Everywhere you turn today there will be hearts, flowers, and expressions of love. I am thrilled to be writing a guest post for Franchesca during a time of year when our hearts overflow. For baby loss families, every holiday is bittersweet; one about hugs and kisses reminds us of the precious babies we should be showering with affection. I am finding ways to do that even though we no longer can physically kiss and hug our dear little Violet.
Our second daughter was born in November of 2011. She lived for 2.5 amazing days. We were so surprised by her fighting spirit because we were told in July during a routine ultrasound that she may not be born alive. If she was, she definitely wouldn’t live longer than 3 months. This earth shattering prognosis was due to a chromosome abnormality that caused many defects including a VSD in her heart.
Her heart. How can I not think of her when I see every heart this first Valentine’s Day since I met and lost her?
And yet, even as she as in every breath I take, she still sometimes sneaks into my life in surprising ways. This happened last night when I went to a needle felting workshop. I have needle felted for awhile, but I needed some visual instruction to get me back into creating this type of fiber art. I also needed a break from the busy schedule of being a stay at home mom to my toddler daughter, E.
I selected shades of pink, purple, and red roving with Valentine’s Day in mind. I poked the roving into the felt with my needle, starting to create a heart shape. But before it looked like a heart, it was a V. A Violet V. The V in my heart. I took in this small sign of her ongoing presence and smiled as I continued to work.
Now I pass a tutorial for needle felting on felt to you. Needle felting is a process of attaching wool to itself or to synthetic felt by agitating it with a barbed felting needle.
1. Place your felt piece onto your foam.
2. Separate a small piece of roving by pulling it gently. You should always start with less than you think you might need because you can add more, but you can’t remove the roving once it is felted.
3. Hold the roving onto the felt with one hand while poking into the felt and foam underneath with the needle using your other hand. This will secure it to the felt. The trick here is to poke rapidly (being careful not to jab your fingers). Start by moving along the outside of the design you are creating.
4. Once you have the two materials loosely attached, you can continue to manipulate the roving, poking with the needle as you go to “sculpt” the roving into your design.
5. The roving is easy to bend and mold into the shape you want. When you have it in the correct position, secure it with your needle.
6. Once you are satisfied with your design (I will warn you it is addictive and hard to stop) gently pull the felt from the foam. Some of the roving will be worked into the foam but it is easily removed with a gentle hand.
6. You can put it in a frame for a cute display. This is the completed project I made at the workshop on white felt.
Needle felting is as surprisingly forgiving for beginners as it is satisfying to all ability types. The materials aren’t expensive, but they can be trickier to find than general crafting supplies. These starter kits are perfect for starting out, giving you small amounts of roving in a variety of colors. Emma’s Garden Primitives has generously offered our readers a 10% discount from her etsy shop for the month of February. If you place an order though her, use the coupon code VALENTINE at checkout!