One thing I always find worth celebrating is anything that merits a warm, cozy bear hug. Flipping through the pages of Felt Me a Smile by Toyoko Sugiwaka was an inspiring reminder to appreciate all that I hold near and dear, make time to dream up heartfelt handmade creations, and uncover the joy in the details of day-to-day life.
This week’s needle felting How-Tuesday project might melt the hearts of even the most steadfast Valentine’s Day cynics with instructions on how to make tiny bears locked in what Toyoko calls “the world’s happiest posture.”
Make something for someone with a feeling of warmheartedness — this will surely make you smile. That smile can hopefully be passed on to your “someone.” Smiles are coming. If you smile, your mind opens automatically. If your mind is open, you will appreciate every little, good thing. Take care: the little things are easy to overlook in daily life.
Materials & Tools:
Natural grey and white wool roving
Sewing needle and thread
1. Draw pieces of wool from the roving about 13 times and roll it between your palms to make a ball.
2. Hold the ball in your hand and poke the top with a felting needle until it is flat. Rotate the ball and continue for 15 minutes to get a small ball.
3. Roll the ball between your palms to make a longer shape.
4. Poke the felting needle around the ends of the shape to round them.
5. Poke the felting needle around the neckline to form the head and body. Hold the head firmly between your fingers and poke to create the shape.
6. Hold the body upside down and poke in a line across the end to divide into two legs.
7. Pull legs to make them longer. Hold leg between two fingers and poke in all directions to form the shape.
8. Stretch the body a little by pulling it with your fingers. Poke in a line across the neck and nose.
9. Make ears and arms, like this:
a. Draw a little grey wool from roving, hold one end and roll twice to create a small round shape.
b. Holding both free ends of the fibers, place the shape on the sponge and poke it in a circular pattern until it is flat. Turn it over and repeat.
c. Roll one end with your fingers to make it pointed. Continue poking until you have a triangle shape.
d. Leave about 3/8 inch of loose fibers for attaching to the head.
10. Attach ears and arms to head and body, as seen below. (Note: The photos for steps 10a through 10d are from the Fluffy Kitten project of Felt Me a Smile. That’s why the critter looks more like a cat than a bear.)
a. Pick up a few fibers from the base of the head and the top of the body.
b. Hold the head and body together and use the felting needle to poke the fibers you picked up to the inside.
c. Spread out the unfelted wool at the end of the ears and limbs in a circle, and trim it back to 3/8 inch long.
d. Hold the limb in place and use the felting needle to poke the fibers into the body.
11. Take a little wool on your finger and poke it into place to create the nose and eyes.
12. Gently hold the body to make a curved back, then poke it. Sew each bear’s hands to the other’s body.
13. Pass needle through the body to the other side before cutting off the yearn. Squeeze bears together to shape.
Reprinted from the book Felt Me a Smile by Toyoko Sugiwaka, copyright 2010. Thanks to Toyoko and the good folks at Potter Craft for sharing this project with us.