere? I suppose it's simply a matter of noticing those things that are familiar... they become recognizable, and register. Well, this happened for me and Maria, and we began noticing wool everywhere! I found a very basic needle felting kit at the craft store. I did feel a bit intimidated by the idea of this craft, but it took, honestly, a matter of minutes to feel at ease and excited about needle felting. And Maria caught on real fast, too, and we started making little pictures out of wool... using the batting we had from Barcelona, and with felted wool fabric from thrift shops and bargain bins, it's an easy craft to do. Needle felting takes nothing more than full attention and some patience, and the process feels like what I imagine meditation can be. Making little projects with wool just seemed to click for us!
So, when Love and Rockets started planning its trip to Maker Faire, I asked Maria, "Is there anything you would like to share at the Faire?" And she wholeheartedly declared, "Let's show everyone how to make bracelets from wool!"
Brilliant, I thought. We filled out the Maker's application, and started preparing for this year's trek to the Faire. We even did some fundraising, and community outreach. Sharing all of our club's activities, including making wool bracelets with neighbors and friends, was a real pleasure. Maria got some practice in sharing her project, and we earned some very much appreciated gas money. Easily the best part: sharing our love and interest in Make, Craft, and Love and Rockets!
Okay... all of that was background story, and now we have a wonderful new chapter! Maria's grandmother, Delia, lives in Oregon, where there are lots of artists and farmers, and artistic farmers, and she met one such woman at Wild Rivers Wool Factory. Being a proud, supportive grandma, Delia told Sandie all about Maria's plans, including Maria's desire to meet actual sheep and learn all she can about where wool comes from and the processes involved in collecting wool, preparing it for use. Delia bought some beautiful roving for Maria to take to Maker Faire, so she can demonstrate felting, and share with visitors. And! And Sandie, from Wild Rivers Wool Factory, contacted Love and Rockets to express her interest in helping Maria!
This is what she shared, "I'm Sandie, I run Wild Rivers Wool Factory, Inc. I'm very child oriented, have been teaching wool and fiber classes to children for many years. I'd like to give Maria a few things to maybe keep her interest up, and further her education.
I have about 20 of the "Sheep Reader" publication put out by the American Sheep Industry Association, aimed at grades 1-6. I have access to over 20 different breeds of sheep, and could provide Maria with a "wool collection" to show to people. With your permission, and your home address, I'd like to send her a package."
We are thrilled to have made friends with such a thoughtful and generous wool expert. "20 different breeds of sheep?!" We had no idea! Maria was leaping, happy as a lamb, when we read Sandie's letter. Truly wonderful things can begin with curiosity, and we look happily forward to what lies ahead. Thank you Delia. Thank you Sandie and Wild Rivers Wool Factory. Thank you, everyone who came to our Lemonade-Bake Sale and Mini-Maker Demonstration. We are making friends, and we are making adventures, with wool!