I am trying to be crafty. It’s something I have struggled with for years, I really, really, really want to be good at being crafty.
I have tons of tee-shirts stored up for the day I finally figure out how to work my hand-me-down sewing machine and can sew recycled tee-shirt bags.
I have upholstery thread and upholstery fabric for making training tools for my kung fu husband.
I have cloth diapers, that I brilliantly did outsource the sewing of, but that lack snaps because I wanted snaps and the seamstress only does aplix. I have the actual snap pliers for said cloth diapers, and the snaps, but I have terrible snap-application skills (I mean bad!). Coco has since outgrown that size. :-/
I have mod-podge for all the crafts I tried to make for Christmas presents last year. I trashed many glass balls because glue and photo paper just didn’t create the magical heirloom I had hoped. We did manage to make cookie dough ornaments, but I suspect it’s because the kung fu husband had a hand in it.
These are just the examples I have run into in the last week as I wander around the house, preparing for a garage sale. None of those supplies, incidentally, will get put in the garage sale – I still have hope I might do the associated crafts. I had planned on selling the diapers, but what would I get for them, $5 each? Nah, those will be part of my friend Bonnie’s stash, if she has a girl. I also have all the expected sewing notions, knitting needles, crochet hooks, and scrapbooking tools.
The other day I found a lady on craigslist selling raw alpaca wool for only $10 a pound! Another craft project begins. Of course, later I would see that I could have bought actual CLEAN wool for just a few dollars more, but isn’t part of the fun the fact that it isn’t clean?
I wasn’t deterred that it is full of nebulous “vegetable matter”. That added to the charm. At least on Saturday morning it was charming. For anyone who is like me and has no idea the process wool goes through to become your favorite longies – it gets shaved off of the animal, then it gets washed, then carded, then some other steps, then spun, then dyed and finally knit or crocheted into my longies.
What a grand idea to buy 2 pounds of raw wool (half brown, half white, for variety)! The only step I skipped is one I probably would have enjoyed.
I think today I determined what my problem is. I got lots of online tutorials on what to do with raw wool. The simplest thing seemed to be a felted ball. Even I can do that, right?
But they just require SO much actual effort. To read the directions, follow the directions, etc, etc. Technically, I am supposed to wash the wool. That involves gently rinsing in cool water (after using a dog slicker to remove the “vegetable matter”. Then I would use soap and hot water and gently jiggle the wool into a ball shape, eventually applying more and more pressure and… well, I’m just tired talking about it honestly.
I decided I would give it a whirl. But there are lots of things to be done on a Sunday, and honestly, I didn’t get around to doing it until almost 8 pm. So, I decided to try one ball, which I didn’t actually clean, but did pick through a little bit and got out the larger globs of “VM”. I then balled it up, sunk it in hot water, coated it with soap, and felted it for a while. Eventually though, my hands got itchy and the baby got antsy, and the hubby called to say he had found a baby mockingbird, what should he do? So, my semi-rolly ball got shoved in the toe of a knee-high, and I moved on to something else.
Half an hour or so later, I had the brilliant idea that perhaps I could do this an “easier” way. So, for my next attempt, I just wadded up an enormous amount of alpaca fur, mushed it around and picked out the largest, sharpest pieces of “VM”, tied a piece of wool yarn around it and shoved it in a knee-high pantyhose.
After everyone went to bed, I threw my pantyhose into a mesh bag and washed them on hot, then dried them as fully as I could. I suppose they are felted (sort of), but they do still smell like wet alpaca. They will be good fun to play fetch with the dog, but, certainly not going to be the go-to Christmas gift this year at my house.
So, this is my ode to the crafty WAHM. It is why I will pay $100+ for a Waldorf doll to a competent mommy who uses wool in the doll’s head that is “VM”-Free. Beautiful artistry and lavender scent are truly a bonus. It is why I will go to the craft shows and leer at your craftiness, wondering how you make all of your buttons line up so straight. Oh, to be creative and take yarn, or paper, or wood, or fabric, and make something actually useful.
Here is a haiku in her honor:
A Talented WAHM Haiku
I wish I could craft.
Amazed by you, crafty WAHM!
Do you sell wholesale?
…I promise to work on my crafting skills at least enough to teach my daughter that it’s fun to use your hands and get dirty, but don’t expect to see any of my creations in an Etsy cart near you.
It is so much easier to just buy it! So, in honor of my shopping skills being so much better than my crafting skills, look for wool dryer balls made by competent craftsmen, appearing soon at simplebaby.com.
I also am on the hunt for a bath product that will make me forget the smell of wet alpaca. I’ll keep you posted.