Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Eeeyyyyzzzz!

Summer's end is quickly approaching, which means it's almost time for my favorite season. I am making Kathleen Roger's Vitreous Humor Scarf, and was inspired to make these great little Halloween decorations. These little eyeballs are a perfect project for kids who are just learning needle arts. The majority of this project is extremely child-friendly.

What you need:
Fisherman's wool in a natural white/ivory (or any other suitable for felting) OR roving (I used the leftovers from my first spinning class)
Cherry and orange kool-aid (or red food coloring)
crochet hook
Undyed wool roving

For the optic nerve:
The yarn version- chain until your chain is approximately 15 inches long (or longer!). Feel free to make "mistakes" as you go! In fact, the more mistakes the better. You can always add a few extra chains inside previous chains. Felt. (Washing machine cycle, or in the sink with soap and water.) Or not. I ended up not felting because I liked them as is.
Roving version- using a drop spindle, lightly spin into a really rough yarn. Make sure to have a lot of thin and thick spots. You can make these as long or as short as you want, but this is the final length of your piece. (What a great first spinning project!)

When you're optic nerve is chained or spun, it's ready to dye!
You'll need:
A wooden spoon
 a non-reactive pot
Hot water (if small children are helping, hot tap water will do)
Cherry and orange kool aid packets

Stir the liquids well. Put your wool in the orange dye bath, leaving little bits sticking out of the water, just a smidge. You can stir, or not. If you boil the mixture, the dye will set faster. You can always pull it out and keep checking until it's a shade or two darker than the desired color (which will lighten a bit after rinsing and drying). Do the same thing with cherry, but leaving even more out of the dye. Wait till it cools. Rinse carefully (unless you want a bit of felting) in tepid water.

For the eyeballs:
Take a small amount of roving, place in the palm of a wet, soapy hand (Dawn dish soap is best, any will do), and rub and roll until you have a nicely felted ball, you can add bits of roving as you go. Rinse and dry. Now you can decorate your eyeballs with some fabric pens (even sharpies).

Final step: attach the eyes to the optic nerves. I did this with sewing, but needle felting is another good choice (every one of my felting needles broke at once, so it wasn't an option for me). This part is obviously not child-friendly.


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