I have decided that on the last Thursday of each month for the next while I am going to try to do a little Chickadee Swing feature on my blog. Often this will also be accompanied by a small give-away that is related to the feature. I say try because while I do very much have good intentions right now, I also know that the unexpected often seems to happen.
Yesterday, I was honored to be a guest blogger at Wee Folk Art with a wool finger puppet tutorial. They are primarily a crafting website and have many creative ideas that they share and so it was a privilege to join them. It seemed appropriate that to coincide with that tutorial I would feature finger puppets here.
I have only been making finger puppets since the spring but I would say that they have very much been a success. Even while I am making them my girls can’t resist slipping them on their fingers and making them dance or have conversation. Really they are just breaking them in for future hours of play and incidentally, that is also how I discovered that they are intended for gentle play. Cecily has been especially intrigued by the ears.
I am not going to go into the how of making them as you can check out my guest post if you are interested but I will just briefly explain their make up. I create them using wool roving (wool that has been combed and usually dyed in preparation for spinning.) and they are made entirely from the wool. I wet felt the body and then needle felt all details such as eyes, mouths, etc. Generally, they stand on their own and have soft yet firm base on a child’s finger. I find that my needle has a mind of its own so even though I have made multiple sets, they rarely are the same. I don’t really understand it, I am using the same technique but one giraffe will come out looking slightly mischievous, a duck just plain comical, and one pig so grumpy that he remains in my sewing room as I am sure that no child would like to play with him.
Finger puppets have long been a way to interact with children and to engage them into a story whether read or told. They love to hear a story using puppets and if you watch they will come up with such imaginative tales on their own. I like these wool ones because they stand ready to participate in the story, are nice for a child to hold, and stay nicely on little or larger fingers. Because they are wool, they also carry a bit of the home scent which means that they can be comforting to a child on a trip and provide lots of play as well.
I asked Kristin from My Little Warriors who has two sets of them if she would give me a little review: When i received Chickadee Swing’s handmade finger puppets, my sons were instantly excited. They ooed and awwed over the animals and started pretend play right away. My 5 year old son who is non-verbal and has limited vocalizing, attached to them right away and excitedly jabbered to the little pig and cow that were on his fingers. It is no easy feat to get him to vocalize, so it was a blessing to see him so excited and hear his little voice. Along with the joy of seeing my children play, for me I love the quality of the puppets and the detail. It is very obvious that attention and detail went into every puppet and I am sure that they will be loved and treasured for many years.
I was seriously delighted to know that her son responded in that way!
Give-away: For the give-away of this addition; I have come up with two things. For my tutorial, I created multiple ducks and one is still sitting lonely by himself without a set. I think that he would be happy to join some child in play. OR if you would like to try making a set but don’t have the materials, I will send you enough wool to make a farm set (you can follow my tutorial for the duck and ask if you have any more questions.) along with a felting needle for the details. So, in the comments let me know if you would like the already made little duck or the puppet making kit. And I would love to hear suggestions for finger puppets that you would like to see; if you have a book that has characters which you think would be great let me know as you might just see them in my shop!
The give-away will remain open until Sunday at which time I will draw a name for a winner.
If you would like to try needle felting but aren’t sure where to get the roving from; http://www.customwoolenmills.com/ the Custom Woolen Mills (a working Museum) in Alberta is where I have gotten mine from. Their prices are good, they also carry needles and they ship (not sure of the cost). If you live near them, I would really recommend going yourself to check it out, it is really a neat place.
www.beardancecrafts.com Bear Dance Crafts in BC also carries wool felting supplies including needles. I have done a great deal of business with her and she is excellent to deal with.
For the tutorial on finger puppets go to http://weefolkart.com/content/felted-wool-finger-puppets . I will eventually post it on my own blog but you can always find it there as well.
Some craft stores may also carry what you need, they are starting to as it is has recently become a bit more popular as a mainstream craft. You can also check out some of the sets that I have made in my shop